Saturday, October 31, 2009

Inventioneers Comment on Q and A #25

Calibration of light sensors is allowed as part of your setup routine, and it's understood that this needs to be done outside Base. Don't go any farther out of Base than you need to, and don't touch anything but your robot.

The Inventioneers: Rookie teams may be a little puzzled by this one. Light sensor calibration is a way to set your light sensors to know what dark and light values are. Here's some more information on that: Light Sensors

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Tool For Your Table Practice

Don't forget to use the handy Inventioneers Score Sheet we developed to help you as you start running your missions on the table. It's a great way to keep track of the points you earn with each practice round at your meetings. It not only gives you an idea of how many points you can reliably score, but if you keep the sheets, they will give you a sense of how your robot is progressing. If you feel like you're not making the progress you want, you can go back to some older scoring sheets and prove to yourselves that you're heading in the right direction! Feel free to print out as many copies as you need and also, pass the file on to anyone on other teams!

Click this image and then choose:The Inventioneers Smart Move Score Sheet from the menu.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

We have heard from a lot of teams that are having teamwork struggles. We know that is probably the biggest challenge with new teams. Disagreements, lack of focus and differences of opinion about everything from the team shirt color to the research challenge topic are common and normal! That's why our ABCs of FLL Workshop had a whole session on teamwork and team building.

One thing our team has done (and other teams do, too) is bring some fun into the stressful situation. We used giant glasses to make sure everyone had a chance to speak and that everyone listened. We got dollar store glasses and made a rule that only the person wearing the glasses could speak and if you didn't have the glasses, your job was to listen! It was just the thing to make a point about respecting each other's opinions and ideas.

We'll be sharing more teamwork tips, so check back soon!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Inventioneers' Take on Q and A's 23-24

The Missions page tells you that the gray loop bonus is independent from the red loop bonus. This means they have nothing to do with each other. This does not mean you can only earn one. You can earn both.

Here is the mission #23 refers to:

Friday, October 16, 2009

What's This About Field Damage?

Here's the Q and A from FIRST's webpage:
Under Rule 27, the referee is supposed to restore the field to the condition it was in right before the damage. That would (unrealistically) include the robot. Unlike other objects in the field, the robot often continues moving, and may even make new changes before the referee gets to the scene. So these rulings are needed, mostly for referees:---If the robot damages an access marker while driving over it or getting stuck on it, the team must immediately interrupt the robot, bring it to Base, and lose an upright beacon, if there is one available at that time. Any changes made by the robot after the damage will also be "undone."

---If the robot damages an access marker and either backs or turns successfully away from it, the referee will decide if the damage was obviously intentional.

*If the damage was obviously intentional, the robot will be interrupted as described above.
*If the damage had any chance of being accidental, or due to a poor Dual Lock connection, the ref will simply fix the damage, and the robot will not be interrupted.

---Loops and yellow guide walls are known to be fragile, and damage to these will always draw a "benefit of the doubt" call (robot won't be interrupted unless the team wants it). BUT...Don't count on them breaking - tournament organizers have permission to glue them.---I'm officially not worried about the remaining models.

The Inventioneers: The moral of this story is - try to avoid field damage at all costs! Remember, your robot may not act the same way at a tournament as it does during practice at team meetings so if your robot's movements sometimes knock over an access marker, Murphy's Law may come into play when it's tournament time. So don't damage the field on purpose, especially the access markers, because this will cause the referees to take away the points that were scored after the damage and you will be forced to call a retrieval and a warning beacon will be removed (if there are any upright at the time) - a ten point retrieval penalty!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Interesting Project Explanations

Project Q and As:
(These are interesting answers! They just highlight the point that if you can directly relate your community and solution to the project instructions, the sky (sorry for the pun!) is the limit!
The Inventioneers

Q: Can space be our community?
Q: Can our team choose the International Space Station or Space as our community?
A: Yes. It is up to your team to decide what you define as your community. Your community does not have to be the place in which your team lives. When we say your community we actually mean a community of your teams choosing. If your team chooses to attend a tournament, the presentation for the judges must include a clear description of your community and why your team chose this community. The mode of transportation and solution that you choose must directly affect your community. Please remember that one part of the Project is sharing your findings and solution with your community. This can be done in a number of ways. It is up to your team to decide the way you want to share your research and solution.

Q: Do viruses count?
Q: Can FLL teams research the movement of viruses as their mode of transportation and create innovative solutions to stop the viruses from traveling or moving?
A: Yes. It seems a lot of teams are thinking about relevant issues happening in many communities all over the world. While the project specifically states that teams should choose one mode of transportation and a problem surrounding that mode of transportation with hopes of making it safer and more efficient, the unique idea of stopping the mode of transportation such as a virus is a noteworthy cause and we do want to allow the teams be able to find a solution to stop the spread or movement of a virus such as the H1N1. So, after consulting with many on the FLL team we have decided to allow this mode of transportation and wish the teams a lot of luck in finding the solution to helping stop the spread (or movement) of a virus of your choosing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Game Q and A

This is the latest Q and A from Scott Evans:
The scope of objects that could become stray includes loose, valueless objects (such as the black pillars) as well as loose valuable objects and strategic objects. However, if a Dual-Locked object gets separated from the mat, that's considered "Field Damage" and the referee will restore it (Rule 27).

The Inventioneers: This means that as soon as any strategic object ("strategic objects are defined as team-supplied objects which you or your robot may use as tools or aids"), scoring objects (the loops, for example) and/or non scoring objects (pillars) are not in their original position they can be removed by the referee and that if the bridge, for example, comes off the mat it will be restored to its original position!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Judging Sessions

Remember, even if you divide the work and have a research sub-team, make sure everyone on the team has input and understands all aspects of the project. During the research judging session, the judges will be looking to see all that all team members understand and contributed to the project. Make sure during your five minute presentation that everyone adds some information about the project no matter what your presentation style is!

Hope your season is going great!

The Inventioneers

The New Q and A's Just Keep Coming!

Hi again,

Just reminding new teams about the new Q and A's from Scott Evans at FIRST. With respect to #19 - if you are a rookie team, you may not truly appreciate the missions and table challenge this year. We felt that with 18 or so missions to accomplish last year, it was really overwhelming for new teams.

We think there are still plenty of tricky missions for Smart Move but many fewer than last year. We know teams that were a little discouraged by the sheer number of missions for Climate Connections. We think Mr. Evans has found a good balance between keeping it challenging this year without putting so much pressure on rookie teams.
The Inventioneers

The latest Q and A's from

15 - SEPARATED QUICKLY: Please be sure that anything you add to mission models can be removed in about 15 seconds when the ref gives the okay after the match.

16 - ROBOT CAN'T TOUCH MAT: For end-of-match options where the robot's drive wheels are touching yellow or red bridge decking, the robot must not be touching the mat.

17 - STRAY OBJECT EXCEPTIONS - 2: Since sensor walls could score while "upright" as well as "not upright," they could never be removed as stray objects under the original Rule 25. Yet teams are still writing in, wishing to have them removed. So this exception is being given: If a sensor wall has been moved, you may declare it stray, but once any wall is removed from the field, the referee will record the end-of-match condition of all walls to be "only one wall upright," no matter what the actual condition of the walls is. This reduces the max possible overall score you can get for walls to 10 points, so be sure the trade-off is worth it. This wording replaces previous wording from QA7.

18 - OBJECTS AT REST: Objects about to become "stray" (removable) are not actually stray until they come to rest. For example, the truck may NOT be interrupted by hand while it's moving.

19 - TIE-BREAKING: While this year's game is a tough challenge for most teams, some top teams are finding it somewhat easier than usual. I'm projecting multiple teams at some events, who will score 400 in all of their three matches. So the usual tie-breaking system, where we compare 2nd and finally 3rd highest scores would be insufficient. This is an alert to you "perfect" 400 teams, that some tournaments may give out multiple Performance Awards, some may decide to separate you by how FAST you get to 400, and some may hold head-to-head elimination matches. Other fair options are possible. The exact method for tie-breaking will be decided at the event, by the people running it.

20 - NO DUAL LOCK ON ROBOT: Where the Missions tell you "any constraint system is okay," for your crash-test figure aboard your robot, that doesn't mean you can ignore the Parts rule (Rule #2). "Everything you compete with must be made of LEGO elements..." (Dual Lock is not allowed)..

Friday, October 2, 2009

FLL in the News!

Check out this newspaper article from last week's Derry News! Congratulations to the team from Tabernacle Baptist Church, the Creationists, for getting off to a great start in their rookie season!

Derry News Article (click this link)

Hope all is going well!