Anti-limelight glasses for drive team?

As much as I love the LimeLight, the dang thing is super bright when the LEDs are on. Combined with the fact that your goal is next to your opponent’s driver stations and some teams may have the range to need to aim at long distances and for most of the match, I foresee it being annoying to drivers on a regular enough occasion that some countermeasures might be wise (more than just going to the ref and calling R8.m when your eyes start bleeding).

Is there a set of laser goggles or similar that would filter out the Limelight LEDs while leaving decent visibility for the rest of the environment (particularly not blocking red/blue so much that you can’t tell the teams apart)?


Someone who knows the rule numbers (hey again @EricH) will tell you:
a) It is illegal to blind the other drivers so you shouldn’t really need this
b) You need to wear safety glasses and there are rules about this which you should read up on.


Actually, I think he has a valid concern. The blue box under R8 states:

m. High intensity light sources used on the ROBOT (e.g. super bright LED sources marketed as ‘military grade’ or ‘self-defense’) may only be illuminated for a brief time while targeting and may need to be shrouded to prevent any exposure to participants. Complaints about the use of such light sources will be followed by reinspection and possible disablement of the device.

Devices like the Limelight are extremely bright. Even if only turned on “for a brief time while targeting”, that’s a period of time during which it’s pointed almost straight at the opposing drive teams.

Volunteers are going to be stuck in the middle on this one. Drive team’s on one side complaining that they’re getting blinded (The Limelight DOES leave spots in your vision when you look at it from the distance drive teams will be), with drive teams on the other waving the rules around and saying they only turn it on when they’re lining up their shot so it’s not a problem. I’m not looking forward to it, especially since vision tracking can be done just as well with much less intense lights.


a) I know the rules and their numbers, hence why I called out R8.m

R8. ROBOT parts shall not be made from hazardous materials, be unsafe, cause an unsafe condition, or interfere with the operation of other ROBOTS.

m. High intensity light sources used on the ROBOT (e.g. super bright LED sources
marketed as ‘military grade’ or ‘self-defense’) may only be illuminated for a brief time
while targeting and may need to be shrouded to prevent any exposure to
participants. Complaints about the use of such light sources will be followed by reinspection and possible disablement of the device.

A robot whose turret can shoot from 2/3 the field could probably reasonably be aiming most of the entire match. Even if it’s only a quarter second (“a brief time”) every time they fire a ball, it will probably be very annoying, although probably not illegal. There will almost certainly be some grey area on “how bright is too bright” and "low long is “brief”.

b) There is nothing preventing you from wearing extra PPE, like for instance a X-Wing pilot styled colored visor/helmet that would block the LightLight light


Yeah it’s bright. But any ref who defines “brief time while targeting” as enough to “blind” or cause eyes to start “bleeding” is not doing the right thing.

This isn’t a difficult call. One second of super bright light isn’t going to permanently damage your eyes. It’s an annoyance, like when you’re in a room with the lights off and suddenly they turn on.

Don’t know about the specific thing you mentioned but you can’t wear shaded safety glasses, for example.

Feel free to disagree with me but this seems like an extreme reaction to a minor problem. Limelights are annoying. And I wish the rule was different. But since it’s not, let’s put up with the annoyance. Unless anyone has suffered some eye damage I don’t know about causing them to go “blind” or “bleed” like was mentioned above.

I’m by no means an expert, but I would question whether this is true from 25-30 feet away where a lot of teams will be shooting from.


The safety manual states:

To prevent injury, all individuals in the pit area, the practice field area and the arena must wear safety glasses or protective eyewear that is ANSI-approved, UL-Listed, CE EN166 rated, AS/NZS certified or CSA rated. If glasses are tinted, only lightly tinted yellow, rose, blue, and amber tints are FIRST approved. Reflective lenses are prohibited; your eyes must be clearly visible to others.

The part I emphasized is the problem with anything you might wear - if your eyes must be clearly visible to others, it makes the job of shading them from bright light significantly harder.

Seriously, that’s the bar you want to set here? Walking away from the field seeing spots is a safety concern, even if only short term. It impedes your vision and presents a hazard for running into things and tripping.

The rule doesn’t say anything about eye damage. In fact, it specifies that “Complaints about the use of such light sources will be followed by reinspection and possible disablement of the device.”

I’ve seen good vision data using a much less powerful ring light from a full field distance, back in 2013 when full field shooting of Frisbee’s were happening.


[quote=“jaredhk, post:5, topic:371265”]
but you can’t wear shaded safety glasses, for example.
[/quote] You should know this one… what color of safety glasses do I usually wear?

See Jon’s quote of the safety manual. Eyes need to be visible.

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Best way to deal with a brightness issue is to bring it to the question box during practice day.

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I was a human player for a team that used limelight last year and the brightness initially caught me off guard but it wasn’t an issue for me. I suspect it will be the same this year. Also the lights are usually not that much brighter than field lighting its just pointed at a different direction so just don’t look directly at it and you will be fine.


If only there were a tinted 3M product that FIRST could apply to the driver station window if this is a problem…


From the limelight post:

The LED board has been completely redesigned to:

  • Significantly increase efficiency and reduce heat generation
  • Eliminate the LED “warm-up” period.
  • Enable LED dimming.

The LEDs can be dimmed to a lower level if the brightness isn’t necessary.


532nm laser safety glasses would do fine and look amber. They’d probably be tough enough to count as safety glasses too but no idea if you’ll find any with applicable approval/certification.

This is certainly true is some situations, but some event crews feel the need to place full spectrum lighting in the most irritating locations (directly behind goals, random corners, etc), and I’ve never seen anything come of requesting they be turned off. There’s usually nothing to do other than crank up the LED brightness and mess with camera settings; even then things are still icky.

2013 was also a much wider target in all respects.

Try getting a pair of those 3-D glasses for Real-D movies. Those work by having “comb” filters which block specific frequencies (colors) of light, with different filters on the left and right. There’s a chance that either the left or right lens will serve as a limelight blocker.

As a driver who’s had many limelight’s flashed in my face by scoring robots during deep space, I honestly don’t even notice it anymore. I doubt it’ll be that much of an issue that it requires special glasses, even with the increased brightness. Drive team is usually too focused on their own robots anyway to focus on an opponents limelight.


IMO, it’s going to depend a lot on location of the robots using them, and orientation of the Limelights in question. If the teams are lining up for the Loading Station with a low Limelight, there’s actually a pretty good chance they’ll be OK. If they’re going for the Power Port with a high Limelight, that’s going to be a bit more entertaining…

I really like that someone at Limelight figured out the whole “don’t blind people around the field” and made that more than just an on-off. Thumbs up to those folks.

I don’t necessarily recommend the question box–this is an INSPECTION fix–but a word to the refs before the first practice match you’re in would probably result in you getting some extra eyeballs checking to see if you’re OK or need to think about a few things. If during the practice matches you notice someone who’s at a really bad angle/brightness, that’s when you go to either the Question Box or the Inspection Station and mention it. But the LRI will get the short straw on “help this team be legal”, 90% of the time.

Though impractical, you could probably get away with shielding your drivers by including some sort of large sheet material that you could include as your operating console that blocks that the light. Not necessarily a good idea, but a thought.


Blocking your drivers’ visibility… to save their vision. 2/10 for practicality. 8/10 for annoyed everybody else.


I haven’t read the thread, but that LED dimming is awesome! We had to cover half the LEDs very early into last season with black tape because of a safety concern.