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[DPRG] Re: Contests at the Science Place

Subject: [DPRG] Re: Contests at the Science Place
From: David Peterson robologist at yahoo.com
Date: Thu Feb 7 00:31:54 CST 2002

Interesting perspective, but not my intent for Quick Trip to "denegrate"
into a "drag race" though I've used that phrase in descriptions. What I was
attempting to put forth was a head to head competition, something more
visually entertaining for non-robot-building audiences to see. If you look
at a lot of different contests that are robot related, whether Battlebots,
sumo, or FIRST or even Soccer, the pitting of one robot directly against
another is what gets the "ooos" and "aahs" from the crowd, and maybe, just
maybe, gives them that little push to try it out for themselves. We builders
are quite content just to see our creations actually do what we hoped we
programmed them for in an event, but this doesn't really impress anyone who
hasn't actually tried to build one, the "now what exactly does it do?"
crowd. I still want the extra points for actually turning around (0-10
navagational skill?), not touching any walls, etc, but meant the splitting
of the Quicktrip course into 2 "drag strip" lanes as primarily for visuals,
putting on a show. I'm not wanting speed to be the primary concern, but a
show to impress a few folks might be good and might get a few more people
interested in joining the DPRG, trying out the technical aspects, and
actually build some more robots. Aren't we trying to encourage people to try
it out, maybe learn something?


----- Original Message -----
>From: "David P. Anderson"
> Howdy
> Any type of timing, manual or electronic, sounds
> good to me.  Rick's timers sound very cool and also
> hi-tech and I'm sure will make a very nice addition
> to our contests.  I'm generally of the opinion that
> if a guy wants to do something, let 'em do it!   Who
> was it that wrote, "After all is said and done, more
> is said than done?"   Must have been a DPRG list
> subscriber. :)
> However ...
> I believe the QuickTrip was originally envisioned as
> a good entry level event for beginning robot builders,
> and not as a drag race.
> Extra points were awarded for robots that could turn
> around at the endpoints because that was considered more
> sophisticated behavior than just reversing the motors, and
> so was encouraged.
> Thus the points were weighted in such a way that the "smarter"
> robot got more points than the merely "faster" robot.  At one
> time, at any rate, each of the contests was considered a
> stepping stone to the next.  So the QuickTrip, down and back,
> was the simplest (some may remember the long-lost-Roger-
> Arrick's "OneBit" as the prototype).  Robots that had more
> advanced behaviors, like turning around at the endpoints,
> or demonstrating cognitive navigation, got more points.
> (First time I won QuickTrip, for example, mine was not the
> fastest time.  But I won because my bot turned around at
> the endpoints and also navigated around a cardboard box
> I gratuitously threw out in it's path to impress the judges.)
> Likewise, the TTime was the next step because it required
> the ability to handle both inside and outside corners, rather
> than just straight lines.  The Can-Can was originally just
> the TTime contest while collecting soda cans along the way.
> In each case, the "intelligence" of the robot was awarded more
> points than just raw speed.   This was thought to encourage the
> development of more general purpose robots while still allowing
> beginning builders to compete.
> For folks who are interested in robot racing, Ed Koffeman has
> some neat robot-racers he's been working on that you might want
> to talk with him about.  Perhaps the DPRG might want to sponsor
> some robotic racing contests.  But I would view it a move in the
> wrong direction to have our current contests degenerate into
> robot racing, where speed was the deciding factor in determining
> the winners.
> my $.02 worth, see you saturday,
> dpa

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