9 Replies Latest reply on Sep 8, 2019 2:00 PM by beacon_dave

    Team Contests?

    neuromodulator

      I think it could be a good instance for people to know each other better while spending time developing a project. I would expect a team to be able to accomplish more than single individuals too.

      Would anyone find a team competition interesting?

      What are your thoughts?

        • Re: Team Competitions?
          clem57

          Sounds interesting. But how to overcome logistics of setting up, time zone differences, etc. which makes this a bit hard.

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          • Re: Team Competitions?
            Andy Clark (Workshopshed)

            The idea of the massively distributed Rube Goldberg machine was raised some time back. Not really a team thing but people working together.

            4 of 4 people found this helpful
            • Re: Team Competitions?
              beacon_dave

              I recall Doug and Glenn attempting a collaborative team project as part of the Pi Chef Design Challenge a while back:

              The Spice of Pi - Blog Doug 1

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              • Re: Team Competitions?
                tariq.ahmad

                We're always looking for new things to do and initiatives.  One of the things you would have to do is figure out how this would work as far as how to promote ahead of the time to arrange people to get in teams, how long the competition would last, etc.  Next, could it work within a competition or would it be something separate.   There's been some creative ways of doing this with students and Design Challenges in the past and there was also Join The micro:bit Summer Code Club Challenge! to get educators to introduce coding to their classroom and in The Great micro:bit Education Giveaway - Project Highlights you can see great collaboration between classrooms. 

                 

                Personally,  I'd love to see a collaborative Rube Goldberg Competition.   If we had this as a theme option,  how would the collaboration work, and would people be left out (which we don't want to do) if they aren't able to find a team.  Or, should this be treated as a separate animal all together, like the way we do the Birthday Special and the Holiday Special.   If this were a special event when would be the best time to hold the Collaborative Rube Goldberg Competition?

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                  • Re: Team Competitions?
                    genebren

                    Tariq,

                     

                    To prevent people from being left out, we could have a draft to form the teams.  First everyone that was interested in competing could register, so we knew how many teams we should form.  Then we could have team captains, that would take turns selecting team members from the registered members, until the teams were formed.

                     

                    In order to work out the collaboration, it would help if the project was multifaceted enough that there were enough pieces that could be accomplished individually.  The biggest problem that I see, is when all the pieces need to fit together and integrate into a whole system.  Fun to think about, but it might be a little difficult to pull together.

                     

                    It might work.

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                      • Re: Team Competitions?
                        beacon_dave

                        "The biggest problem that I see, is when all the pieces need to fit together and integrate into a whole system."

                         

                        I seem to recall that the Rube Goldberg Machine competition is more generally based around stand alone machines ( or video recordings of stand alone machines ), with each competition set on a theme / required action and that there is some ruling on energy transfer steps (e.g. ball -> switch -> fan -> balloon...) Generally machines are designed to complete a relatively simple task in the most inefficient and entertaining way possible. So if looking at machines that qualify for the above then one would be tied  to the official rulebook for that competition year.

                         

                        However with the Lego RGM competition, I recall that there are two categories, the first similar to above to complete a task within a specified footprint and a second community category which is where different machines are joined together to make a large machine. There are rules about where the balls can enter and leave a machine and I think there is maximum ball rate limit to prevent a machine from stock piling then releasing all at one go and overloading the next machine.

                         

                        So it partly depends on whether or not one is trying to stick with the existing RGM rules, or to try make it compatible with the Lego RGM community machines (in form factor but not materials), or whether  to come up with something completely independent.

                         

                        Another option is to come up with something that has the potential to be integrated with existing competitions but under a new classification of machine. This might be a way to link into STEM projects in schools.

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                      • Re: Team Competitions?
                        neuromodulator

                        I think we could allow members to participate as individuals too, but to be honest, I don't think that anyone with enough motivation would have trouble finding other members to form a team.

                        Some members are concerned about logistics, but I don't think that would be much of a problem, as there is a lot of overlap in the access to the same test equipment and components. In the case of an item that just one member owns, I see the following solutions: The item could be bought (just like many items are bought to participate in current E14 contests), it could be replaced by an alternative (which is also a very good engineering exercise, as everything gets obsolete continuously and alternatives have to be found), or the member missing the item could just focus on a different part of the project.

                         

                        If time-zones are too different to permit realtime communication between team members, you could always use email, github or any other non realtime system to coordinate development. Alternatively, if realtime communication is really fundamental to you, you can always team up with people of closer time-zones.

                         

                        One important task in engineering is to solve problems with what one has at hand, I don't see how being distantly geographically separated would be such a big problem. This kind of contest would also allows us to exercise our abilities to work as part of a team, which completely different than working all alone. I think contests like these would allow us to practice other very important aspects of engineering!

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                      • Re: Team Competitions?
                        dougw

                        This is an interesting topic to me and I have tried a few times on element14 to get collaborative projects off the ground. A couple of examples are:

                        Vehicle Simulator - VTR / RTR

                        The Spice of Pi Blog Doug 12

                        Theoretically a team effort should allow more complex projects to be completed in shorter time frames, but it is often the opposite because hobby schedules just don't match up very well.

                        I think one motive for collaboration is if there is an obvious division of responsibilities. Perhaps one member has a 3D printer and is good at mechanical design, maybe another member is good at electrical hardware design and has all the test equipment to troubleshoot it and maybe a third member is good at software/firmware.

                        I wonder if it is feasible to have a sequential contest project which has multiple participation, but not with collaboration:

                        Phase 1 contest - design an electronic circuit on the contest theme.

                        Phase 2 contest - after a winner is chosen in the electronic contest, members compete to see who can develop the best firmware for the winning hardware.

                        Phase 3 contest - after the best firmware is chosen, members compete to see who can develop the best packaging or mechanics for the winning system

                        A twist on this theme is to take an open source system and have several contests to see who can improve the electronics, firmware and mechanics the best - say something like a 3D printer design, or a drone, or a robot, or a weather station, etc.

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