"Distracting" noisemakers on robots

Rule R203, states “speakers, sirens, air horns, or other audio devices that generate sound at a level sufficient to be a distraction” are not allowed, but does anyone have experience with what qualifies as distracting? We had a fun idea to have our robot say its name whenever it scored and were wondering if others have used speakers on robots and what reception has been like. We feel like a Q&A wouldn’t help as this is too specific of a scenario, and headquarters doesn’t often rule on such cases.

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That sounds fun. My concern would be that it would have to be loud to be able to be heard and could startle your alliance partners if they were concentrating on their own robot.

I wouldn’t run the risk of having an opposing alliance say “that distracted me”, but your mileage may vary.


You can’t hear pretty much anything through the polycarbonate–sound travels at 2270 m/s through it, so it has an acoustic critical angle of about 8.7 degrees–which means it’s an extremely efficient reflector of sound, except that it’s also got a high acoustic impedance and attenuation, so it absorbs the sound and turns it into thermal energy very efficiently as well. It’s great at blocking sound.

So aside from demos, this would be either unnoticeable or illegally loud per R203.


It also fails the ‘what would happen if everyone tried to do this’ test.


It’s called out in R203, as you mentioned above, but there does not appear to be any consequence associated with that rule. Furthermore, there is no mention of sound-making devices in the Inspection Checklist (not even under Volume :grin:).
I say let 'er rip, and I’ll warn my teammates to bring earplugs to Princeton!

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Agreed. It’s an awesome idea for demos, a pointless or worse idea for competitions.
Especially if you named your robot “Kill All Humans” :wink:


It also makes me wonder about doing this for more practical purposes. Having a robot say “Flywheel at 4000 rpm” when a shooter is up to speed or “High Cone” when an elevator reaches the appropriate position could be a more convenient way to system check or demonstrate for judges in your pits. For these purposes, it would only have to be as loud as a human voice (but I’ve definitely experienced very distracting humans, lol).


From the Mechanical section of the inspection checklist

No Prohibited Materials – e.g. sound, lasers (other than class 1), flammable gases, or untreated hazardous materials (R203)


Could you have the sound output go from the driver station to headphones wore by your drive team?

Also, can someone look into the legality of putting 100 dog squeakers behind your bumpers?

Asking for a friend.

And that friend is you Andy!! Yayyy, friendship! :rainbow: :sparkles:


Don’t forget the “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” when it is unable to perform the given command.


Audible warning halfway through the endgame period: “You have 15 seconds to comply!!!”

The consequence is the same for violating any R rule - you don’t pass inspection until you fix the issue and pass.

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So it’s the old LRI-a-roo

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