Catching game pieces from the single substation

Are robots allowed to “catch” game elements that are sliding down the single substation, or must they touch the ground prior to being interacted with? Are you allowed to breach the plane that the game pieces are coming out of?

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I see no reason why robots couldn’t directly catch a game piece from the single substation, while mid air or otherwise. As for entering the plane (Portal) that they are dropped from note G102, “ROBOTS, stay on the FIELD during the MATCH. ROBOTS and anything they control, e.g. GAME
PIECES, may not contact anything outside the FIELD except for MOMENTARY incursions into
PORTALS.” Momentary being under 3 seconds.

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Are those “portals” the chutes of the substation? Or am I misinterpreting something. Basically I’m wondering if our arm could go into that chute to avoid congestion at the double substation, and avoid picking up from the ground.


Yeah, the portal is up to the plane with the field (in blue). Your arm could reach up there, but it would have to be under three seconds to avoid a penalty and I’m unsure if the FTA would like it much.

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Team update 06

Please take a look at the new rule H506. I think it answers your question.

H506 DRIVE TEAMS, avoid ROBOTS. A DRIVE TEAM member may neither
A. extend any body part into a PORTAL while any part of a ROBOT is in that PORTAL nor
B. contact a GAME PIECE in contact with a ROBOT.
Violation: Verbal warning. If subsequent violations at any point during the event, YELLOW CARD

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You’re actually looking for G102.

G102 *ROBOTS, stay on the FIELD during the MATCH. ROBOTS and anything they control, e.g. GAME PIECES, may not contact anything outside the FIELD except for MOMENTARY incursions into PORTALS.
Violation: DISABLED.

Edited to add: There’s no particular rule saying that robots can’t catch Game Pieces falling, in either single or double substation. As noted, extending into the Portals can create some issues–though if you just had something sticking into the Portal and not contacting anything that currently appears to be legal, due to G102 governing contact outside the Field rather than extension outside the Field. Also as noted, sticking your hand into a Portal with the robot in there will cause you a different set of issues (H506), as will sticking your hand in for more than about 3 seconds (H505).

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I don’t think that applies the same way for the portals, I’ve looked at this portion of the rules a lot. The portals are explicitly defined as the entire volume not just the surfaces, so contacting the volume includes the air space inside the volume. However this is something that could be Q&Aed.

I’d probably go with “should be” Q&Aed myself. “Contact” usually doesn’t include air or there’d be a few more disabled robots every year…

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I believe that if HQ only meant contact to be penalized with the portal surfaces than G102 would read “momentary contact with the portals” and not “incursions into PORTALS”. Incursions implies to me that the volume is off limits.

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I don’t trust “what HQ meant” unless there’s no other way to figure out what the right call is. Experience.

“Robots may not contact anything outside the field.” Simple enough–if the robot hits something (ref tablet, ref, resetter, floor, scoring table), disable the robot. If the robot hits air outside the field, does it get disabled? No. (I mean, unless you’ve seen that happen…)
“Except for momentary incursions into Portals”. Portals are a volume defined by surfaces. Parts I think we agree on:
–Contact with any surface of the Portal is an incursion, 3-second limit before you’re disabled.
–Being in the Portal for under 3 seconds, no penalty regardless of whether or not it’s an incursion. (Ditto for Humans, H505.)
–Human reaching in while the robot is in there or vice-versa, regardless of time, has you warned by the HR and carded if you do it again after that (H506).

Where we disagree: Being in the volume of the Portal counts as an Incursion and Contact. I’m not seeing the “contact” part (air being presumably the only thing in there), and therefore not seeing the incursion. I do see where you’re coming from, but I counter with G302’s “robot may not intersect the infinite vertical volume” as an example of what the GDC would have written had they meant the entire volume of the portal to be off-limits for >momentary.

I suspect the way to ask the question would be “For the purposes of G302, would a robot with an extension inside a Portal for > 3 seconds be considered in violation if no surface of the Portal were contacted?”. Or something similar.

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Yes, you can make a design like this:

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That’s beautiful!

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