Bumpers and Climbing?

Hello everyone.

I know that your bumpers need to be between 2 and 10 inches off the ground, but when you climb the pyramid, are you allowed to “rotate” your bumpers around your frame?

Meaning, if your bumpers are facing straight out and you rotate them till they are face up on top of your frame – is this legal? I ask because my team is trying to think of ways to approach the pyramid without the bumpers contacting it.


I do believe that that would be articulating bumpers. I also note that R26 specifically bans articulated bumpers.

You might try an over-the-bumper reacher, using the 54" volume cylinder.

If you are asking if your bumpers have to remain level as you climb, the answer is no. You could rotate your whole robot, bumpers included, around some point in space.

But if you want your bumpers to move in relation to the rest of your robot, no, you can’t do that. Your bumpers are attached to your FRAME PERIMETER, and that must be fixed. It cannot articulate or move.

Why not just have a break in your bumpers? You have to have 8in coverage on external corners, but they don’t have to be closed sides

The rules don’t exactly specify when the frame perimeter is defined—although T07 could be read to mean that R02 is in force continually. What is specified (in G05) is that when placed on the field, the robot must be in starting configuration with a legal frame perimeter. Assuming therefore, that the frame perimeter is defined relative to the “fixed, non-articulated structural elements” that comprise it at the start of the match, and thereafter remains fixed relative to those components, you would be able to move your bumpers in relation to almost the whole robot. (So far, the Q&As don’t seem to rule this out.)

All you’d need would be a frame that satisfies the frame perimeter rule, to which the bumpers were fixed, and a subframe to hold everything else. Articulate the subframe relative to the frame. How can that be legal? Because if the frame perimeter were dynamically defined at all times during the match (to satisfy T07 and R02 strictly), the results would be incredibly perverse—especially for climbing robots. (Looks like someone else had the same idea, and just asked the Q&A about this—but absent a rule change, I don’t think FIRST can credibly deviate from this interpretation.)

(To fix this, in addition to clarifying the definitions, FIRST could waive some clauses of some rules when a robot is not in contact with the field carpet. They would be well advised to carefully choose what to waive, for fear of unintended consequences.)