The first step in the design process is to identify the problem. This is the most important step in the process. If you don’t know what the problem is, you can’t solve it. The problem should be clearly defined. It should be specific, and not too broad. It should also be measurable. This means that you should be able to know when the problem is solved. For example, if the problem is “I want to build a robot that can score points in the game”, that is too broad. You need to be more specific. A better problem would be “I want to pick up a ball from the ground and score it in the high goal”. This is a better problem because it is specific, and it is measurable. You can know when the problem is solved because you can score a ball in the high goal.
Every year we are given a new problem to solve. At first it can seem completely daunting and different from everything we’ve seen before. This however, is hardly true. Every year the game is a variation of the same problems.
“How do we pickup and interact with objects, move across terrain and do some of that with the aid of sensors and feedback?”
This is the same problem we’ve been solving for years. The only difference is the specifics. The specifics are what make the game unique. The specifics are what make the game fun. The specifics are what make the game challenging. The specifics are what make the game exciting. The specifics are what make the game different. And while the specifics are what make the game unique, even those specifics are variations of the same problems we’ve been solving for years.
“How do we pickup a cone or cube at ground level and raise it to a height of 36 inches?”
This is a specific problem question for the 2023 season. By just changing a few keywords we can use our first problem statement to put this new problem into perspective.
Now that you’ve identified the problem, it’s time to research the problem!