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Should WCA replace Stackmat timers with smart cubes?

Should WCA replace Stackmat timers with smart cubes?

  • yes

    Votes: 7 8.3%
  • no

    Votes: 77 91.7%

  • Total voters
    84

RiceMan_

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Feb 20, 2020
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paddy field
Since smart cubes are getting more and more popular I would like to know if WCA should start using smart cubes in competition to time solves instead of the stackmat timer? I think it would be a good and bad idea it would be good because it's more accurate but it would be more expensive to provide Ipads and not everyone has a smart cube.
 

ProStar

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Oct 27, 2019
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An uncolonized sector of the planet Mars
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No, because almost all smart cubes suck and almost all the ones that don't suck have awful software. People's solves would be way worse and the judging would be much more inconsistent and prone to mistakes. Not to mention that a decent smart cube is expensive.

Once smart cubes become common place and they work properly and they aren't super expensive, then maybe. However, there's still a big issue with people easily being able to cheat by simply connecting their phone to their cube while the scramblers have it, as well as other relatively simple and untraceable ways of cheating.

In a perfect world, it would be great to use Smart Cubes instead of StackMats. But there's wayyyy too many issues and won't be happening soon
 

OreKehStrah

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Joined
May 24, 2019
Messages
577
I think swapping to using a keyboard-based timer would be the better option.
People wouldn’t need expensive cubes that don’t perform as well as a regular cube, and a lot of benefits are possible.
The first is that it reduces some variance from solves, and makes them more accurate. Using stackmats affects times because of pickup time. This alone can directly influence the solution one might use. Using a keyboard based timer would allow the solver to start pretty much instantly after starting the timer, depending on implementation.
The second more interesting and compelling reason imo, is that custom software could be used to keep track of each competitor and automatically do things like calculate averages and stats, auto upload results to cubecomps, etc. there’s room for a lot of really interesting possibilities.
 

cubeshepherd

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Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
2,259
WCA
2016STEE01
Since smart cubes are getting more and more popular I would like to know if WCA should start using smart cubes in competition to time solves instead of the stackmat timer? I think it would be a good and bad idea it would be good because it's more accurate but it would be more expensive to provide Ipads and not everyone has a smart cube.
No I don't think that is a good idea, not only due to the reasons mentioned above, but also this WCA regulation: 3a4) Puzzles must not have electronic components (e.g. Bluetooth or Wi-Fi capabilities, motors, sensors, lights). See Regulation 2i.
2i) While competing, competitors must not use electronics or audio equipment (e.g. cell phones, MP3 players, dictaphones, additional lighting) apart from the Stackmat timer or stopwatch.
 

Kit Clement

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Aug 25, 2008
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1,600
Location
Portland, OR
WCA
2008CLEM01
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Using a keyboard based timer would allow the solver to start pretty much instantly after starting the timer, depending on implementation.
It also destandardizes the pickup: is the cube in your hand, on the keyboard, in front of the keyboard? Are both hands on the spacebar? This makes judging harder and makes our timing system less reliable as it induces more variability in the pickup. You can eliminate pickup in the time by having it start in their hands, but you have no good way to prevent people from making moves before starting the timer.

Smart cubes are definitely not the answer in the next 5 years, at least, if ever. We only have semi-reliable smart cubes in one puzzle, and they almost universally perform worse than non-smart cubes.
 

abunickabhi

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Lucas is working on developing apps and some regulation workaround to introduce smart cubes to competing. It will take a while before it gets introduced to WCA competitions.

Red bull will be using it though for next year's qualifiers most likely.
 

FishyIshy

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Since smart cubes are getting more and more popular I would like to know if WCA should start using smart cubes in competition to time solves instead of the stackmat timer? I think it would be a good and bad idea it would be good because it's more accurate but it would be more expensive to provide Ipads and not everyone has a smart cube.
NOOOOO!! Smart cubes are getting lighter, but their quality is still not as good as normal cubes in general
 

One Wheel

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Joined
Feb 24, 2016
Messages
2,758
Location
Wisconsin
WCA
2016BAIR04
Electronic Stackmat (or similar) timers are a necessary concession for a competition that should be basically analogue/physical. It's not a question of hardware quality or availability/price, or of cheating (although those are sufficient reasons to ban smart cubes from competition). It's the fact that smart cubes as a learning or practice tool are fine, but for competition they fundamentally change the nature of the competition.
 

MJS Cubing

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The main reason smart cubes are banned is because you could theoretically use your phone to get extra inspection, which can lead to an advantage, because you can plan more. (Regulation 3a4 https://www.worldcubeassociation.org/regulations/#3a4)
Something else that could be undesirable would be having to pay for tablets for competitors instead of timers, which are much less expensive, and connecting smart cubes to said tablets would be difficult. Another thing is that Smart cubes themselves are expensive.
 

PapaSmurf

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Cubing is already a realtively expensive hobby from cubes such as the Gan line (thankfully cubes like the RS3 exist), travelling to and from comps which will be a lot rarer in poorer areas and having hardware to run timing software, many things we take for granted. Having cubes suddenly become a lot more expensive and require an app that can only be used on a smartphone makes this even more of a problem. As previously mentioned, there are also practical issues when ignoring cost, but combined, they give a very good case for this being a bad idea. Smart cubes can be useful, but not as a timing system for the WCA.
 
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