Answered: Tethers on the Divided Field

Hi Karthik,

With many teams considering building a defensive wall to block scoring this year, I would like some clarification regarding the application of <R3c> to tethers.

<R3> says:

In past seasons I know that you have stated that tethers (as in those connecting two bases on defensive bots) must be backed by rigid material in order to satisfy clause c.

As long as the tether remains completely on an alliance’s side of the field, must it still be backed by rigid material, when there is no chance of the opponent becoming tangled in it, or would merely neatly wrapping the wires in flexible material (eg grip mat, zip ties, etc to keep them organized) be sufficient? Would the ruling change for VEXU since they only build one robot this year, meaning that there would not even be a possibility of their partner becoming entangled.

If it does need to be backed by rigid material, what qualifies as rigid material? Would VEX chain or a commercially available cable carrier be satisfactory?

On a related note, would a wall consisting mainly of un-backed anti-slip mat with only the left and right sides and bottom consisting of rigid material pose an unnecessary risk of entanglement?

Thanks in advance!

Yes, any tether which always remains completely on the alliance’s side of the field would not need to be backed by rigid materials like they have in the past. That being said, if your tether somehow manages to entangle an opposing Robot, you would most likely be held responsible for that entanglement.