From the VEX Robotics curriculum…
“In competition robotics there can be multiple ways to score points for performing an assortment of different tasks. In fact, sometimes these tasks are not fully obvious to the untrained eye. To avoid missing these scoring potentials, one must read every detail of the rules and also learn to read between the lines.”
For most of the Starstruck season this strategy shown in the video was legal for the skill challenges. This robot uses the lenient tether and expansion rules to maximize the efficiency of scoring driver control loads. It certainly wasn’t a World Championship winning design, but it worked for them at that point in their season.
I was proud of this team for knowing the rules well enough to come up with this strategy.
The video isn’t made to highlight the tether bot, there are plenty of better tether bots. (This isn’t even a good tether bot. lol)
The unique thing that this team is doing, that I didn’t see other teams doing, was using a very minimal tether to get the the main part of their robot closer to the fence for loading and scoring driver control loads.
At the time this video was taken it was all legal based on the rules in the manual, and clarifications in the Official Q&A forum. Of course this was also checked through the RECF the day of the tournament.
About a week or two weeks after this video was taken some Q&A answers were revised to make this particular strategy illegal (I’m guessing in no small part because of this team). Perhaps there were other teams that came up with this idea too, I just haven’t see them.
The timing of new posts and rule clarifications and new interpretations can all be a little confusing for those not directly involved with seeing this strategy, and then the response, unfold.
The point of the conversation is “know your rules”, and “read between the lines”. This team did their homework for sure. Here is their list of their reasons why this strategy was legal at the time. It’s unfortunate, I don’t believe I have an original copy of the “Answered: SG4, loading a cube, cube rolling off robot” before the revision.
I hope this team, and others, really take the time to fully immerse themselves in the game rules for the new VEX Robotics Challenge.
I’m pretty sure it violates the common sense rule. Well, that’s what the head referee told me back in August when I tried to do this.
She argued the game designers did not intend for objects to be loaded at the fence. I guess she interpreted the loading rule as a leniency thing which was meant to allow programming runs to be a little less accurate.
It’s neat that you thought of the idea, you took the time to understand the rules and implications of those rules.
How many events did I see during the Nothing but Net season where referees ruled that any expansion of any kind was disallowed before the last 30 seconds?! Way too many!! In fact you could expand any time you wanted horizontally while the robot was completely in the climbing zone.
This team approached the referees very carefully. They asked the referee, if my robot is hanging on the post and this tether is touching the field tiles, will I get credit for hanging?
The response was, of course not, that tether is part of your robot.
The team agreed and told them their plans and said if the tether is part of the robot, and it’s touching the starting tile, and the students weren’t leaving the driver’s station, so they could load the robot if the requirements were met.
Their respectful and well reasoned approach was enough to convince the referees.
I don’t see too many sections of the In the Zone manual that will be misunderstood by a great number of teams and referees. The one question that sticks out is… What happens when multiple stacked cones are possessed by a robot and they become unstacked, but still in possession of the robot?!
I kind of feel bad for how everyone is going after these guys. It seems unnecessary at this point. I think the lesson here is to Q&A sketchy rules “loop-holes” rather than bringing a robot to competition, taking a chance on what the refs there will say, and then having it Q&Aed after the fact.
Haha, nice strat! We were using a six-bar clawbot for one competition and when our robot’s claw broke, we found that if we lifted all the way up, we could load the preload cube on top of the closed claw pincers and drive forward, and the momentum from the robot when it stopped would cause the cube to roll into the far zone.