Aug 11th 2017 by TeamFinlandAma • 37 Questions • 2686 Points
We are Team Finland from the FIRST Global international robot competition for high school students. Our team took gold by winning the most individual matches. We were the only team to build a three-wheeled robot. (Photo: https://goo.gl/photos/Efd4dtWTLQsJM7vKA)
Here is our introduction: https://youtu.be/vo_F1J4MfWg?t=35m36s
Here is a list of our matches:
Edit: remember that First robot challenge and first are two different events.
Edit2: Here are the rules for the task we had to complete: https://youtu.be/ceNUHzIwbeg
Edit3: We are all going to sleep now. We'll answer further questions tomorrow.
Do any of you participate in an FRC team? If so did you make it to worlds this year?
No, we don't participate in a FRC team. This was our first robotics project ever.
What's the most important thing you think a student can do to make the most of the 4 years they can participate as a high school student?
What's the most important thing mentors can do to grow a rookie team fron year to year?
Well, I don't know if there will be more room next year, but I would recommend bringing earplugs. It was very noisy in the pit area where we were supposed to hang out (You had to shout, so someone about half a meter away would hear you). I guess using languages you are learning is quite useful too. Nothing else really comes to mind. We're all first timers and probably next years Team Finland will have completely different members to give everyone a chance to experience FIRST Global. I can't really answer the mentor question. We were a total rookie team; This was the first time we built a robot. Our mentor basically just stood by and let us do our thing.
Team captain Laura
Edit by the programer:
Bring out your polyglots! I got to speak five languages because of language barriers. There were a frightening number of especially French speaking teams that had to rely on other teams for interpreters. Having at least one team member (even the mentor) speak English is a must.
We have not come to an agreement between the Borg Queen, Howl's Moving Castle and the terminator. [That is, the terminator in his liquid form.]
Well, if you mean a synthetiser, at least I am not desperate enough. -team captain
How many accidents/mishaps did you have building? We tend to always have at least a few.
We had quite a heap of parts break on us:
- An engine
- A service programmer
- An Omni wheel
- Cables both of data and of power
- Several axes and beams
- Six to seven otgs on the field
- The control tablet
- A heap of screws
On the software side, installing the ide was nontrivial. We went through two Linuxes, one ReactOS, a virtual Windows and finally a physical Windows before we got it to install from a random executable bundle on GitHub. This happened in the middle of the night in a car in the middle of a forest.
One part of the control hub gave us extra fun. The IMU took us several days to figure out. If you look at our code, the variable we use to refer to it is called 'imutus'. That is a derived form of the Finnish word 'imu', sucking. Literally 'imutus' means 'the thing that made something suck'. Our friends over in Estonia made the same assessment (and happen to have a close enough language to match here) and named their IMU the same.
We didn't have any damage inflicted upon us by the parts (except the occasional minor cut), if that is what you meant.
Could you briefly explain what challenges you had to master? The videos are each 9+ hours long...
Yes, we can. Roughly, we had to sort colored balls from a "river" info multiple reservoirs. Here is the official rule video: https://youtu.be/ceNUHzIwbeg The videos in the "bio" are 9+ hours, but the links point to where the actual action is.
Edit: Probably misread your message. I thought you were asking about the challenge. You can find a quite good list of our difficulties from another of my answers. The root cause is probably that we had no experience with building robots before.
What sort of doping control was there? Do you believe your competitors where using performance enhancing drugs?
There was no doping control. None of us used enhancing drugs during the competition, I think. I used a bit of caffeine to stay awake at my summer job during the building process though.
Team captain Laura
Yes, we have a pic. See for example here: https://goo.gl/photos/fXt5YRXh2NzUntdy6 and here: https://goo.gl/photos/Efd4dtWTLQsJM7vKA As for the sport: well, I wouldn't call it so. The point was to sort colored balls into reservoirs. See here for FGC's full explanation: https://youtu.be/ceNUHzIwbeg
They were essential: we used them as rotating combs to collect the balls.
It is now.
As someone who is mentoring a very fresh team of local FIRST students what do you think the most helpful things for fresh faces would be?
Would it be teaching them programming, math, engineering concepts, or something different?
Maybe you should just encourage them to use their imagination and make sure they test their robot enough. The robot can be programmed with block code and there is quite little programming needed for a normal FIRST robot. All of us knew how to program beforehand though, so we are not sure if the programming would be easy for someone who has never done that kind of thing before.
How does this competition different from the FLL, FTC or FRC competition they do?
First Global is - as the name says - Global. There is a representative from - within the limits of the possible - every country on the world and they are given as equal a chance as possible.
My Son is in his Freshman year of High School and has entered the Tech/Engineering home room. He's very bright, and catches on to new ideas quickly. He's 14. What resources are out there that you would recommend so he can have fun while learning outside of a school environment?
Programming is fun, free and useful. You can find documentation for almost any programming language/libraries online. Tutorials are a good starting point, but once you know the basics, reading the documentation is more effective.
Some good programming languages are Python, Elm and Idris. Project Euler has some nice programming tasks, that do not require much code or libraries.
We planned the matches and they were only two and half minutes long, so we didn't have to make many choices under pressure. We were quite pressured by the situation though and our driver actually briefly collapsed after our last match.
Did you get any official recognition in Finland? Congrats from Sauli or Juha Sipilä?
Not really, there was a small article about us in a local newspaper. We got to go to the Finnish embassy though.
No, Howl's Moving Castle is according to our team captain, Laura.
See the description. (Updated after your post as this seemed to be a common question)
Assuming you are aware of robot combat in the form of Robot Wars/Battlebots - what sort of combat robot would you build?
I don't know the rules for Robot Wars/Battlebots, but I would make a robot with a big circular spinning blade with the vital parts in the middle, meaning that the opponents would have reach through or under the blade to kill my robot.
Team captain Laura
My high school started a robotics club when I was there back in 07. I was never in it, but it was a really cool club that made badass robots. It seems to have picked up in popularity since then, which is neat to see.
My question: what is the most frustrating part of building a robot from start to finish?
The robot kit was extremely annoying. Sometimes parts broke or the right kind of bracket was nowhere to be found. And don't get me started on all the screwing involved. Also the programming environment was a pain to set up.
This is the only robot we have built so far.