There are many situations when you run into a problem with conflicting requirements and limited resources and it seems there is no solution.
You think that you need to be a genius or have an eurica moment to find an out-of-box solution and it may take years. But that is not true. Any competent engineer familiar with TRIZ methodology could do stuff that many would consider some sort of magik.
TRIZ Matrix to engineering is what Periodic Table is to chemistry, yet few are familiar with it and even fewer use it daily.
Usually, TRIZ is perceived as a boring stuff taken in one of the graduate level classes, but I found a perfect example to introduce you to TRIZ principles. It is just too good to pass up. As many of you are future engineers you will not regret learning about it. So here it goes:
TRIZ Engineering Riddle
(dramatic VRC edition)
You are at the state (or regional) Championship for 2016 Nothing But Net game.
You are a member of one of the top teams. Your club worked very hard all year long to get here. The first qualifier match begins in 15 minutes, but the rest of your team and the robot are stuck in the hopeless traffic. You run to your partner’s pits and see that they just fried all their electronics. Their robot is a cubic feet of a dead metal weighting over 20 lbs. You check on the opposing alliance - they are not the best but look competent enough to score 20-30 balls into a low goal.
This match is very important. Going to worlds may depend on it. Everybody looks at you. They know that you are some kind of a TRIZ Black Belt, but nobody knows what it is.
Your partners give you an old toolbox with random staff. You open it and see: empty tag plates, half-charged battery, cortex, controller, one motor with a sticker “PTC dies after 3 secs”, scratched piece of 3x8" plastic, quad encoder, potentiometer, some screws, a couple of bent c-channels, bunch of zip ties, rubber bands, 8 blue LEDs, 4 80k resistors, crayons, toy rubber duck, and a baby pacifier…
You have 10 minutes left. What do you do?
Let’s try to do a virtual class. There will be some questions, those who want could reply. I will answer questions, post more stuff. If everything goes as expected - then after a few iterations you all will solve the riddle on your own and will know what to do if it happens to you in the real life next year
The first step of TRIZ is to look at the problem without the interference the preconceived notions of what is impossible. It is not easy at the beginning. You need to write down the reasons why you think something couldn’t be done and try to spell out your reasoning. Sometimes you will see the path to a solution right at this step.
Those who think, that nothing could be done, please, post why you think that way. (if somebody knows solution, please, don’t post it yet, we need to go through a few more steps)