While the Challenge Guide details the Core Values poster, which is designed to help tell your team’s unique story, very little is said about the Robot Design Executive Summary (RDES).
For a rookie team describing their robot as well as the missions is a hurdle. Where to start? During the last years our team learned more about it and we would like to share it with the FLL community.
First thing: Keep it short and rehearse it. You only have 4-5 minutes and after that judges need to ask questions.
If you are a rookie team you often have a hard time creating your own robot. Whether you started with the basic model or a borrowed one pictures are a great way to show how you evolved and an honest way of stating your sources of inspiration. Even more advanced teams had an initial inspiration. Our was a robot made by a Louisiana team from Bayou. It was long time ago, it taught us two important things: color sensors have to be shielded and placed in front of the wheels and your robot has to be equilibrated.
Do the accounting for your robot:
- the number and type of sensors,
- the type of wheels
- the number of motors
- the number of attachments.
- what programming language your team used,
- the number of programs
- the Robot Game mission where your team had the most success.
Most of us start with EV3 graphical language. It is not very evolved, but it is practical, especially if your team does have children of all ages. Can your team learn good programming techniques with such a primitive language? YES
Avoid code repetition. Use the EV3 My Blocks. A My Block is a way of grouping one or more blocks into a single block. After a My Block is created, the team can use it in multiple programs avoiding code repetition.
An easy tutorial can be found here: https://ev3info.weebly.com/creating-my-blocks.html
- Take a mission that your team enjoys. Not necessarily the one that works perfectly. The judges want to see how you solve problems as a team, not a boring mission that works every time.
- The strategy of the robot is an example of the sophisticated wording that makes even a geek runaway from science. Be concrete: we always take a picture of the field game and \ draw/write on it what we want our robot to do. Even our youngest team members know very well what they want their robot to do and they excel at drawing it.
- Design Process: were your robot/attachments always the same? If no, explain how they changed. If yes, explain how you thought about them.
- Mechanical Design: If your robot is basic just say briefly what type of motions is he able to perform: going forward, turning, pivot turning, going backwards. Also mention what your attachments can do: lifting. pushing, etc.. If your attachments are removable explain how you attach them.
- Programming: Once they finished, print the programs (just do screen snapshots) and ask the everyone to make comments on the key points. seems boring, but it is not. It is easy to forget in January things programmed in November. The judges want to know if your robot goes to its target using dead-reckoning or does it stop at black-lines and/or does it use a gyro sensor to orient itself on the field.
- Innovation: Any special feature of the robot’s design.
Pick the mission that you liked and demonstrate it. You do not have time for a complete robot run.