I just want to clarify what we may use for custom sensors in the college competition. We are thinking of creating an image processing module to track objects. The hardware required to do this effectively is often orders of magnitude more powerful than that found in the standard VEX Cortex M3 brick.
According to the rules, we may use arbitrary custom electronics in our sensors, so I assume that means we are OK, but we want to be absolutely sure that we can create sensor modules that require their own operating systems. Some examples of what I am talking about include:
CMUCams and similar
BeagleBoards with USB webcams
An Android smartphone with RF hardware disabled.
A custom sensor hub that gathers and processes data from many sensors, sending a “digest” to the main M3 brick. (possibly implemented using something like an MSP430 MCU or a BeagleBoard, etc.)
These modules would not have direct control over the robot’s actuators, they would only communicate with the M3 brick, which would in turn run all of the robot’s main functions and logic. For example, the M3 brick may request the position of the nearest scoring object from the camera module, and the camera module would send back a reply via standard UART or some of the VEX brick’s standard data pins. We would not modify the VEX M3 brick itself.
Would things like this be OK and legal according to the college competition’s custom electronics rules?