Over the years that this competitions has been running, judges have seen a vast array of suggestions for technology that teams could choose to use in the construction or operation of their settlement. However, often certain ideas tend to repeat themselves at every competition, showing a lack of originality and futurism. As this competition is set 20-80 years in the future, judges would like to see greater creativity in the designs that teams come up with.
That being said, judges have also seen some ideas suggested that they believe to be completely unfeasible, no matter how fast technology improves over the next few years. This list contains some of the worst offending pieces that have come up in previous competitions and it is highly recommended that you avoid making the same mistakes.
These come up at almost every competition, yet the technology that we are told the watches contain is already available today (such as ECG scanners or fall detectors). Unless you come up with some completely original smartwatch functionality that could not be better fulfilled by any other device, please do not include smart watches in your presentation.
This will not work. End of conversation.
When designing a robot to perform any given task, it is important to think about how the form of this robot will affect its capabilities. We often see teams design robots that are needlessly human-like in their construction, without there being any particular advantage for this decision. Instead, we would like to see a robot whose form specifically aids its function. A real world example of this is the Roomba, which looks nothing like a normal vacuum cleaner that would be used by a human being.
How to spot Dubious Technology
It is inevitable that with the short time you will have available during the competition, your research into a given topic will end up being rushed. However, by rushing, students are often drawn to the first article that promises a solution to the part of the RFP that they are trying to solve, without performing adequate verification of the technology they are trying to use in their design. Therefore we have compiled a few very simple checks that we advise you complete before trusting a document for the UKSDC, all of which can be completed easily in under a minute.
Firstly, do not trust any news articles that you find. News outlets have a financial incentive to release information quickly and this often results in them releasing information from research paper pre-releases, which have not been peer reviewed, in order to be the first ones to report on a story. They will also spend little time doing any of their own verification of the scientific accuracy of what they report on.
Secondly, check for the hidden sales pitch within any article or video. Often you will find a technology that is made out to sound almost too good to be true, and often this is because they are. The people behind the videos or articles will be attempting to garner financial support for their own projects, with technology that they have no tangible evidence to support. If anything seems like it is a sales pitch for an idea, you cannot trust it.
Finally, check through anything that you are looking at to find the original sources for the given information. Proper scientific research will always have these references given, allowing you to verify what you are reading. Whenever possible, it is best to chase down the origin of any information before you accept it as true, as on your search you may run into something that fails to the first and second tests mentioned above.