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Australia
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Robot Competition With Wifi

Hello
Please I understand 1 pc can run one program with 5 wifi ezb robots at the same time, I think.
But if friends brought their pc and wifi robots for a competition will they
conflict with signals.

Plus would wifi be available for our old boards.
Maybe a explanation of whats possible?.

Thankyou

Great Help thanks all ,Will wait on new boards now.

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Synthiam
#1  
First a bit of a correction. You can run 5 ez-b boards from one instance of ARC. Typically these would be one robot because you can only have one Movement Panel (although if all of your movement is through scripting, you could technically run multiple boards). However, you can run multiple instances of ARC on one pc, each driving a different robot.

Having ez-b in competition robots will just take some coordination between competitors. If using ad hoc networks, each will need its own ssid. If you set up an infrastructure network, they can all share one network, but each pc and ez-b will need its own ip address, so some coordination during setup is needed.

There are several threads on adding WiFi to the v3 board. I would provide links but am answering from my phone so a little difficult, but a forum search should find what you need.

Alan
#2  
I am an electronics mentor for a FIRST FRC robotics team at our local High School. For the regional and international competition FIRST sets up Infrastructure mode WiFi. That approach works the best but requires the most coordination. The have a very detailed documents on how to configure WiFi on the robots and PCs. Also this past year they implemented bandwidth restriction due to some teams using Higher bandwidth cameras and hogging the air waves. They want to have a level playing field for all teams so they implemented bandwidth control and each team now has a WiFi bandwidth allotment.

Each fall season the teams in our area hold a practice session with last years robot. This match is not a official event so it doesn't use the infrastructure mode WiFi that is at the official FIRST competitions. At these practice sessions we always have problems with each team having its own WiFi setup. Not that we have conflicting SSIDs or IP Address, but for the airwaves. There are only so many WiFi channels available and though the number seems large they interfere with each other. We have gone so far as to have some teams use the 2.4GHz band and others use the 5GHz band. Between Cellphones with WiFi left searching for a WiFi network, bluetooth (it is in the 2.4GHz Band) , and all the robots the airwaves get really congested. Admittedly the practice session I am talking about are not small, but the problem seems to manifest itself every time and it is hard to tell the exact cause of malfunctioning robots.

The other day we had a WiFi conflict at our local High School. I believe because of the High School's new WiFi setup is using all of the clear (non interfering) WiFi Channels to support the schools infrastructure and the robots had to use the in between channels. They probably latched onto the same channel because everything was fine until we brought the robots into close proximity. At under 15 feet the WiFi connections to both robots became unreliable.

If you do have a competition I would suggest having all cellphones set to disable WiFi if possible and perhaps even disabling bluetooth if possible unless they are required for robot control. The real problem is having so many devices trying to operated simultaneously at the same time in the same area. It is not just the robots that cause interference.

If you can, I would suggest minimizing the number of robots using WiFi simultaneously to just the robots in your current match up and the robots getting ready for the next match. Turning off interfering infrastructure during your event is also a big help.

These are a few of the lessons on WiFi we have learned over the years. They are things to be aware of. And knowledge ahead of time can make the competition be more fun.

That said the High School students and their parents all love watching the robot duke it out at the various FIRST competitions every year. From robot soccer to disc (Frisbee) throwing, to putting items on wall of pegs or stacking blocks the competition FIRST comes up with are always fun to watch and the students learn so much from the building and competing.
#3  
A little off-topic but if the original question was answered, I have a second question I've been wondering about:

What other competition categories did you do in FIRST @RobertL184 ? I'd be very interested in propositioning local schools and organizations with ideas for fun robotic competitions. What else has anyone done for an official competition?

Thanks everyone!
#4  
First has multiple levels of competition for different age groups.

First junior Lego League kindergarten through third grade. First Lego league (FLL) grade 4 thru 8. Their robots are made with Lego parts.

First tech challenge (FTC) grades 7 - 12. They use a Lego robot controller and a vex robotics kit (erector set like kit).

First robotics Challenge (FRC) grades 9 - 12. This is the big boy league which includes more than robotics it includes media, business (fund raising), robotics, team spirit, etc. Robots tend to be about 200lbs. and can be 24in. by 24in. by 4ft. Tall. Size and weight rules change every year. The controller is a national instrument CRIO PowerPC based computer programmed and controlled by a windows based laptop. Robots are programmed in C, java, or national instruments lab view.

My son did not get involved until he was in high school which already had an FRC team, so I have been helping with the FRC team. The FRC team supports 10 FTC teams and a number of FLL teams. Since the FRC robots are quite an undertaking both cost and team development a lot of schools end up competing in the FTC class in middle and high school. The initial investment is much less for FTC the schedule is much more relaxed and since robots can be built using the vex robotics kits or custom parts the robots are easier to build. FRC has 6 weeks to design and build a robot and starts in January. FTC just started end about the same time as FRC. The game challenges are just a complex and fun to watch But on a smaller scale. FTC robot are 18in by 18in by 18in. FTC uses a Lego controller and a laptop for programming and control. Robots are programmed in national instruments lab view not sure about other languages.
#5  
So interesting.

There was nothing involving robotics when I was in school. I'm from a small town on the East Coast of Canada. The only thing that comes close to this level of loveliness was Advanced Computing 12, which I took in grade 11, and got $50 for having the highest score - second highest was the son of the teacher. It was console C++ apps.

I'd love to approach my school - and even maybe the community college I went to - with ez robot, after I've had awhile to play with it.

What sort of specific challenges are these kids trying to beat each other at? How are they scored?
#6  
One of the difficulties with First is that they try to make it equal for everyone. They specify the the robot controller, software, and have restrictions on robot components. They don't specify how your robot must accomplish a game, but the do specify parts and rules for competing. If you are really interested check out their website http://www.usfirst.org.

Unfortunately EZ-B isn't on their list of legal parts (maybe some day). ARC scripting is a lot easier than some of the tools they use.

Rules for this years FTC game are on line. It is a great program but it takes a lot of the creativity out of what can really be done with robotics. First is not just about robots it is about getting kids involved in science, technology and math and preparing them for future jobs in those fields. The future jobs is what attracts businesses as sponsors and get the funding for the teams. It also brings in scholarships for the students. First has entrance fees which pays for the various activities and permanent First employees.

Our High school just started a robotics class, they are basing it on FTC. As a teaching aid EZ-Robots would be great tools. Perhaps you could look into starting a robotics club at a local school along with a teacher. It could be an after school activity. The club would not necessarily need to be involved in First.
Australia
#7  
Thankyou I had a feeling I could run multiple programs but wasnt sure.
Maybe i could just load the programs and run the robots like that plenty to think about.
again Thanks