Physics, Engineering, & Math

Helpful Links and Additional Resources

This section is intended to provide more details about the science and math behind how to not only construct your bot but how to measure its effectiveness in the sporting arena.

How do you measure bot performance?

Setting Clearly Defined Goals: Before you can measure performance, you need to establish clear goals to define exactly what successful performance looks like for your bot. Put another way, “How well did your bot do all the things you wanted it to do?”

All to often, we begin to form opinions and judgement about performance or success without clearly defining what success even looks like.

Key Lesson: The ability to clearly quantify and measure the success of your bot design and operation is crucial to improving over time.

Measurement Methods: There are two primary ways to measure your bot’s performance. Both involve observation and collection of data.

Objective Data: Any measurement you can quantify without personal opinion or bias. For example:

  • The weight of the bot is “x”.
  • The maximum drive speed of bot is “y”.
  • The kinetic energy of the weapon at full power is “z”.

Subjective Data: Any measurement that you cannot quantify without some form of personal opinion or bias. This also includes measurements for which there is no real universal standard. (Words like severe, mild, damage, fast, or awesome are relative and don’t mean the exact same thing to everyone.) For example:

  • The bot can inflict “severe damage” in the first 30 seconds of a fight.
  • Your driving skills and ability to control the bot are “amazing”!
  • That bot is really “bulky” and is probably hard to maneuver in the arena.

Objective vs Subjective…Which is more important? The truth is you will likely need to use a combination of Objective and Subjective data points to measure your bot’s overall effectiveness. The relative “importance” of each data set is up to you.

Quick Tip: More often than not, you will find it easier to accurately measure and improve upon your bot design/performance when you rely more heavily upon “objective” data. This is because objective data tends to be more specific and consistent over time. Opinions can widely vary!

Aligning Data to Goals: Remember setting up your clearly defined goals to define exactly what successful performance looks like for your bot? For each goal, you should align your data points.

Below is an example of how you might approach measuring success for a combat bot:

Goals for “Bot X”TypeData Collection Method
It should weigh as close to 3 lbs without going over.ObjectiveUse a scale to measure the exact weight of your bot.
It should be able to travel across an 8 ft arena in 2 seconds or less.ObjectiveUse a timer to measure the time it takes your bot to travel this distance.
The horizontal spinner should inflict severe damage to exposed tires on my opponent’s bot.SubjectiveObserve the damage inflicted in test or actual combat setting. Use your own words to document the amount of damage inflicted. Is it severe? What does severe mean to you?

Calculations and Measurement

Force of Impact (Kinetic Energy)

Mechanical Connection Design (Sizes, Spacing, and Arrangements)