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Tournament Rules - Answer Thread

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  • #16
    Zip Line Trigger

    Originally posted by FTC2844
    We have found a large inconsistency in the release mechanisms of the Zip liners on our official field. One way we found (along with other teams), to remove some of the inconsistency, is to have a small rubber band per release at the top, rather than having 1 reg/large band.

    Q1: Is there any way that the 1 regular rubberband can be replaced on the official fields, to 3 small rubberbands?

    If not:

    Q2: The Low trigger is pressed, releasing the zipliner. Then the Mid Trigger is pressed, but the zipliner gets stuck on the Low Release, do we need to hit the Low Trigger again, or do we get the points after hitting the Mid Trigger, even though the zipliner did not slide down.
    Q3: Same for the High Zipliner, Do we need to have the zipliners slide down in order to get the points, or will we get the points if they get stuck after hitting the trigger. (This seems like a lot for the referees to watch for...)
    Q1 Answer: Official Competition Fields will follow the instructions in the Field Setup Guide which is one rubber band.

    Q2 and Q3 Answer: Rule <GS14> leaves room for the Referee to make the final determination on whether points should be awarded to a Team if the trigger was engaged, yet the Climber did not release down the zip line:

    "Referees will also award credit for releasing a Climber under the following circumstances:
    a. A Trigger appears to be engaged and the corresponding Climber does not release and travel the entire length of the Zip Line.
    b. A Trigger rotates from an engaged/Scored orientation back to its pre-Match starting orientation after the corresponding Climber has been released by a valid method."
    Last edited by JoAnn; 12-14-2015, 02:39 PM.


    • #17

      Originally posted by FTC0018
      Answers to two previous questions ( and refer to team "wearing the phone on an armband".

      We feel that this does not solve the problem of strain relief for the OTG cable which would be dangling from the driver station device, with the additional strain contributed by the USB hub and two attached gamepads.

      Our plan was to build a board to securely fasten the driver station phone, OTG cable, and USB hub to a solid surface and clip down the USB cables leading to the game pads. It would also facilitate the coach being able to monitor telemetry information (which would seem to necessarily involve motion of the driver station device).

      Can we build such a board? I envision a piece of wood, probably 6"x8", perhaps with handle holes to grab (like a kitchen cutting board - either protrusions or oval-shaped holes).

      Joe Higham
      Mentor, 18 Techno Chix
      Pleasantville, NY
      Teams have the freedom to be creative in how they will carry all of their Drivers Station components to and from the Competition Field, and the setup explained above is legal. However, Teams must use the stands provided by the Event Host, and cannot bring their own to the Competition Field.


      • #18
        Originally posted by FTC8881
        The colors from the rescue beacon sides "bleed" if the tape is not used (Step 6-10 of Field Assembly Guide) when putting the beacon together. As the tape is shown in the official assembly guide, can we assume that the tape will be used at "Official Tournaments" to prevent the color bleed.
        Official Competition Fields must follow the instructions outlined in the Field Setup Guide, and must use tape inside the Rescue Beacons in order to prevent the color from bleeding over.


        • #19

          Originally posted by FTC9915
          We have tested our robot on our team's Res-Q mountain from Andymark, and found we were able to climb our own blue and red painted panels effectively. Over the weekend our team went to a "Build Day" at our state FIRST organization's field house. On the Andymark mountain at our state's facility, we were unable to achieve sufficient traction to climb. The panels seemed slipperier than our teams' own panels. Questioning our state's volunteer officials, they indicated that the panels were slipperier on one side than the other, and that they had chosen to put the slippery side up, to provide a greater challenge to the teams.

          Has this difference between the apparently identical sides of the panels been noticed elsewhere, and what is the appropriate assembly configuration? It seems like this may be a somewhat subtle difference, but one which could have a lot of influence on the performance of robots on the mountain. We are considering partially dismantling our mountain to see if flipping the panels makes a difference in our robot's climbing performance.

          If there is a difference in the two panel surfaces, how can the difference be determined in the field, and what is the proper configuration for tournaments?

          Team 9915
          Both sides of the panels used on the Mountains were measured and tested. The difference in the coefficient of friction was so nominal that it was determined either side could be used with little to no difference in game play.


          • #20
            Originally posted by FTC3734
            Our school's 2 FTC teams (3734 and 6832) are among the teams that are pursuing the use of the ZTE phone's camera as a sensor that locates and tracks the red/blue beacons in autonomous mode. Our algorithmic approach requires collecting and storing "training data" from the red/blue beacons in the specific ambient light environment of a specific tournament venue (gym or ballroom) on a specific competition day. Will teams be allowed to take a few snapshots (or possibly short videos) of the lit beacons on the RES-Q game fields, before tournament play begins? How about between games, if the judges feel that some time can be allowed for it?

            A few camera snapshots or video frames, when processed appropriately, can provide the pattern recognition data that the robots can read from stored files and use during autonomous mode. The possibilities for the students to learn about image processing and pattern recognition will be HUGE!
            Calibration of a camera or sensor may be allowed during Field Inspection on competition day. Teams must understand that the location of Field Inspection varies between events, and teams might have to calibrate their cameras and sensors on the Practice Fields if this is where Field Inspection is taking place.

            Teams will not have access to the Competition Fields throughout the day to make modifications to their robot or sensors. Additionally, matches will not wait for teams to calibrate their sensors or camera.


            • #21
              Bill of Materials

              Originally posted by FTC5024
              I am not finding any information this year on bill of materials. Do we need a bill of materials this year? If so, we switched from Tetrix to Actobotics this year do we need to include all of the actobotics pieces into the Bill of Materials
              The bill of materials will no longer be required to be filled out by teams prior to inspection. Teams are required to conduct a self-inspection of their Robot using the Robot and Field Inspection sheets located in the Game Manual Part I. Teams should submit the completed inspection forms at tournament check-in or at another designated place.
              Last edited by JoAnn; 12-14-2015, 02:35 PM.


              • #22
                WiFi Direct SSID from Programming Laptop

                Originally posted by FTC0417
                Rule <T4> states:

                “Wi-Fi Direct® connectivity between the Android devices used as the Robot Controller and the Drivers Station is allowed. No other wireless communication is allowed.”

                Question: is it permissible in the pits to communicate from one's programming Laptop to the Robot Controller using the self-same dedicated Wifi Direct SSID that is already used by one's Drivers Station (technically, this is straightforward to do; the concern here is one of it being allowed).

                If this were not permitted, then one would be forced to use a wired USB connection to download software updates to one's bot. As the game configuration of the robot necessarily lacks this wired connection, prohibition of Wifi direct would be a time consuming and cumbersome complication, as it would necessitate a physical "disconnect, reconnect, download, disconnect, reconnect" cycle on each software update. The need to do this quickly and efficiently would be in tension with most every other design consideration for the placement of the Robot Controller USB connector, which would have the phone and all the attached wiring safely and securely covered and shielded from being able to be snagged from other robots. Moreover, as recommended in the hardware tech forums, it is almost certain that that connector will be physically zip-tied or otherwise tightly secured so as to prevent the disconnection problems many have otherwise seen; this would further complicate and interfere with the ability to change out that connector in order to do a code download.

                Finally, prohibition of wireless communication between laptop and Robot Controller would completely disable the ability to use the Android Studio debugger and other tools to monitor robot behavior while on the field, which would be a very significant degradation in capabilities programmers have to debug their programs.

                We well understand concerns about the introduction of additional wireless frequency use in a competition venue. But as this merely makes additional use of the channel that already exists between Robot Controller and Driver Station, those concerns do not seem to apply here. Permission to use the existing Wifi Direct channel seems to introduce little if any problems and has several benefits.
                Yes, teams are allowed to establish a direct connection between their laptop and the Robot Controller (Wi-Fi Direct Group owner) but only during practice. When a team is in the Competition Area, the only allowed connection is the Wi-Fi Direct connection between the Robot Controller and the Driver Station.
                Last edited by JoAnn; 12-14-2015, 02:39 PM.


                • #23
                  Advancement Limitations

                  Originally posted by FTC8391
                  We understand that “Teams advance from a Championship Tournament to one Super-Regional Championship Tournament. Once a Team has qualified for an invitation to a Super-Regional Championship, that Team is no longer eligible to be invited to a second Super-Regional Championship.” (from Game Manual Part 1).

                  Are there any such limitations at the state level? At the qualifying level?


                  W-Prime Robotics

                  Thanks for the great question!

                  A team from Connecticut is eligible to advance to the CT State Championship from one of the first three Qualifying Tournaments or League Championship Tournaments they participate in within the CT League or Qualifying structure. The same team is also eligible to advance to the NJ State Championship from one of the first three Qualifying Tournaments or League Championship Tournaments they participate in, within the NJ League or Qualifying structure.

                  If the team wins a spot at the East Super Regional, they are not eligible to advance to the North, West or South Super Regional.

                  Eligibility for the Inspire Award is a little different.

                  A team is eligible to be considered for the Inspire Award at the first three League Championship or Qualifying Tournaments they attend within a region. If a team wins the Inspire Award at a League Championship or Qualifying Tournament, the Judges may not consider the team for the Inspire Award again in that region, at that level. The team is eligible to be considered for the Inspire Award at League Championship or Qualifying Tournaments in other regions. The team is eligible to be considered for the Inspire Award at the next tournament level (Championship, or Super Qualifier).

                  A team is eligible to be considered for the Inspire Award at the first three State or Regional Championships they attend in a Super-Region. If a team wins the Inspire Award at a State or Regional Championship, the Judges may not consider the team for the Inspire Award again within that Super-Region.

                  Teams are required to notify event organizers if they are not eligible for advancement or for an Inspire Award. Teams may not accept an Inspire Award if they are not eligible to receive it.
                  Last edited by JoAnn; 12-14-2015, 02:36 PM.


                  • #24
                    Pull Up Bar Height

                    Originally posted by FTC9910
                    How long does our arm have to be in order to reach the pull up bar?
                    I have looked through the ftc website and can not find the height of the pull up bar off of the mountain.
                    Please reference the Mountain CAD drawing located on the AndyMark website for Mountain dimensions. Having these dimensions will assist in your robots arm design.
                    Last edited by JoAnn; 12-14-2015, 02:37 PM.


                    • #25
                      LED lights on Safety Goggles - Not Allowed

                      Originally posted by FTC8767
                      Can we use leds on our goggles - similar to this:

                      Rule 4.5 says "Tinted lenses are allowed as long as Event personnel can see the Volunteers, spectators, or Team member’s eyes through the safety glasses." Though these would not be "tinted", they do not impair vision for the wearer & the team member's eyes can be seen with no problem. Also we would be using yellow leds, which would not be as noticeable as the blue in the video. Thanks!
                      These would not be allowed per the video and images attached, Volunteers, spectators and teams would not be able to see your eyes through the LED lights.
                      Last edited by JoAnn; 12-14-2015, 02:38 PM.


                      • #26
                        Floor Protection, Under the Mountain

                        Originally posted by NEOFTC
                        The field setup guide wisely suggests that something be placed under the legs of the mountain since movement is likely and might damage the floor. May we place tiles under the mountain feet?
                        Yes, tiles can be placed under the mountain to protect the floor.
                        Last edited by JoAnn; 12-14-2015, 02:37 PM.


                        • #27
                          May the Pep Band play the National Anthem to open the competition?

                          Originally posted by FTC6025
                          Hi. The manual states no live bands in the pit or audience. I am wondering if it is permissible to have the school pep band play the National Anthem and possibly the school fight song from center stage once, immediately prior to the start of matches. It would not interfere with announcements and would actually help focus attention on the start of formal competition.

                          Hello team FTC6025,

                          An event organizer may invite a pep band to play the National Anthem at an event. A pep band would probably not be invited to play a school fight song (there are many schools at an event, and to highlight one team only is not fair or equitable). If a pep band were to arrive, uninvited, they would probably not be permitted to play.


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by FTC4625
                            Our robotics program hosted a Qualifying Tournament this weekend. As we were taking down the fields after the event we noticed that the blue and red panels on the lower levels of the Mountains had streaks and deposits of plastic and rubber from robot wheels, and the aluminum Churro bars had nicks and scratches from contact with robot chassis and mechanisms. Are there guidelines for what condition the field elements should be in for the start of the next tournament? Should we remove the rubber and plastic deposits with a solvent such as Goo Gone or ammonia, and use sandpaper or a fine file to smooth rough or jagged spots on the Churros? Or should the Mountain surfaces be allowed to degrade over the course of the season as part of the game challenge? Additionally, given that our region will have 10 Qualifying Tournaments this season and by the last one the Mountains will otherwise be pretty beaten up, would it be appropriate at mid-season to take apart the Mountains and turn the colored panels over to expose the unused side?
                            Marks on the field or nicks in the churros do not affect a teams ability to play the game. Partners may choose to clean the ramps at their discretion, and we have found that rubbing alcohol effectively cleans tire marks from the ramp.


                            • #29
                              Tournament Participation after attending 3 events

                              Originally posted by FTC8995
                              Our team has signed up for 5 qualifying tournaments. per 7.2 we understand that our team can not be considered for any awards. Our question is, would we still be allowed to participate in the finals of the tournament if we have a high enough qualification ranking or are selected by another team in alliance selection?

                              Thank you in advance for your help

                              "7.2 FTC Award Eligibility
                              To ensure fairness to all Teams and to provide equal opportunity for all Teams to win an award at an FTC Championship tournament, Teams are only eligible to win an award at the first three Championship tournaments that they attend in a season. Those Teams who compete in more than three Qualifying Tournament, League Championships, and Championship tournaments do so for the purpose of being involved in the fun and excitement of the tournament and not with the intention of winning awards or advancing to the next tournament level."

                              Wade Batson
                              Coach - Team 8995

                              Thank you for your question.

                              After the third Qualifying Tournament, a team can compete (if there is capacity in the region), but the team would not be eligible for consideration for any award. The team is not eligible to advance to the next level event. Teams are allowed to participate in the finals, but they will not advance from them. In this instance, the team is required to notify the even host that they are not eligible for advancement. The advancement opportunity would be given to the next eligible team, according to the published Advancement Criteria.


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by FTC4133
                                We would like to use the gamepad on the driver station to make selections in our code for the autonomous mode. We were wondering if this was possible as long as the selection is made during the init phase and while the teams are still setting their robots, etc? For example, we would put the robot down, press init on the drivers station, and then select certain parameters for the code operation - which alliance we are on, start position, etc.

                                This would be similar to previous years where we would initialize the NXT, and make selections on the NXT screen based on our start position, etc.

                                Fusion 4133
                                This is allowed granted the selections are done prior to the match, before the Rescue Beacons have been set.