I haven't fully thought through this update yet; I am trying to
understand what is different from previous years and how to handle it.
I don't claim that what I will write below is internally consistent,
First comment: I never, ever like having the team members touch
mission models or pieces. That's the referee's job. I do understand
why Scott puts in an option for the team to retrieve stuff if the
referee can't get there in time. My recommendation: don't let this
be a problem. Talk to the referee and anticipate what might happen so
you can have the ref eliminate the problem.
Second comment: I am a fan of picking up the ring(s) right away, and
I will recommend that to all referees, even though the update doesn't
quite stretch that far. Teams are welcome to remind the referee if
that doesn't happen. This is because I have seen objects on the mat
be navigation problems for robots very frequently.
Third comment: Traditionally, we never let the teams specify where
stray objects should be moved to, in case there is some strategic
purpose to the location. Suggestions are okay, of course. My typical
action is to push it so that it rolls out of the area of concern, but
is still in play and worthy of attention, since that's about as random
as I think is appropriate.
Fourth comment: Balls typically don't interfere with robot navigation
unless they get wedged between the robot and another object or wall.
(Also, it can be kind of entertaining to see them roll around.)
Update 26 allows them to be moved if they are "in the robot's way".
So, I wouldn't generally plan to move them out of the way immediately
after they are disturbed.
Fifth comment: I think that it is a marvelous idea for teams to talk
to the referee in advance about what to expect. One of our goals in
robot engineering is to reduce variability, and talking to the ref is
a great method to reduce variability in the referee's actions. Plus,
it shows that the team understands what to expect from the robot's
performance, and has thought about how that affects the game and the
need for referee action. What could be bad about that?
Lastly: it is the team that knows whether the ball will get in the
robot's way, or whether it will be negligible even if there is
contact. A comment like "that ball will be in our robot's way when it
drives through there [soon/on the next run/in 2 seconds/etc.] gives
the referee notice and lets him or her act in time to move the ball
VA/DC FLL Referee Advisor
On Sat, Oct 22, 2011 at 12:44 PM, Lloyd O'Hara <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Rule 26 states:
> 26 - OKAY TO SHIFT BALLS AND RINGS
> Rules 14 and 19 redundantly say objects can't be moved out of the robot's
> way by hand. But here's an exception: If there's a [ball on the mat] in
> the robot's way, or a [ring with no ball] in the robot's way, it can be
> shifted out of the robot's way. You should ask the referee to shift these
> objects, but if there's no way for the ref to get there in time, you may do
> it yourself. Neither the movement nor the new location of these objects is
> allowed to be a part of any strategy other than simply clearing the robot's
> The team has asked me to get a couple clarifications. They intend to knock
> the ball onto the mat. If the ball and ring is not directly in the robot's
> way at that point-in-time, can they still ask the ref to move it or do they
> have to wait until it may be in the robot's way? Second, if they do not
> have to wait to ask the ref to move the ball, can they discuss the ball
> removal ahead of time, with the ref so that the ref aware of their
> intentions and will be able to move the ball? Part of rule 26 states
> "Neither the movement nor the new location of these objects is allowed to be
> a part of any strategy other than simply clearing the robot's path.", can
> the team at the table ask that the ball be moved to a specific place (i.e.
> over with the crazy chicken) so that there is no chance of an issue further
> on in the match?
> Lloyd O'Hara
> Coach, The Crestwood Monarchs
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