Protecting floors around field from falling robots

With the tall robots this year, some will be falling over while trying to score. Most competitions take place in gyms so a robot falling on a wooden gym floor would not be the best and could make the athletics department mad at the robotics program. What would be a way to protect the floors that could resist the force of a falling robot with sharp metal pieces?

On a side note, can the field time monitors be protected also. Even in past years, robots have gotten close to them, risking damage. What could be done to protect these?

At all of my competitions we don’t have field monitors and the gym floor ie covered by a tarp.

We also have tarps, but I don’t think a tarp would stop a robot from denting the floor.

I’d suggest using old foam tiles! It provides some cushion and a natural barrier for the audience.

Too bad it’s semi costly if you need to buy more. We have an old set we can use of previously dinged up tiles from previous games.

Yeah, more stuff to transport and set up at competitions. :frowning:

I think the tarp/matting material most gyms put down would be sufficient. If you want something more solid, sheets of plywood would work, or those rolled up foam mats (for wrestling or something) that some gyms have, although getting cuts in them probably wouldn’t be the best.

For the monitors, you can put a sheet of Lexan in front it or build a box for it.

Why not seat the audience a little closer? There’s usually plenty of cushion there. :smiley:

Build a bot that won’t tip over!

Kevlar covered air mattress or we could put padding on the robots like in frc. Air matresses would be really fun too.

Actually, if you think of the physics and geometry of robots falling over, I think it would be rather unlikely for a robot to completely fall out of the field.

You have to remember that there is a 12" high wall around the outside of the wall. Therefore, if a robot is far away from the wall, it would just land on the wall and that’s it, it would stay resting on it.

The risk of robot falling out is when robots are close to the wall. However, you still need to remember that if the robot is very close to the wall, it won’t fall far until the wall stops it. Then, the only risk is if the following either happens from the position the robot hit the wall from, or the robot base slides inwards, away from the wall, causing the angle of the bot to become steeper.
At this point, it is mostly just a thing of being unlucky in terms of where the robot’s COG/balancing point is (which side of the wall it lands), and a few other factors, but the biggest being the COG. The chances that it would be past the wall AND the robot is at steep enough of an angle to make it tip is probably rather unlikely, as most teams would have most of the weight in the base.

So, pretty much what I have managed to over complicate a lot is that it’s probably rather unlikely for a robot to fall out of the field. And if they did, chances are the field perimeter would take most of the force of the impact.

Note that this would not include any of the following circumstance: Weight and imbalance when holding cubes, shape of the robot and “holes”, extensions, or the like, momentum, driving manouvers resulting in further imbalance and weird things, other robots, and other factors.

I read this and for some reason I see a 4 foot tall robotics student trying to explain to an 8 foot 7 inch tall, 290 pound basketball coach why his gym floor now has an eight inch long, 2 inch wide gouge mark in it.

“But I guarantee it wasn’t a robot falling out of the field! Here, I can even explain the math and physics behind it with these calculations…” :smiley:

Although for that you would need to actually use proper science calculations and stuff, not just some random (probably flawed) thoughts of some Grade 9 kid.

Off topic, but that situation is almost the exact same as a scene in a movie we watched in science called October Sky. I know, really random, but it just came to my mind.

I’ve seen that movie. Good movie! I was growing up during the space race, so it makes me wonder what sort of Sputnik-like events kids look at today and think: I want to do that. Is there anything like that nowadays*? or is everything Halo, Call of Duty, GTA, Flappy Birds, etc.?

*Besides, Vex, of course. :slight_smile:

True…skin heals, gym floors don’t… XD

Put the field in a bounce house so the robots bounce back onto the field…:smiley:

I can report back to this thread having actually run a Skyrise scrimmage now.

Aside from the falling robots problem, one observation I had was that falling cubes could also be a problem. Teams quite often missed scoring on medium and high posts, and the 0.5kg cubes have the potential to leave marks / dents on softer (wooden) floors. I don’t exactly think that many scrimmages would be run in places where the wood is very fragile / protected (having a robotics competition in a ballroom sounds like a bad idea) but I just wanted to give a heads up to tournament organizers.


I think the best recommendation thus far has been plywood around the sides of the field. Foam tiles would be ideal, but foam can be hard to acquire and transport. It would be interesting to see what FTC teams did in Bowled Over (watch until scissor lifts fully extend) due to their (very tall) robots.

Of course, this raises an interesting point for the World Championship–tall robots could potentially fall out of the enclosed field area. (Not just part of the robot hitting the ground, but rather the whole robot falling ~3 feet.)

That’s hysterical! I love it! :smiley:

There would also be refs standing where teams are not, so they could catch the robots and set them down

Would it be acceptable to “catch” a robot? I know that, for some robots I’ve built, I wouldn’t want a ref to grab for it, because they could cause more damage to the robot than if it had just hit the ground naturally. It also would make a ref feel really bad if they damaged the robot in the process.

Personally, I’m not going to risk breaking something or injuring myself by trying to catch a robot that is falling out of the field. If your robot falls outside the field, you can deal with any damage after the match is over.

There’s also no rule or Q+A that specifically allows for referees to touch robots during a match. <G7> allows drive teams to touch robots for safety reasons:

but no equivalent rule exists for referees. I would rather just let the robot fall (provided that that can be done safely) than get into any tricky rules situations.

Besides, it’s generally a good idea to avoid refereeing from the crowd sides of the field. You want people to be able to see what’s going on.