So the cycle time for this challenge will probably be limited by how quickly the teams can get the balls back to the robot (and probably not how quickly the robot can move on the field).
If you hand carry the balls back to the re-introduction zone, this return might be fairly slow. I know that the rules allow you to run, but collecting the balls from behind the goal and then running back to the re-introduction zone will take some time.
An alternative would be to have the balls returned to the field by some sort of chute system next to the power port tower so that the robot could just pick them up with an intake. The rules do not seem to preclude this. The chute system could even have a hopper with a “feeder” device that would stack up the balls and then feed them to the robot when the robot pushes a bar or something that releases the balls.
So, the real challenge here might be to design a clever ball return system…
I have a feeling that any strat like this that funnels the balls back to field in the Shooting Zone would be a disallowed due to the rule against creating a feedback loop. This would make a good Q&A question.
There are no explicit rules against creating a feedback loop, the rule says, “Teams should not use this allowance to attempt to create a “loop” with minimal ROBOT movement.” Two things are important there, “should not” and “this allowance”. “Should not” does not mean cannot, this rule is pretty weak. A team that is shooting from the far edge of the shooting zone and getting balls from the reintroduction zone is creating the shortest loop possible, but they are still within the rules, and have to move 15ft, which is a decent sprint on a field this size. The second important part is “This allowance” meaning the section right before that quote in the blue box after PPC6 which says “Use of a LOADING BAY (or LOADING BAY mockup) is recommended to minimize risk of human injury by a POWER CELL receiving ROBOT.” The no feedback loop rule (suggestion) is meant specifically for a robot getting balls from the reintroduction zone, it has no impact on the power port or any custom ball return system. Though I would agree its probably a good question for the Q&A, I expect they want to make a custom return system illegal. I think the best way FIRST could prevent a custom ball return system would be to make a rule that says the power port you use must exactly fit the specifications of the homemade power port from the 2020 season, or a competition power port.
Of course if you use the 2D goal and have a consistent shooter, the balls would tend to land in a very consistent area of the field allowing you to quickly intake them and shoot again. If you found the spot where the balls would rebound to the location where you were shooting, you would have pretty close to this loop as well…
I’m having flashbacks to the Q&A for the FTC “Velocity Vortex Game” where the obvious strategy of deploying a net to gather the balls as they dropped out of the bottom of the goal was explicitly disallowed by the GDC in the Q&A about 5 weeks into the season.
Ha, if you honestly think kids are going to just casually walk balls back to their loading zone, you didn’t see the hours of athletics training kids put into figuring out how to throw pool noodles 40+ feet.
I expect to see full field throws, possible into a net of some sort if not specifically disallowed.
I only see this being a thing if teams can get the balls to land into a corner of the field. Otherwise, I don’t see the consistence being there. Even if the consistence is perfect, you have to worry about the balls hitting themselves on the ground. I don’t see that being very viable.
Even if you can build a shooter that is super consistent, you have to shoot slow enough on a 2d goal that balls don’t hit each other in mid air. Maybe not a huge thing, but something to consider.
I see the 3d goal being a better option for those who have it. Creating a consistent cycle out of a loading goal makes a lot more sense than the time it will take to try to perfect a shooter. Someone will figure out how to create the cycle in the 2d goal, but it will be 2 or 3 teams, not hundreds.
Have you ever tried juggling? It’s all about proper timing.
The perfect loop could pretty easily be had with no fancy controls other than tuning the timing since you can start from anywhere.
Ball 1 falls directly into the hopper basket
Ball 2 is starting through the launcher
Ball 3 with backspin is hitting the 2D goal and about to fall into the basket to replace ball 1
The way (exciting) teams worked last year was to line up then unload 5 balls as quickly as possible. That won’t work here since they’ll hit each other once they score. But since you’re limited to 3 anyways, you can space them out appropriately. The limiting factor would be air time from the launcher to the goal to the rebound catch.
Heck, try it out with a human player and two balls. Watch them “juggle” against a wall. It’s not hard to consistently hit the same spot and keep a good rhythm with a only a little practice.
This sounds exactly like what they’re telling you not to do in the blue box under PPC6 that says “Teams should not use this allowance to attempt to create a “loop” with minimal ROBOT movement.”
And for those that have forgotten, they outline exactly what blue boxes are for in this manual.
Warnings, cautions and notes appear in blue boxes. Pay close attention to their
contents as they’re intended to provide insight into the reasoning behind a rule,
helpful information on understanding or interpreting a rule, and/or possible “best
practices” for use when implementing systems affected by a rule.
It expressly says later that rules supersede boxes incase they conflict each other, but that does not seem to apply to this case. So they will be interpreting PPC6 to rule feedback loops with human players involved that causes the robot to basically stand still illegal.
Boom, nailed it. Our hopper could already accept from the feeder station previously. Just need to practice to find the sweet spot in front of a 2D goal to go the same thing.
I mentioned in another thread, that unless the GDC lays out what minimum movement is (and we talked examples of how to do so further down in the same thread) we could just stay in one spot and then take a jitter step right at the end to “comply” with minimal movement.
We’ll take it, but in the end I’m hoping the GDC makes it so it’s not a viable option.
Latest team update had this bit in the beginning from Frank.
More than in any other year, we are asking you to do your best to follow the spirit of the rules. If you compete in the INFINITE RECHARGE at Home skills competition, no referees will be watching. While we won’t be defining every possible situation that is outside the spirit of the rules, the best advice we can give is for you to, as Woodie used to say, “behave in a way that would make your grandmother proud.”