what separates the good robots from the great robots?

Is it basic design, efficiency (efficient use of motors, not having excessive weight or friction), or something else?

I’m not sure this is answerable in a general sense, but there is definitely something tangible that makes teams perform differently. Perhaps it’s build quality or sheer dedication, but that doesn’t tell us much. Typically, teams that are “great” one year will be again the next year, despite even building completely different style robots.

I think that the quality of a team is up to its members - A group’s robot is great simply because they’re very smart people. Give two teams the same idea and one will still do it better because they’re smart enough to “do it right” no matter what. Different circumstances, rules, teammates or designs don’t matter because it’s not about the situation, it’s the people.

That doesn’t really answer the question, but I don’t know if there’s a better general answer.

Smart, yes, but a dedication and commitment to meaningful iteration plays a large role. A smart team, for example, could analyze all the types of robots in the world and copy the best one, but would be a step behind the team that actually designed the robot. The team that designed the robot, through trial and error, would understand the significance of the robot’s embedded systems.

Thus, put by Edison: “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Then again, I do agree that “good” and “great” robots are a matter of perspective. An NZ Gateway bot might have been good, but quickly became “just another robot”. On the other hand, a super-stacker cough or wallbot might not have the best win/loss ratio, but could be considered a “great” robot just because it filled a niche that “good” robots could not fill.

Reliability and driving skill

Not sure if your going for philosophical things or technical things.

However, i think the most important factor which separates great robots from good robots is reliability. As long as something is reliable, it create’s it’s own strength within autonomous and driver control. Now if you can develop a deadly strategy and a robot which best accomplishes that strategy reliably you’ll always have a solid edge

I think the biggest difference between good robots and great robots has a lot to do with complexity of the design, and the benefit gained from said complexity. I know a lot of teams try to make really complex designs for the sake of being different, and they don’t really think about whether this design is actually helpful enough to be worth the extra build time, effort, and money that need to go into it. These designs may work, but they will never be great because their efficiency was never questioned in their design process. Truly great robots are robots that can be unique, simple, and efficient. There is nothing wrong with being different from the crowed, but a great team would make sure that this innovation is worth all the time and money they need to put into it for it to work, as well as make sure that this design is actually helpful enough to be more than a novelty. Different designs are great, but make sure they are justifiable!:smiley:

In my opinion, the main thing that visually separates a great robot from a good robot is the build quality. A good robot can have a good design, but only use parts as they are convenient and may skip steps for the sake of convenience. A great robot will have part cut exactly as needed so that each part is playing its role as best as it possibly can.

This plus listening to strategy.

It’s the people on the team.

You can have the best robot in the world, but without a fantastic driver, a coach that can watch the field and scouts to tell them who they’re playing, they’re going to loose to an average team. And to get that fantastic robot, you also need to get brilliant students on the team who are willing to spend hours on finding and building the optimum design. You need a couple of programmers to get the Autonomous routines finished, and the controls set up correctly. You also need them all to be willing to talk and work together. Even if you could have the most amazing person in each of the various fields, if they don’t like each other and work together then you’re still going to loose.

I never thought I would say this, but after a couple years doing Robotics that has been my experience. It’s not possible to do with just one or two people, and it’s not possible if you can’t all work together. That’s the most important thing for the success of a team or program.

If you meant the actual ROBOT itself, I would say reliability. If they have an Autonomous routine that will score 95-98% of the time, they have a strategy they can pull off and win with and yet can also adjust to the situations that arise during a match, and just do whatever they do consistently, that’s the most important thing.

Build quality might play a role, but designs generally converge towards the end of the season. Most teams can copy a robot effectively, but strategy and driver skill are far harder to come by.

Except Jack. And Lucas. :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyways, back to the questions. I agree, what separates the good TEAMS from the great TEAMS is the driver, coach, and strategy.

But what separates the good ROBOTS from the great ROBOTS is the reliability and build quality. At worlds, many teams build copies of the top teams in the world, but few are able to do so well. These robots that are good copies, or are good originals are able to withstand vigorous interaction. They almost never fail, and are fine-tuned to the point of near optimality, which teams that build screw for screw copies are not normally capable of doing.

What’s the saying? “That’s the exception that proves the rule?”

Yeah, they were phenomenal at Worlds. But the vast majority of teams have lots of people all working together for a common goal.

This question asks specifically about the robot, rather than the team, so here are some ideas.

Things to maximise
Speed - if you can carry out the tasks required in the game (or at least the ones you have focused on in your design) faster than your opponent, you will be hard to beat.
Rigidity - any flex is wasting energy and fatiguing metal parts.
Robustness - can take some knocks and keep operating.
Evolution - no matter how good it is, the robot can always be improved.
Winning - a great robot should be capable of winning rather than focus on being a novelty (just my opinion).

Things to optimise
Weight - lighter for speed or hanging, heavier for more traction.
Code - good coding can help make the robot easier to drive fast and help protect the motors.

Things to minimise
Friction - wasting motor power.
Complexity - the simplest way to carry out the task is often the best (given that it is no slower than the complex method:))
Failures - breakages, parts falling off, jamming, Vexnet disconnects (doh:)),burnt motors, broken chain, stripped gears, entanglement, tipping over, auton screw up, etc. We have learned many times that, if it can go wrong, it will at the worst possible time.

Cheers, Paul

He is saying that what you were saying is not correct, as you said it was not possible, but he showed it is possible (add 1103 to the list), citing “vast majority” of teams is irrelevant.

I don’t like this thread, at all - sorry (but I didn’t one star it, that was someone else, promise).

I think good robots come from good robot designers just like good children come from loving parents.

I think that no amount of tips or tricks can substitute the 6+ years of experience with this program, these parts and these challenges that some of us have.

And I also think that like most things, multiple ideas and multiple solutions have merit. One team may build a light as hell robot and do well, whereas another may be heavy and do equally as well. So who is to say which is better?

There’s also the little nagging voice in my head that wants to scream …

“Design is a series of constant compromise. You need to strive for a good and proper balance of various parameters based on the task at hand and your decided overall strategy on how YOU wish to accomplish said task, which you and your team need to sit down and discuss before worrying about the freaking robot design!!!”

So here’s the lo-down:

  1. Think about the game
  2. Choose a strategy (score like crazy, descore like crazy, be a stupid wallbot, hang in auton. w/e)
  3. (Optional, but recommended) Simulate said strategy (think about time, act it out, plan each maneuver, etc)
  4. Evaluate the strategy, do you like it? Does it work? Will it blend? If not, go back to step 2
  5. Allocate your motors, pneumatics, and/or elastics accordingly
  6. Draw the basic robot design out on paper (don’t worry about measurements or detail atm)
  7. Do you like it? Does it look good? Does it work? Are there enough motors? If not, go back to either step 2 or step 5
  8. You now have a design, now you have to make it work. Launch your favorite CAD package
  9. I recommend starting with the drive and working up but it is possible to start with the end-effector or to modularize everything and work on different pieces as you go.

While doing the actual CAD work, consider everything, weight, structure, reliability, how difficult it will be to get those freaking motors out of that gearbox (Andrew…). This is where the real work is and where all those design tradeoffs and compromises will begin to show up. If you know what you’re doing, you will end up with a robot that is well balanced and has a good strategy to play the game. The rest is between your programmers, drivers and luck.

Fair enough? -Cody

Idk I did pretty good as one person :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyways what it takes is dedication and determination if you put in well over 700 hours changing your robot for the better you then get a pretty great robot! Also the time and right environment to work in. I have heard some teams are getting cut majorly in build hours which is vital to testing and perfecting ideas.

It’s not just the robot, it is the whole program/team. It’s about the programming, the scouting, the driving, and the coaching as much as the robot itself. Kyle did awesome on his own, but could have done better with a scout to at least market him into the elimination rounds. Our weakest points were our driving/coaching :frowning:

I agree with Cody, you need to study the game and develop a strategy and then build a robot based on that strategy. Every team has a slightly different perspective on how to play the game, and their robot should be built around that strategy. I do believe multiple member teams have an advantage and the best traits a robot can have is reliability and durability. The simpler the better as long as it completes the task effectively every time. It’s not always the best robots that win, it’s usually the best teams.

I think the true question is What separates a good team from a great team.

Lets go through the finals in High School.
Tech know Commandos big team
jack 1 man
2941D 2 man

Disco big team
Lucas 1 man
Justin 2 man

Good teams don’t have communication error because they don’t have to communicate.

Wow, that came off harsher than I intended. Sorry about that.

I didn’t realize that there were so many one and two man teams. Guess I was wrong there. Maybe it comes down to just how much time and effort you’re willing to put in.

I’d say that’s a good way to start. Remember, design is iterative, so you’re always going back to step 1-9 at any given point in the process when you’ve got a better idea that needs to be implemented. There’s a very good reason we revealed our super stacker 2 regional competitions before worlds: Field testing. It’s impossible to think of everything in theory the first time, so seeing it in action tells you what actually needs to be adjusted. Then, you make changes to your original ideas and design. The whole point of Vex is that you can tear down your robot and rebuild it in a week, so take advantage of that while you can.