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  • #31
    Originally posted by Dean Hystad View Post
    If you are moving items around inside home to clear a return path for the robot, I think that is clearly an interaction.
    I don't agree. I do not think that is an interaction with the robot.
    FIRST LEGO League Mentor and Referee/Head Referee since 2011.

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    • #32
      It is the same as previous years, if you had a jig to launch a robot from base, and as the robot was on the field you removed the jig "to make room for the robot to return." Additionally, according to R22: "During the Match" "Don't interact with any part of the field that is not completely in Home." Therefore, anything that is completely in home can be interacted with during a match.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by dna1990 View Post

        I too feel that Home belongs to the technicians and any work/prep done there is allowed at any time. Otherwise we would have to be frozen anytime the robot was autonomous.

        But there are some limits. For example, I think it is an interruption to hand place something in Home, that the Robot then interacts with or is influenced by. So placing a new Building Unit in Home that the Robot drives in/thru (uninterrupted) and collects - is an interruption. If you hand place a big red LEGO wall in Home, and the Robot drives in/by and detects this color or presence of that object - that is an interruption.

        Dean's point of "clearing a path" I do see where this sits on the fringe of influencing the robot's actions and outcome. But taking it that far, one might as well say the whole 150 second match is a autonomous under a single launch. And that has never been the case nor is realistic. Say the team "arranges" Home before the launch even occurs, we say that is fine. Now say the team arranges Home after/during that launch, but well in advance of the Robot getting close back to Home, that seems fine. So this concept only seems to pop up when we imagine a Robot very close to returning to Home (perhaps on an unexpected path) and the team scrambles to make a path - last minute. This example does start to look like an influence and and human-assist, and so maybe an interruption. But even if so - how does a ref or anyone gauge the difference between the last-minute example and the other two? One-one-thousand, two-Mississippi, three?
        It is hard for me to see any difference between clearing a path for the robot to return home and positioning a building unit for the robot to collect. Both examples are a manual operation meant to help the robot score more points. The only difference is that previously the items were in "storage" instead of "home", and "storage" was treated as being off field, even when it wasn't. Now we store items in "home", and "home" is clearly part of the field. "It's always been done this way" is not a valid argument. Nobody's actually said "It's always been done this way", but I think it is clearly affecting the interpretation.

        You cannot say the whole 150 second match is autonomous under a single launch. Launch and interrupt clearly bound when the robot is autonomous. Once I interact with the robot it is interrupted and no longer autonomous. I can then do things I normally cannot do to prepare the robot for the next launch. Once launched, the robot is autonomous and operators are limited in what they can do. For example, I cannot aim the robot or change attachments without interrupting the robot, because that is an interaction with the robot. I can have a conversation with the other operator or I can prepare equipment for the next launch (as long as this does not result in interaction with the robot). What I cannot do is position equipment in a way that it will affect the current mission. For example, I cannot position some sort of catching mechanism that will guide the robot completely into base (kind of a "reverse jig"). I think the rules allow for guides that aid the robot returning to home, but they must be in position at launch time and cannot be adjusted or aimed to better catch the robot after the robot is launched.

        I agree that this is a difficult thing to police, but there are lots of rules that are difficult to police. Being completely in base at launch, being completely in home when interrupted, being completely at rest when the robot is launched are all difficult to police once the match is started.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by is1c View Post
          It is the same as previous years, if you had a jig to launch a robot from base, and as the robot was on the field you removed the jig "to make room for the robot to return." Additionally, according to R22: "During the Match" "Don't interact with any part of the field that is not completely in Home." Therefore, anything that is completely in home can be interacted with during a match.
          I think we all agree with this. You can move stuff around that is in home, and you cannot move things around that are not in home. You can even move the robot around when it is not in home, but it is an interrupt and the robot must return to the launch area and be launched. The question is what is and is not interaction with the robot. If I move things around and it has no affect on the robot, I did not interact with the robot. If I move things around and it changes the result of the mission, did I interact? I did something that changed the outcome, is that interaction?

          The jig mention is interesting. You are allowed to remove items stranded in the launch area, but if the removal clearly/directly produces a scoring condition, the score won't count. There are no "bring it back home" type missions this year, so it is unlikely that recovering a jig will affect anyone's score, but if "home" becomes a regular part of the game, I wonder if removing jigs so the robot can return items to home will negate that score?

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Dean Hystad View Post

            The question is what is and is not interaction with the robot.
            My understand has been, and still is, that interaction is when an operator directly touches the robot, or the robot touches equipment that the operator is touching. If the operator's hands are off the equipment when the robot touches it, then there is no interaction.

            Equipment may be moved however the operators wish within home so long as the equipment doesn't extend or interact with anything that is in the mat area.


            FLL Coach 2014 -

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            • #36
              Originally posted by dreece1000 View Post

              My understand has been, and still is, that interaction is when an operator directly touches the robot, or the robot touches equipment that the operator is touching. If the operator's hands are off the equipment when the robot touches it, then there is no interaction.

              Equipment may be moved however the operators wish within home so long as the equipment doesn't extend or interact with anything that is in the mat area.
              It has never been the case that interaction required touching. If I use a flashlight and light sensor to guide the robot, that is interaction. If I use my hands and the ultrasonic sensor to guide the robot, that is interaction. If I tilt or bump the table it is interaction. Interact is not a defined FLL word, so in the absence of a definition you resort to common usage. The common definition for interact is act in such a way as to have an effect on another. That is very broad. A snow plow clearing the road does not touch the cars travelling on that road (hopefully), but it clearly has an effect on them.

              I think it unlikely a referee will take away precision points if a team snatches stored equipment out of the robot's way. Referees usually don't do that soft of thing unless clearly mandated by the rules. Where there is doubt, the team benefits. But is someone asks if the rules say it is Ok to move equipment around willy-nilly without any consideration other than the equipment must be completely in base, I think the rules do not support that assumption.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Dean Hystad View Post

                I think it unlikely a referee will take away precision points if a team snatches stored equipment out of the robot's way.
                They won't take away precision points in that case because the team isn't interacting with the robot by moving equipment out of the way.

                FLL Coach 2014 -

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                • #38
                  I think a more interesting question this season is: why the change to having a separate "home" and "launch area"?

                  I recall reading that the change to a shorter mat was driven by the need to ease some manufacturing issues. I don't know if that is accurate or not. Was the decision made first to decrease the mat size, and then the other rule changes followed as a way to utilize the extra table space?

                  I'm not complaining - just curious. I'm reserving judgement until I see the rule changes in action during the season, but at first glance, I like some of the possible effects of the rule changes.
                  1. Teams and referees don't have to deal with off-field storage. No more concern over whether a cart or a small table will be allowed right next to the competition table.
                  2. Overall, a bigger target ("Home") for robots to return to without incurring a touch penalty (loss of precision token).
                  3. Incentive for teams to use smaller robots and attachments.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by timdavid View Post
                    I think a more interesting question this season is: why the change to having a separate "home" and "launch area"?

                    I recall reading that the change to a shorter mat was driven by the need to ease some manufacturing issues. I don't know if that is accurate or not. Was the decision made first to decrease the mat size, and then the other rule changes followed as a way to utilize the extra table space?

                    I'm not complaining - just curious. I'm reserving judgement until I see the rule changes in action during the season, but at first glance, I like some of the possible effects of the rule changes.
                    1. Teams and referees don't have to deal with off-field storage. No more concern over whether a cart or a small table will be allowed right next to the competition table.
                    2. Overall, a bigger target ("Home") for robots to return to without incurring a touch penalty (loss of precision token).
                    3. Incentive for teams to use smaller robots and attachments.
                    Do big robots harm FLL in some way? Why should small robots be rewarded? They aren't difficult to build, and every FLL challenge to date can be solved using a small robot and simple attachments. Does FLL think rookie teams feel dismay seeing a huge robot scoring tons of points? My experience is that big robots generate a lot of interest at tournaments.
                    Last edited by Dean Hystad; 08-23-2019, 11:33 AM.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Dean Hystad View Post

                      Do big robots harm FLL in some way? Why should small robots be rewarded? They aren't difficult to build, and every FLL challenge to date can be solved using a small robot and simple attachments. Does FLL think rookie teams feel dismay seeing a huge robot scoring tons of points? My experience is that big robots generate a lot of interest at tournaments.
                      Some teams feel intimidated when they see other teams using an order of magnitude more LEGO parts than they have access to. Limiting the competitive advantage of the LEGO-rich teams may level the playing field slightly.

                      If an engineer can solve a problem using fewer parts, aren't they normally rewarded? Being efficient in designing solutions seems like a worthwhile goal.

                      Just speculation on my part. I don't know how the people at FIRST view this issue.

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                      • #41
                        I have seen mixed reactions to large robots (sorry for the threadjack--maybe this needs its own topic???). Indeed, many kids are thrilled when they see large robots. They generate a lot of excitement and I'd like to think the kids are inspired by them. Not necessarily inspired to build large robots, but inspired to stick around, think of other solutions, and yes, to not be afraid of building something big just because it is big.

                        On the other hand, we have also experienced some small amounts of negativity. I think some teams feel that we have some sort of competitive advantage because we built a larger robot. The truth is, all of the missions CAN be solved with smaller robots. In fact, the kit robot with very small changes can be used to solve every mission this year. I think some teams feel like they spent a lot of time on a certain mission with small amounts of success (or may no success) and when they see a large robot solve the mission, they associate the large robot with being what made that mission solvable rather than the other pertinent characteristics of the robot and programming.

                        Finally, remember that in general you only need to finish the robot game in the top half (in my region anyway) to advance. The robot game is an enabler to advance. You don't need to finish in first place. Certainly any small robot can finish in the top half of most tournaments. Don't get wrapped up over large robots are somehow bad.

                        Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
                        Norfolk, Virginia, USA
                        FLL Coach and Regional Tournament Head judge since 2014

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by dreece1000 View Post
                          If the operator's hands are off the equipment when the robot touches it, then there is no interaction.
                          I disagree there. For example, if the team puts an object in the robot's path so that the robot can begin transporting it, that's an interaction.

                          Contrast this with moving objects out of the way, so that the robot doesn't collide with them. That's preventing an interaction, not committing one.
                          FIRST LEGO League Mentor and Referee/Head Referee since 2011.

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                          • #43
                            To quickly address the last point by Skip, according to the August 8 update of the Judges FAQ on the Challenge page, this year the robot game counts as 25% of the overall score.

                            edit: Tim beat me to it in dedicated thread.
                            Last edited by jasponti; 08-24-2019, 09:43 AM.

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