Author Topic: No experience, joined competition. Good idea?  (Read 1100 times)

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Offline CaekfranTopic starter

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No experience, joined competition. Good idea?
« on: January 07, 2011, 01:59:27 AM »
So I am basically a complete beginner. I'm interested in robots, but have never built one. They just started offering Robotics at my school this year, but I couldn't take it. I decided to take AP Computer Science instead (and it is probably completely worthless when it comes to programming robots).

Anyways, a couple weeks ago my CompSci teacher announced that our school district would be competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition, and asked who wanted to join the team. I said yes, thinking it might be cool to try.

Well, that's starting to seem like a dumb decision. Just looking through the basic tutorial on this site, I realized I have a lot more to learn about robots than I thought, and I'm starting to reconsider being a part of the competition. Maybe it will be a chance to learn, or maybe I'll just be that dumb chick who had no idea what she was getting into and only gets in the way. :/

The kickoff is tomorrow, and I haven't been able to attend any meetings so far (meaning I also have no idea of the skill level of my teammates -- they might be just as clueless as I am. But I doubt it). Should I stay a part of the team and hope I learn something, or would it be best to just drop out and begin at the beginning, building my own simple robot?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 02:01:37 AM by Caekfran »

Offline VegaObscura

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Re: No experience, joined competition. Good idea?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2011, 02:11:52 AM »
Don't drop out before you give it a try.  This is a rare opportunity.  You will have people around you that know what they're doing, and you will have school funding for it.  Most importantly, you have nothing to lose.  There is no better way to start in robotics than this.  Don't pretend to know things you don't, and everyone will appreciate having your help.  Consider going through tutorials and making your own bots after you finish this project.  Just have fun, learn as much as you can, and don't get upset if you get overwhelmed with information.  This is an opportunity that many people wish they had.  Don't pass it up.

Offline garrettg84

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Re: No experience, joined competition. Good idea?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2011, 05:46:56 AM »
Stick with it. I actually mentor/lead a high school FIRST team in Indiana. Our team just finished their first physical build (no programming) of the bot we may use in competition. It only took a day or two to complete. Have you received your kit(s) to start building with yet?
-garrett

Offline waltr

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Re: No experience, joined competition. Good idea?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2011, 10:56:37 AM »
Quote
I'll just be that dumb chick
Please don't ever think of yourself like that. That is an ancient stereotyping created to suppress women into submission.

The robot competition is a very good way for you to learn more than what is offered in the classes you are taking. I'll also bet that you can apply some of what you are learning in your CompSci class to algorithms and coding on the Bots.

The other two posts above are right on. Please consider their advice and do have fun with this new challenge.

Offline gp426

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Re: No experience, joined competition. Good idea?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2011, 11:26:25 AM »
I actually mentor/lead a high school FIRST team in Indiana.

Hey garrettg84. I am interested in trying to start a FIRST team at my school in southern Indiana. My engineering teacher would really be the person that I would ask to mentor, but A. She's wrapped up in a thing called "Super mileage challenge" and B. She wouldn't have been too much help.  :P I was just wondering if you might happen to know anyone in my area that might be willing to help out next year, or tell me where I should look. (Btw. I have very very little experience with robotics as do most people at my school. But I'm gonna give $50 robot a try.)

We are doing something called "Seaperch" put on my MIT. Does anyone have anything to say about that?

Offline garrettg84

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Re: No experience, joined competition. Good idea?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2011, 12:48:18 PM »

Hey garrettg84. I am interested in trying to start a FIRST team at my school in southern Indiana. My engineering teacher would really be the person that I would ask to mentor, but A. She's wrapped up in a thing called "Super mileage challenge" and B. She wouldn't have been too much help.  :P I was just wondering if you might happen to know anyone in my area that might be willing to help out next year, or tell me where I should look. (Btw. I have very very little experience with robotics as do most people at my school. But I'm gonna give $50 robot a try.)

We are doing something called "Seaperch" put on my MIT. Does anyone have anything to say about that?
Southern Indiana, cool! I'm at helping out at North Daviess HS (Southern, IN). We are also doing the Seaperchs in both the kit class and the open class. Depending on time we may also do a sumo bot or two.

Where in Southern IN are you at? I work at Crane and we have other engineer types that may be interested in sponsoring other schools.
-garrett

Offline futurrobotech

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Re: No experience, joined competition. Good idea?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2011, 06:16:18 PM »
The beauty of something like this is that if you put in the time this year and just take the ride into competition with the team. go to all the meetings etc, and pay attention. this time next year you will know what you're doing

Offline Elijah5647

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Re: No experience, joined competition. Good idea?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 07:41:07 PM »
If the competition allows I would recommend first trying with a lego mindstorms kit before moving on to real robotics. Especially if your time is restricted.

Offline Sparkinium

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Re: No experience, joined competition. Good idea?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2011, 04:07:57 AM »
Absolutely. I'm now a junior in college. When I was a sophomore in high school, I participated in my high school's FIRST team, and had a fantastic time. It was stressful, and for a lot of it, I was pretty confused! I really wish now that I had worked harder to make time the following two years for the robotics team.

I was on the team, despite my lack of knowledge of robot construction or programming. I got to see the robot go from idea, to construction, to competition, with all the steps in-between. There's always a way to lend a hand. Sometimes, you see something different than everyone else does; sometimes, you just need tot be there to see how the other people do it, so you can do it after them.

Once you've put in your time, you'll get to go to the FIRST competition, and have a blast. For my competition, I set myself up to be in charge of the batteries for the robot (a job of crucial importance, even if it's not glorious).

Your programming experience from AP Comp Sci will certainly help when you're trying to wrap your head around the programming concepts for the FIRST robot. (If you get good enough, your team can score big extra points in the autonomous round) Even though you've never built a robot before, you'll be in a room with people who may have, and their experience will help you understand the concepts much quicker than just learning it on your own.

Get in there, learn stuff, and have fun! And don't forget to ask questions.

Offline Soeren

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Re: No experience, joined competition. Good idea?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2011, 05:25:32 AM »
Hi,

[...] I set myself up to be in charge of the batteries for the robot (a job of crucial importance, even if it's not glorious).
Being in charge of the power is not glorius??
Then what is?
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

 


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