We had the competition robot driving and shooting today. At first the robot was doing something very interesting: it was shooting straight up in to the air. The ball would actually land back in the robot. This was not the intended result. We figured out that our launcher bar for the competition robot wasn’t bent at the correct angle and it was just a little shallow. We bent it a few degrees more and it’s shooting better than the prototype. Collection is about as good as we could ask for. We have over a 180 degree window for the ball to hit the collector sticks where it will still collect.
Tomorrow will be spent programming and filming our reveal video.
We also talked about strategy and scouting again today since we were able to watch some of the webcast from the scrimmages from around the country. One of the main points of debate was what is important in this game. In most games shooting percentage and shots taken are two of the most important stats; last year you wanted robots that could get Frisbees in the goal. This year it’s different since each alliance only has one ball; we have to use stats that are more similar to traditional sports like soccer, basketball, football, and rugby. In basketball a very important stat for point guards is your assist to turn over ratio, which basically says how good you are at setting up your team mates for points with the ball in your hand. We think that a similar stat in Aerial Assist can be Assist Generated to Lost Ball ratio, we want to compare how often a team generates an assist by passing to a team mate to how often they lose the ball. Lost Balls can occur in many ways: dropping the ball while driving, missing a shot, throwing a truss pass that isn’t quickly secured by a human player, team mate or the same robot, or any other way that the ball gets out of control of that team. Lost balls are going to be time killers for teams and cycle time is the most important thing for an alliance. Ball recoveries may be another important stat because you want teams that are able to recover a lost ball quickly and reliably. We’re also going to be keeping track of things like inbound catches, tackles, deflections and much more. Since not every team needs to score, advanced metrics will be even more important this year.
We wrapped up our practice open lab today by having 4 teams in our shop working, practicing, and getting ready for their events.
We have had people working 41 hours over the last 3 days. We have another 10+ hour day ahead of us tomorrow.
“The losers are the ones caught up in that afternoon rush hour. The winners drive home in the dark.” – Neal Boortz