I participated in this year’s RCJ world cup, my team ranked 1st in the Super Team competition (Thanks to Input ❤ ) and 4th in the individual competition. I was surprised by our individual ranking because I didn’t work as hard in the past year. Although I’ve been to robocup before, I’ve gained so many new perspectives this year, and I will talk about things I’ve seen this year as well as some of my future prediction. However, one thing I will not talk about is my old team due to respect for their privacy. I will also write my personal reflection in another post.
IMO Japan has the best atmosphere for robotics, and Input has proved that this year. To be honest, the moment I saw Tada’s twitter (about two years ago?), I knew that one-day Japanese teams are going to dominate. I think this year, they’ve proved me right. This trend is also not going to stop because they have so many teams and also their passion and willingness to learn are just insanely scary. For example, I’ve seen this Japanese kid (very short and big eyes) every year, he goes to all the teams to take notes and learn about their tactics, programs, and hardware. I really like him and his robots ^ (I even let him sign my computer, haha). I think one thing drives their skills in mechanical and electrical engineering is the fact that most Japanese participants go to tech colleges. This is extremely beneficial for making better robots. The other reason Japanese teams are strong is because their willingness to share their skills or innovations with other teams so they can communicate and learn from each other. Anyways, I really love the Japanese robotics culture and I think everyone should learn from them.
Out of every team I’ve seen in my life (not just robotics), team Input is the most ideal team in my opinion. Their team chemistry is one of the reasons they are the best in the world. What’s most important is everyone on that team has so much passion for robotics. To be fair, a team like Input is harder to find than winning the lottery. If you watch carefully on how they function during the halftime break, you will be WOWed. You don’t see them speaking that much because they already know what others want without talking to each other.
Next, let’s talk about their robots. Since everyone on that team is responsible for specific parts, their job is divided evenly and their design is very well thought out and their robot is very well made. Because Japan has Tech College (from 14-19), their level of expertise of electrical and mechanical engineering is way higher than us normal students who have to learn everything by ourselves outside of school (especially circuits). I think the passive ball rule has opened up so much more potential for the RCJ open league and Input showed us that with their dominant performance in the individual competition.
However, I respect them not only for their team, passion, and skills but also their willingness of putting everything online for us to learn. Thank you Team Input, you guys were very inspirational!
I think Tada is the G.O.A.T in RCJ, yes really. The one thing Tada really missed, in my opinion, is a good team. His robot is really a piece of art, and I really think it’s on the next level. What is more astonishing is that he made his robot by himself without a team. I also want to thank him for inspiring me and starting this open source trend!
However, I think one thing Tada really lacked is tactics. I think it’s mainly due to time issue. I mean, one person can only do so much after all. I think the reason he didn’t make it this year is because the lack of time for preparing tactics and programming or else he might also do very well in Nagoya.
Not many compete today really knows this team anymore, but they were the strongest light weight team in history due to their insane programming skills. As their two best members graduate, the team got significantly weaker. However, I do think their next generation will be strong again and I respect them greatly.
I guess this is one of the most well-known teams in the world? Mainly due to their unique playing style and their unbeatable tactics (previous years). However, their robot design had one crucial problem this year, and it really caused them the title. If you look closely, their Omni-camera has the same problem Tada has – blind spot around the robot. What they did was not very smart in my opinion, they moved the camera to the front so they can see the front up close and gave up the back completely (even larger areas of the blindspot). This made them just like any other teams with Omni-camera (not special anymore since they can’t use their tactics). They couldn’t use their back dribbler due to the camera’s position causing them to lose their advantage over others. Let me elaborate on why EMM and Tada have blind spots but Input doesn’t. Input’s robot has a cone shaped design to reduce the blocking of the ball. However, EMM and Tada both design the robot like a cylinder and added the camera on top. Therefore, the robot blocks the ball when it’s up close.The last problem they had for design is their dribbler. I think the design flaw made their robots to have less control. It is either the dimension of the dribbler or the speed of the motor (too fast for the passive ball? Maybe). One other problem EMM has is their team’s reaction when losing. In the past, they don’t really lose to anyone, so they don’t know what to do when they are behind. What they did during the game against Input lost them the game. The score was 2-1 for Input during halftime, so EMM either changed the program or increased the speed (I am not sure which). As a result, they lost 1-8 in the second half because the robots constantly go out of bounds. Anyways, the reason I only talked about their flaws is that they were a very strong team, but this year they had problems so aside from that, they are still very good 🙂
Actually, it’s a shame that I didn’t really talk to them this year (kinda forgot…). I love their team too, the second best (Input is the best). I think the only thing they need to improve is their programming skills. Their robot this year is weaker than I thought, but their design this year is very impressive. If they had time to figure the software out it would be one of the best… However, the one problem with very strong teams outside of Asia is that they are student driven. This means, the students drive the team, and if the students graduate, the team is going to be gone (example: TNT).
Bend it like Beckohm
The biggest surprise of this year’s Robocup. This team is just as strong as AEIOU. I think they are going to be even stronger next year with all the new hardware intel they got from this year’s competition. However, they have the same problem as AEIOU due to the environment, I think it’s pretty hard to see any other US teams following their foot step. However, I do look forward seeing the result of this team in next year’s competition. I wish I could’ve talked to them more, but I think there are still many more opportunities for us to work together in the future.
I think this it, I mean I can talk forever about this year’s competition because it was so much more interesting than previous ones, but if you have any questions, feel free to reach me on facebook or twitter . If you’ve gotten this far, first of all, thank you for reading it means a lot to me and one more thing. Help from me is always given if asked 🙂