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Designing for Torque or Speed Advantages

V5 Clawbot

Torque or Speed in Robotics Competitions

Whether you build in a torque or speed advantage on your robot will depend on the weight of the objects it interacts with (how heavy the robot's part is, how much force it will need to do its task), and how quickly or carefully you want a task done (moving around the field vs. carefully grabbing and moving a game piece).

It is helpful to consider using torque or speed advantages to accomplish tasks similar to these:

  • Moving the entire robot around the field - speed advantage

  • Lifting and moving large robot arms or claws - torque advantage

  • Controlling a claw to hold game objects firmly - torque advantage

  • Moving a small part that collects small game objects - speed advantage

It is important to read and consider the rules of a competition so that you can build a competition robot for speed and strength in a strategic manner.

Motivate Discussion icon Motivate Discussion

Q: What is the factor that determines whether the advantage built in the robot is for torque or speed advantage?
A: Weight

Q: In a competition, why are both speed and precision important?
A: Both speed and precision are important because the robot's goal is to earn as many points as possible in a set amount of time. The robot must move quickly across the field while handling the game pieces in a specific manner.

Q: What are some real-world activities that benefit from torque or speed advantage?
A: Race car driving, surgeries that include robotic tools, cranes, and military vehicles can be accepted as answers.

Extend Your Learning icon Extend Your Learning

To expand this active, instruct your students to review this year's competition by clicking on this link. Students should then review the game manual with the goal of identifying ways in which speed and torque could be applied to create a competitive advantage. Students should examine the benefits and drawbacks of speed and torque for each of the robot skills required in the game. They should then map out a plan that they would apply for the game and identify the design elements needed to incorporate to bring their plan to life. They should describe and explain their ideations in their engineering notebooks with sketches and notes.

To further expand this activity, instruct your students to read the following articles:

Students should then iterate on their original plan and explain their changes in their engineering notebooks.