Sunday, February 27, 2011
Robotics Competition...Sometimes the best laid plans
Go awry. How you are asking, well that will be explained as this post unfolds. Ian, my youngest is my gadget kid. He likes seeing "how" things work. Just knowing isn't good enough for him. He is the kind of kid that is always asking questions...sometimes it drives me crazy, but his father will patiently explain things...especially when it comes to "how" things work. That all is not my forte`.
Anyway, Ian goes to robotics club after school 2 days a week. His challenge: to work collaboratively with his peers to design a robot that will be able to compete in the local school systems robotics challenge. Each year the course is a little different so the robots need to be redesigned.
After attending 3 of Ian's last 4 robotics challenges, I have figured out the one part. The alliance forming. The teams compete with one other team in the first round to gain points and ranking. The top 8 teams then get to form alliances picking 2 other teams to work with them to score points in the elimination rounds with the winner of 2 out 3 matches advancing on.
Ian's robot comes to the competition with an original design, but somewhere or should I say sometime in the course of the day it has a metamorphosis into a modified version of itself. Ian's late afternoon tweak resulted in a defensive robot, yes one that will hopefully keep his opponents from scoring, into what he called "The Great Wall of China".
As you can see from the top picture to the fourth picture Ian's robot, transformed by acquiring another shield. If one is good, two has got to be better, right?
Well not necessarily so! sometimes things go awry. What looks like should work just doesn't. Sometimes the robots refuse to move in competition, whether it is faulty radio communication, poor design or sometimes even a unattached power wire.
The competition is a fun filled day for all the future inventors, designers and engineers of the future. And hopefully they learn a little along the way...that sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men sometimes go awry!
Til next time...