Competition Question

The Turning Point competition says that a flag can only be turned by hitting it with a ball. Does the ball have to be independent from the robot while hitting the flag?

Yes, the ball has to be independent from the robot. The flags are higher than 18 inches and the robot cannot expand above 18 inches outside of the expansion zone. Therefore, it is impossible for both of those conditions to be possible at the same time (ball is touching robot, ball hits flag) under the rules of the game. The ball must be independent from the robot.

To clarify, only the top two rows of flags need to be touched by a ball. (These are called “High Flags”.)

The lowest row of flags (called “Low Flags”) can be contacted without a ball. This is confirmed by page 2 of the game manual (page 4 in PDF numbering; emphasis mine):

On another note, for the high flags, rule SG7a specifically says that the ball can’t be touching the robot:

This would apply even if the robot could somehow touch the ball while staying within the 18" (which someone mentioned in another thread).

Yes. This is the real answer. The prior answer is incorrect, as it is physically possible to hold a ball while using it to hit a high flag while remaining within the height limits. I’ve only come up with three ways (maybe four; have to double-check something) to do it so far, but even three possible ways are well outside of “impossible.”

ok here is my question, can you hit the flag while the robot has a ball in the claw.

The rules explicitly prohibit this.

Please read the definitions and the criteria for scoring objects.

You should be more specific. You may hit a low flag with the ball while holding it, but why would you? You may not hit a high flag while holding it.

You also need to read over the rules a couple of times. This will end up saving you time and energy at the end of the day. It will also save you from surprises when you get to the tournament.

You can hit a Low Flag (in the bottom row) while the ball is in the claw, or without using a ball at all, lr by shooting the ball at the flag.

For the top two rows (High Flags), If you were able to hit the flag while the ball was inside the claw, but the ball wasn’t touching the claw or any other part of the robot, I suppose that would be legal, although I don’t think it’s physically possible.

While inside of the 36" limit?

Since the distance from the nearest point in the expansion zone is over 48" from the nearest pole and the lowest high flag is more than 20" above the field tiles, I do not see how there is even one possible way to legally touch a high flag with the robot without violating the 36" horizontal limit while remaining in contact with the expansion zone and/or the 18" vertical limit if outside the expansion zone. I would love to be proved wrong.

Jumping robots.

That I would pay to see!

I think it would be pretty cool to build! Be really hard for a referee to determine if it had momentarily exceeded 18" high though. And would want to re-read the rule book with an eye for anything pertaining to touching field tiles. Depending on wording, you may be exempt from some rules if you are in the air.

Making a robot jump at all would be pretty difficult to begin with. And I do not believe there is a rule against leaving the floor tiles. After all there have been plenty of games where the robot was asked to hang, Starstruck, Round Up. etc.

Here are a few I’ve thought of, some of which might be pretty easy to pull off for VexU since they can build two robots to work together:

  1. the robot jumps,
  2. one robot picks up another robot, and
  3. one robot drives onto another robot (similar to #2 but different).
    The one I haven’t checked on the legality of is
  4. The robot somehow climbs onto the wall without latching onto it.