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Thread: Will the EV3 gyro be allowed?

  1. #1
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    Default Will the EV3 gyro be allowed?

    The question: will the new gyro sensor be allowed? I've seen this asked before somewhere on the forums, but when looking at the EV3 SW last night I found a potentially significant advantage. One of the conditions the WAIT block has is triggering when a specific number of degrees of rotation have been detected by the gyro.

    I know it's all speculation for a very limited time, but I'm really wanting to ask a philosophical question & am using this as a vehicle. One school of thought would say that having to experiment to find the right parameters to make a particular turn is an important skill for the kids, and then extending that into a general-purpose MY block is yet another important skill. Another school of thought says this is just busy work, and if the kids can accurately make turns without a lot of time spent experimenting they have more time to do something else that's important.

    I think a similar conversation could have taken place (and probably did) when the NXT came out. That's before my time, but I've seen plenty of discussion on the forums about higher-resolution rotation sensors built into the motors, the ultrasonic sensor, and the color sensor. I've had many similar conversations about the use of calculators in elementary classrooms.

    I'll contribute my answer: neither school of thought is totally wrong, or totally right. If the gyro is allowed, I'll have no problem letting my kids use it. But I'll still encourage them to perform experiments to make sure they understand how to use it before putting it into a mission program, and will continue to encourage multiple trials (and variations) for mission programs. I think the experimental trials needed to determine movement parameters are very important for the kids to learn, but there are plenty of other places to learn & apply that.

    Thoughts?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Will the EV3 gyro be allowed?

    Quote Originally Posted by someonewhobikes View Post
    Thoughts?
    The gyro is listed as having +/- 3 degrees error (per what degree of turn it doesn't say). My team spent a lot of time getting the (mechanically calculated) turns right last year. They were probably achieving that degree of error or better. I also don't think the gyro is going to eliminate the need to "square up" on long missions. A better solution would be to use both methods and cross-check against each other to reduce the total error.

    While some teams may go to gyro-based steering, I think the kids still need to know how to calculate a motor-based turn if they want an edge. On the other hand, the gyro may add some new capabilities to the robot like checking for wheel or motor slippage. Did the robot start off straight, or did it jerk to one side when it started?
    Web Site --- Twitter --- Facebook --- Nature's Fury Resources & Scorekeeper

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Will the EV3 gyro be allowed?

    A big advantage of the gyro sensor is it can help skid steer robots make more accurate turns. Combined with the larger sprockets and adjustable tread length we will see a lot more tracked robots if FLL this year and they will be competitive. In the past that was very difficult to achieve.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Will the EV3 gyro be allowed?

    I'm curious about the gyro and the fourth motor, and when you think about it, the ball castor is a great part too. What really troubles me though is the suggestion that First would send out promotions for the EV3, then ____ it to teams specifically for use in the upcoming competition and then only after collecting the cash, tell teams that they couldn't use the parts in the kit First just sold them. Or tell teams that First appreciates their business so much that they are going to reward all the teams who bought an EV3 with a scoring penalty. If this was their intent, Gracious Professionalism would certainly dictate disclosing this information before selling the kits.

    (Imho I think that First should have released one page of this year's rules in advance - the page the explains what parts are legal. Many teams may find that they've over or under bought. While the "over bought" option is good for First and Lego in the short run, it's not a good plan for the long run.)

    So knowing that Scott and the rest of the folks at First are so seriously committed to the core values, I'm sure we'll be able to use the ball castor (and the gyro and the 4th motor.) Otherwise, it'll be a sad day for GP.

    Rich.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Will the EV3 gyro be allowed?

    Quote Originally Posted by rakar View Post
    Or tell teams that First appreciates their business so much that they are going to reward all the teams who bought an EV3 with a scoring penalty.
    So this was done when we made the move from RCX to NXT. My team was one of the ones that took the scoring penalty and I can tell you I was pretty upset with the idea back then. BUT that overall scores across our different tournaments normalized well. I saw no large gaps in scoring nor did I see one type score higher than the other. Having done it before, I would have no problem seeing it done again.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Will the EV3 gyro be allowed?

    Quote Originally Posted by rakar View Post
    I'm curious about the gyro and the fourth motor, and when you think about it, the ball castor is a great part too. What really troubles me though is the suggestion that First would send out promotions for the EV3, then ____ it to teams specifically for use in the upcoming competition and then only after collecting the cash, tell teams that they couldn't use the parts in the kit First just sold them. Or tell teams that First appreciates their business so much that they are going to reward all the teams who bought an EV3 with a scoring penalty. If this was their intent, Gracious Professionalism would certainly dictate disclosing this information before selling the kits.

    (Imho I think that First should have released one page of this year's rules in advance - the page the explains what parts are legal. Many teams may find that they've over or under bought. While the "over bought" option is good for First and Lego in the short run, it's not a good plan for the long run.)

    So knowing that Scott and the rest of the folks at First are so seriously committed to the core values, I'm sure we'll be able to use the ball castor (and the gyro and the 4th motor.) Otherwise, it'll be a sad day for GP.

    Rich.
    The fourth motor has never been allowed and the EV3 kit only comes with three anyway. If they allowed a 4th motor it is a minor inconvenience to the NXT-based teams: you have to swap out a cable. For EV3 teams it may mean adding/removing the same cable (rather than swapping) but that isn't a huge advantage, and it only affects teams which decide to use the 4th motor. So it doesn't hurt anyone if they allow it, and it doesn't hurt anyone if they disallow it.

    The ball caster is a really cool part. But not everyone builds caster-based robots. There was a team in Indiana last year that was using the EV3 caster (The coach is an MCP so he had access to the parts. I think they used the new big wheels too) and while they got the highest robot score the caster wasn't a big reason for it -- they always score high. So I doubt there'll be any ruling on the caster. My team isn't using one and they want to investigate it, but it isn't a do-or-die kind of thing.

    The gyro is the real kicker, I think. It is a neat sensor and I'm really looking forward to playing with one. If it does allow teams to make near-perfect turns every time it could be a game changer -- especially since only a few teams will actually have access to it. I could see FIRST disallowing it for this season to make the turning frustration the same for all teams, but on the other hand, those barriers on the south wall scream for a track-based robot! I could also see them allowing the HiTechnic Gyro for NXT-based teams to even it up.

    I'm good no matter what they decide. If FIRST decides to ban certain parts which are in the EV3 set, then that's fine -- most likely it is to keep it more competitive for all, not as a _____ money grab as you suggest. There are teams with huge investments in NXT hardware which aren't going to switch quickly, and the overall advantage of the EV3 over the NXT isn't nearly as large as the advantage of the NXT over the RCX.

    We're running an NXT this year with a modified version of last year's robot and we're looking at moving to the EV3 next year. There are going to be growing pains for a lot of veteran teams when they start using the EV3 just because it is a new platform. Any NXT-based robots will have to be reconfigured if they're built with EV3 parts since the large motors have different offsets for the mount points and for new teams there isn't a pile of resources for off-the-shelf robot designs.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Will the EV3 gyro be allowed?

    Early testing doesn't indicate that the gyro sensor is going to help with turns at all. They may improve odometry for tracked or skid steer robots, but differential drive robots are probably better off using their rotation sensors. Even if the sensor allowed perfect turns I think most people over estimate the benefit. A smart solution that navigates using landmarks will perform better than a robot with perfect turns.

    Having had the EV3 for only a few days I've only built a couple of robots and performed a limited amount of testing. However, from what I've seen I'd say the EV3 is an improved NXT, and not the big leap that was RCX to NXT. The new electronics have a better form factor but performance is about the same (first impression, need more testing to verify). The EV3 software is pretty, but I find the MyBlock editor annoying and less flexible than the NXT-G software (cannot change anything but the content of a MyBlock after it is created). The editor handles wires and parallelism much better but in some ways is more glitchy than the old one (try moving multiple blocks into or out of a loop or switch block). The medium motor will take some getting used to. Right now I find it easier to build around the large motor.

    The move from RCX to NXT changed how teams built robots and solved the robot game. Robots went from being wildly individual to monotonously similar. No RCX team would ever consider relying on odometry, but it is (unfortunately) common among NXT teams. If it weren't for the distinctive front panel I think it would be easy to mistake EV3 robots for NXT robots at your next FLL tournament.

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    Default Re: Will the EV3 gyro be allowed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean Hystad View Post
    The EV3 software is pretty, but I find the MyBlock editor annoying and less flexible than the NXT-G software (cannot change anything but the content of a MyBlock after it is created).
    While not a large improvement, I do appreciate being able to delete and recreate a myblock with the same name and have it 'reload' correctly without have to actually move the my block back into the code.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Will the EV3 gyro be allowed?

    For wheeled vehicles, I think the advantage of the gyro is not in making a single 30 degree turn, but rather in turning to a specific direction (i.e. due east). The advantage of the gyro is that if you get "bumped" off course a little your odometry won't see it but your gyro will, so your next turn might be 35 degrees instead of the original 30.

    For tracked vehicles the gyro sounds like a whole new lease on life.

    And it is true that nothing beats land-marking, line following, etc. when you can.

    bdwheele: I think I was actually suggesting that it would be out of character for First to say "Look at this new shiny tool, wanna buy one?" and then not let you use it.
    Also I've had kids who would have loved to have 2 motors to use at the same time in their attachments as opposed to two attachments with one each.

    Rich.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Will the EV3 gyro be allowed?

    In our Region (Central Europe) the gyro sensor and the fourth motor apparantly are allowed:
    http://www.hands-on-technology.de/fi...ticipation#set
    If so at least one team has to change his name to "The fifth Motor" ?!?

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