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[DPRG] On contests

Subject: [DPRG] On contests
From: Randy M. Dumse rmd at newmicros.com
Date: Thu May 31 16:26:06 CDT 2007

dpa wrote:
> Somehow in robotics we're suppose to do everything on the 
> cheap.  I guess it's really a question of motivation.  

May I make the suggestion? what you see is partly what you get,
but what you don't see is also what you get. Meaning there are
very many results from offering a contest, and not all of them
show up at the contest.

To explain: My tank was torched in testing preparing for your
first outdoor contest. You don't see it because it burned every
bit of electronics out in an Hbridge failure. This means a
couple things. One, I was rushing to make an entry. I discovered
the Hbridge I thought was ready for public consumption had a
very nasty failure mode I didn't know about. I was set back
rather harshly in my outdoors project, and have not
re-electronics'd the tank chassis since.

So while you didn't see me at the contest, it doesn't mean there
wasn't an effort going on behind the scenes. I was probably not
alone. Shall we use the adage for rats? And suggest for each one
you see, there are 10 you don't? My point being, you can't judge
the results of the contest by those that actually turn out. It's
impact on robot building is far broader than the stick with
which you measure.

Second, I won't be back until I solve the Hbridge problem, which
is probably a very good thing for robotics that this product be
finalized and is found to be safe, or is otherwise protected. 

Also I know preperations were made for both contests by the UTA
team. Dr. Huff intended to at least attend this last one, in
fact he showed up and looked for the contest, but gave up before
dpa arrived apparently. Not only do they have the Walmart Tank
you saw last time, they now have the IMI tracked robot running.
Again, you didn't see the result of any of these efforts in the
contests, but that was again a matter of circumstances. It
doesn't mean the contest doesn't inspire, only that things
happen in development, many disasterous for the entrant, but not
at all unfortunate for the larger issue of robotic advancement.

I think you are selling the contests a little short.


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