actorartathleteauthorbizcrimecrosspostcustomerservicedirectoredufoodgaminghealthjournalistmedicalmilmodpostmunimusicnewsworthynonprofitotherphilpolretailscispecialisedspecializedtechtourismtravelunique

OtherHi. We won gold at a first-of-a-kind robotics competition! Ask us anything.

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:

First day

https://youtu.be/mBjBKuf1mks?t=1h8m29s https://youtu.be/mBjBKuf1mks?t=4h38m1s https://youtu.be/mBjBKuf1mks?t=6h56m30s

Second day

https://youtu.be/Ddh0kF-DbSk?t=1h41m https://youtu.be/Ddh0kF-DbSk?t=5h10m https://youtu.be/Ddh0kF-DbSk?t=8h01m

Award ceremony

https://youtu.be/Ddh0kF-DbSk?t=10h09m

Proof: https://goo.gl/photos/ferJwDM5ommCNd549

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.

Q:

Do any of you participate in an FRC team? If so did you make it to worlds this year?

A:

No, we don't participate in a FRC team. This was our first robotics project ever.


Q:

They can't PUBLICLY thank you.

A:

We can not confirm nor deny this.


Q:

Typical Estonians, copying off the Finns. ;)

A:

Well, we gave them our source code


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

What robot girl/guy in pop culture history is the cutest?

A:

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.]


Q:

Would you fuck a synth?

A:

Well, if you mean a synthetiser, at least I am not desperate enough. -team captain


Q:

How many accidents/mishaps did you have building? We tend to always have at least a few.

A:

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.


Q:

Our FRC bot had a few mishaps, as we broke a 100:1 gearbox, and 2 of our 1/4" drive belts, not to mention a few CNC bits while building. I expect that the Globals teams spent a whole lot more money on replacing parts.

A:

We got off easy: our triangle only needed 75% of everything. Having one of every part crumble in our hands was not a problem, as the kit was engineered for four-wheeled robots.


Q:

Could you briefly explain what challenges you had to master? The videos are each 9+ hours long...

A:

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.


Q:

What made you guys choose 3 wheels when nobody else did, and do you think that was part of you winning?

What do you guys plan to do after school (college or profession wise)?

How do you feel about the wish wash that is the perception of AI?

A:

Well, we chose three wheels, so our robot could drive in any direction without turning. This made our robot quite agile, so I think it helped us with winning.

I am going to start studying mathematics at Helsinki University this autumn. The others still have a year of high school left, but they will probably study CS.

I personally think that it is good to make AI's do all kinds of boring tasks, you don't really need humans for, because they might be more accurate and it also means less mindless labor for humans, if that answers your question.

Team Captain, Laura

Frankly, the reason we happened to think of a three wheeler: https://gadgetflow-ycomvalpjriovmn.stackpathdns.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Fidget-Spinner-Tri-Spinning-Stress-Reducer-02.jpg


Q:

Awesome thanks, one follow up question. With AI do you feel it's dangerous or something humanity should do OK with?

A:

No, I think we can deal with it. Society would have to adapt to there being less jobs though.


Q:

What sort of doping control was there? Do you believe your competitors where using performance enhancing drugs?

A:

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


Q:

Do you have a pic of the robot? What sport was this?

A:

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


Q:

At what point did all of you get into robotics, and was this always something you thought you would be doing?

A:

Ah, quite frankly we got into robotics when our headmistress called upon us to. We had prior interest in programming and STEM though.


Q:

have you ever been interested in vex or have you even heard of it? it's what I was a part of and whay you're doing now is really cool too

A:

I haven't heard of it.


Q:

Why didn't you clip those cable ties man? :(

A:

They were essential: we used them as rotating combs to collect the balls.


Q:

what song are they playing during your intro?

A:

Darude: Sandstorm, we chose it because it is kind of a meme and Darude is a finnish artist.


Q:

"Kind of a meme"?? Ask Twitch Chat. It's a great meme, good job!

A:

Darude - Sandstorm

We would like you to notice we actually got the matching sunglasses too.


Q:

What is your favorite subreddit and why is it /r/shittyrobots ?

A:

It is now.


Q:

How's the Disc Golf in Finland?

A:

Quite good, there are courses in most places and some quite interesting ones like the Vihti course in a sand pit also exist.


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

How does this competition different from the FLL, FTC or FRC competition they do?

A:

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.


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

Cool job how did you guys operate in the pressure?

A:

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.


Q:

How do you guys go about getting funding,? I'm supposed to be a Captain for my schools first robotics team this year but funding got cut and we are having to look for sponsers.

A:

Our mentor got us funding, so we don't know. I wish you good luck!


Q:

Did you get any official recognition in Finland? Congrats from Sauli or Juha Sipilä?

A:

Not really, there was a small article about us in a local newspaper. We got to go to the Finnish embassy though.


Q:

Hey! Congratulations! I'm a collegiate national champion in the U.S. What programming language(s) did you use?

A:

Java, because we had to


Q:

is Bender from Futurama the ultimate goal?

A:

No, Howl's Moving Castle is according to our team captain, Laura.


Q:

What were the tasks?

A:

See the description. (Updated after your post as this seemed to be a common question)


Q:

Did you interact at all with Team Armenia? I think they got Bronze in one of the events... any thoughts/impressions you'd like to share?

A:

No, we didn't.


Q:

Gotta say, I love what FIRST does and this tournament seems like it was a fantastic opportunity. What was the biggest challenge in changing from the standard events and this international variation?

also, what made you decide to go with a non traditional 3 wheeled version instead of the seemingly standard 4 wheeled vehicle?

A:

The organisators hadn't planned the event for so many participant, so it was very noisy and cramped in the pit area.

There were many disconnects between the tablets and the robots during the matches, which was claimed to be related to the number of robots present. For example in our third match the two other robots in our alliance were disconnected during the whole match. Those two were –rather conveniently– not shown on the live stream.

We made a three wheeled robot, because we managed to wreck our fourth omniwheel.


Q:

What language did you use from the program?

A:

Java, because we had to


Q:

Assuming you are aware of robot combat in the form of Robot Wars/Battlebots - what sort of combat robot would you build?

A:

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


Q:

Could you submit YouTube links which aren't blocked on mobile devices?

A:

They work on my android phone


Q:

What do i have to learn to become like you guys?

A:

Use maths and programming to solve problems.


Q:

Have any of you met the hydraulic press Channel guy?

A:

(Un)fortunately not.


Q:

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?

A:

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.