Question on robot color

Last season my team painted all our aluminum blue, are we going to need to repaint/get new aluminum for this season?

why would you? no rules in the game manual requires you to repaint your aluminum each season.

if you’re not questioning the legality, it’s entirely based on your design. if you have enough aluminum than no need to buy more.

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As long as you have pieces long enough to cut to the size you want, you should be fine.

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Sorry, I meant for interference with vision sensors

oh, hmm idk. if the shade of blue is similar to the balls, you should probably repaint to be safe.

If you don’t intentionally interfere with the vision sensor, you should be fine. Also, the vision sensor is rarely used.

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There are two types of errors you can make in this scenario:

  1. You could choose to repaint your robot when it is not required
  2. You could not repaint your robot and get in trouble for possibly interfering with vision sensors.

Regardless of the probability of a type I error versus the probability of a type II error, in my opinion, the consequences of error 1 are far less than the consequences of error 2. If you commit error 1, you missed out on what could have been a cool looking robot and maybe spent some unnecessary effort and money repainting. If you commit error 2, you could be disqualified from competition without the means to change your paint job in the end. If it isn’t obvious by now, I would suggest repainting your robot.

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Before you do anything, you should ask for a rule clarification.
It’s going to be a bit before your first competition anyway. Besides, teams that use the vision sensor should have an object detection program capable of distinguishing the balls from, for example, the starting tiles.

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While generally a good idea, I don’t think there is really any need to clarify this rule any further - the rule is pretty straight-forward, and the GDC made it very clear during the Tower Takeover season in the official Q&A that “It will be up to the inspector and Head Referee to determine if a given Robot’s decoration or design acts as a “Vision Sensor distraction”” and the inspector/head ref should “Use common sense”. While it is true that Q&A don’t carry over to future seasons, their response was basically a straight-up restatement of the information in the game manual; there is very little doubt, IMO, that the current season answer would remain the same (as the rule remains the same).

So @3589D - you are in the best position to determine whether you will need to re-paint or not, and it probably should depend largely on how closely the color of the paint matches the color of the balls and how that paint color will be displayed on your robot. You definitely won’t be required to buy new aluminum because of this; you can either remove the paint or re-paint.

  • If the colors are basically identical and you happen to have it displayed in a way that it would be easy for a vision sensor to get confused (say, on a bar at the base of your robot facing outwards where a ball might rest against you) then you would be safer to re-paint.
  • If the colors are not that close, or you have them in a way that won’t likely be a problem (facing inwards, for example), then you will hopefully be fine.
  • If after you make an evaluation of color and use there is still a question in your mind (based on your particular robot circumstances) about whether an inspector / head ref would think it is a problem, I’d recommend you re-paint. You should be aware that each inspector / head ref at each competition is free to make their own decision, and that decision is final. You might go to 3 competitions and never have anyone question it, or even have them say it is cool (this is particularly true at lower-level competitions), but then you might go to your very next competition and have someone say it is a problem and you can’t compete without adjustment (especially if it is a higher-level competition and many teams are using vision sensors).

(Side note - I’ve done multiple inspections over multiple years; the ones I’ve inspected at were typically fairly low-level and tended to be more lenient on things like this, but the more teams start using vision sensors the more they are likely to address it. If I thought it was borderline, we’d discuss it!)

Game Manual:

Summary

R13> Decorations are allowed. Teams may add non-functional decorations, provided that they do not affect Robot performance in any significant way or affect the outcome of the Match. These decorations must be in the spirit of the competition. Inspectors will have final say in what is considered “non-functional”. Unless otherwise specified below, non-functional decorations are governed by all standard Robot rules.
In order to be “non-functional,” any guards, decals, or other decorations must be backed by legal materials that provide the same functionality. For example, if your Robot has a giant decal that prevents Balls from falling out of the Robot, the decal must be backed by VEX material that would also prevent the Balls from falling out.
a. Anodizing and painting of parts is considered a legal nonfunctional decoration.

e. Decorations that visually mimic field elements or could otherwise interfere with an opponent’s Vision Sensor are considered functional and are not permitted. This includes lights, such as the VEX Flashlight. The Head Inspector and Head Referee will make the final decision on whether a given decoration or mechanism violates this rule.

TT Q&A:

Summary

Painting Robots in a Similar Color as the Game/ Field Elements R12
Rule R12 states: “a. Anodizing and painting of parts is considered a legal nonfunctional decoration” and “e. Decorations that visually mimic field elements or could otherwise interfere with an opponent’s Vision Sensor are considered functional and are not permitted. This includes lights, such as the VEX Flashlight. The Head Inspector and Head Referee will make the final decision on whether a given decoration or mechanism violates this rule.” Our question is, can you paint your robot in a color that is similar to those of game and field elements (including but not limited to green, orange, purple, red, blue, black, gray)?
For example, if your school colors are green and black, could you paint your robot these colors, or would this be considered illegal because those colors may mimic field and game elements, thus
violating section e? Another example, if your school colors again were green and black, could you paint the robot a darker shade of green than that of the cubes; or would this be considered illegal because of section e?

Answered by Game Design Committee
“Our question is, can you paint your robot in a color that is similar to those of game and field elements (including but not limited to green, orange, purple, red, blue, black, gray)?”
It is impossible to issue a blanket ruling that would cover all hypothetical decorative styles and color shades. We would advise Teams and Head Referees to refer to G3 (“Use common sense”) when determining whether a given decoration is trackable way by another Team’s Vision Sensor (under realistic, Match Affecting circumstances). The intent of G12 is not to prohibit all teams with green, orange, purple, black, gray, blue, or red themes from decorating their Robot; it is to protect (within a reasonable extent) Teams attempting to take their VRC experience to the next
level through Vision Sensor programming.
One way to think about decorative color choices is to view them the same way you would a typical non-functional decoration, such as a giant decal. By itself, a giant decal is considered a nonfunctional decoration. However, if used to hold metal parts together or to hold game objects, it has become functional, and is no longer legal.
That being said, just as teams are responsible for the decorations on their own robots, teams utilizing the Vision Sensor should be conscious of the possibility for inadvertent or incidental visual interference. It will be up to the inspector and Head Referee to determine if a given Robot’s decoration or design acts as a “Vision Sensor distraction”; to assist in reducing the frequency of these judgment calls, we would advise Vision Sensor Teams to take advantage of the engineering design process to investigate programming solutions that mitigate the impact of undesirable conditions.
To summarize more colloquially / bluntly: yes you can paint your robot green, just don’t hold up a giant green sign if playing against a team that you know tracks green cubes, and if you’re going to use a Vision Sensor, remember that there may be some green things in the arena that you have to account for.

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See, here I disagree. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and teams have a while to go before competition starts.

I think the best way I can put this is: if you don’t know the answer, don’t pressure someone into doing something they may regret, especially when there exists enough time to wait for an exacg response.

you should know where the balls are its not that hard and if its inside the bot for cycleing that it shouldnt see u

If you’re saying OP should ask in the Q&A if their robot, as painted, is legal, in my opinion that would be entirely pointless.

For one thing, there’s a reason the GDC specifically said:

<R13>e The Head Inspector and Head Referee will make the final decision on whether a given decoration or mechanism violates this rule.

The Q&A exists for teams to clarify the rules, not for inquiring about the legality of a specific scenario where the interpretation of the rules is not in question. If every team started asking if their robot was legal, the Q&A would (a) never get answered and (b) defeat the point of inspection.

Furthermore, the GDC has consistently avoided issuing blanket rulings on hypothetical scenarios. There’s a reason for this — the GDC will never be able to analyze the full scope of a scenario without firsthand access (pictures are not good enough). The GDC cannot see camera angles except those posted, and even those they can only see in the specific lighting provided. The robot could conceivably look much more similar to a game/field element from an angle not shown or in different lighting.

Hence, teams with any doubt whether or not they are in violation of a rule should err on the side of caution (in this case, removing the paint or re-painting) rather than posting a Q&A that, at best, can be answered by merely restating the game manual.

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No- again, you are making an assumption based on information that isn’t available to you.

I’m not suggesting that the question asker throws caution to the wind- they have several months to go before the competition season is even likely to start.

As such, the smartest thing to do is seek official counsel before they ‘err on the side of caution’.

Their robot passed inspection last year, under the same rules.

Yes, but you have to remember that the color of last years game elements were orange, green, and purple whereas this years colors are red and blue.

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Ok, that’s certainly a fair point. Still, I would ask for an official clarification, simply because we have the time, and we shouldn’t rush anyone into anything.

Personally, I would change the color anyway (and not color the robot any color), simply because it avoids potential hassle and headache down the road.

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My team has a dual color robot of orange and black so even if there are orange cubes on the field, it is very difficult to sense with the vision sensor because of the contrast.