- Share briefly your current building process.
Currently, 936A is undergoing big changes. While competing at ASIJ our robot full of complex systems such as gear shifting and a flywheel with a polycarbonate aimer did not perform as well as we liked. We also spent a lot of time at ASIJ fixing the robot when we could have been practising, this was due to the complexity of our design. Coming back to Hong Kong after the competition we were set on creating a simpler robot with a functional yet easy design. But to build a completely new robot within the short time frame before HKTech it was going to be a challenge. This is why for the new robot we have joint teams with 936C and together we will be able to create an amazing robot. At this current state, we have taken apart the 936C robot for parts and have planned out our new lift and linear puncher for our robot. With our team of 12 split into divisions, each division will work hard on building their subsystem throughout the coming week. Dividing the work like this allows us to finish the robot in a timely manner that allows us to also have time for driver practice later. The CAD team will have the design ready for this weeks building and we are ready and excited to start building as soon as we get the final parts.
2. Have you learned something new in the past few weeks? If so, what are they and how are they relevant to what you are trying to build?
What could have seemed like an absolute loss placing 23rd at ASIJ turned our to be exactly what we needed to turn our team around in the right direction. One of the most important things we learned at ASIJ was how unreliable our lift was being unstable and easy to break. We also learned how unreliable our flywheel was because sometimes it would work and others the ball would not get through the intake. All of this taught us how a complex design is not always the best. Learning all of this inspired us to make the simpler robot we are creating now. At ASIJ we also learned from other teams the benefits of a linear puncher over flywheel for shooting and it inspired us to use a simple linear puncher for our new robot. Overall the most important thing we learned at ASIJ was to have a robot that excels at at-least one task in the game. Walking into ASIJ we tried to be a robot that could do all tasks. And while we could do all the tasks we couldn’t do any tasks as effectively and efficiently as other robots. This put us in a position where even the simplest robots that could only flip caps and push lower flags were doing better than us. Seeing this really taught us what we did wrong in the design of our robot. Thus, for our new robot, we will specialise in flipping caps on top of poles.
3. How did you apply the design thinking cycle when working on your project?
Throughout every stage of working on our robot, we definitely thought about the design thinking cycle a lot. But I feel that as a team we spent too much time at the prototyping stage. While we were able to empathise, define and ideate our design for our robot within the first two weeks of school. We started prototyping early September and we were still prototyping the day before ASIJ. This I feel was a big issue because we did not get to do as much testing we needed. And knowing that the driver is just as important as the robot but how can the driver be any good without practice, this was an issue. Due to our complex design, we prototyped for months and this really cost us from being able to refine the design to see issues before ASIJ because of how long the first prototype took to build. When I think about ASIJ I would say it was our testing phase because after a test we should repeat the cycle and we did just that when we came back from ASIJ. After we came back we straight away repeated the cycle ideating a new robot and we are ready to get into a new prototyping phase which should, hopefully, allow for multiple tests this time as we work more efficiently with our new big team.