I watched a few of the preliminary rounds of the Midwest playoff
yesterday. What I find depressing about FIRST is that the electronics
are contained in sealed up pre-fab modules. That approach makes perfect
sense for high school teams, but for me it makes things a lot less
interesting. All of the team effort goes into the mechanical aspects.
Also the high school cheering and flag-waving and team uniforms and
mascots really did not bring back any fond memories for me. I have
always been rather repelled by the promotion of "school spirit."
Yeah, after watching a few rounds you could really see how the
mechanical designs were limited. Too often they simply could not
position the arm where they needed it, or could not release the object
when and where they needed to. The primary problem seemed to be coping
with the limitations of your arm and at the same time coping with the
other robots who were engaged in blocking and pushing activities. If
your arm did not have enough degrees of freedom you couldn't overcome
the blocking and pushing.
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