[FRC Blog] 2023 Approved Devices, Rules Preview, and Vision Target Update

Posted on the FRC Blog, 11/9/2022: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/2022-2023-approved-devices-rules-preview-and-vision-target-update

2023 Approved Devices, Rules Preview, and Vision Target Update

Written by Kevin O’Connor, FIRST Robotics Competition Sr. Robotics Engineer

With Kickoff fast approaching, we are finalizing the game manual and wanted to share some details about 2023 Robot Rules that we think may help teams prepare for the season. With the exception of a couple rules about robot size and extension, all of the Robot Rules in the 2022 Game Manual are marked as “evergreen”, meaning you can expect them to stay pretty much the same year to year (so you can use the 2022 manual to help understand these changes). That doesn’t mean we will never iterate or tweak them year-to-year based on community feedback. The changes highlighted here are the ones we think are most likely to affect choices teams may make prior to Kickoff. Expect to see a few more minor changes to the Robot Rules in the 2023 Manual which will be highlighted in Team Update 0. The changes we want to highlight now include:

  • Modify R302-E, to permit teams to use items created before Kickoff if they are “functionally equivalent” to a COTS item. Functionally equivalent items are items that closely resemble a COTS item in both form and function. Functional equivalents should be made using similar materials to the COTS original.
  • Change the color requirement in R406 from requiring a white outline to requiring that the entire number must be white.
  • Modify the pool noodle specification in R408-A from “2.5 in (nominal)” to “2.5 in +/- .25 in”.
  • Add a line into the tables in R501 and R504 permitting any brushed motor linear actuator downstream of a 20A breaker and legal motor controller.
  • Add a Blue Box to R602 clarifying that COTS computing devices are intended to be devices collecting or processing sensor information and simply having a microcontroller (e.g., a “smart” flashlight) does not make a device a COTS computing device.
  • Add Snap Action AT2-A breakers to R619, values 40A and below.

Lastly, we want to share an update to this blog where we first shared our plans to introduce AprilTags to the field in 2023. Following that blog, we received feedback from community experts and conducted further testing that led to a decision to revise some of the choices regarding the AprilTag implementation. We apologize to those of you that have already gotten a jump on testing, but we believe that this modification will result in a better experience for all teams using the tags. By changing to a lower resolution tag family, teams should be able to detect the tags from further away for a given resolution and use a little less CPU doing so (or process at a higher frame rate). The trade-off is an increase in false detections, which testing has shown can be mitigated by using an appropriate minimum size and more aggressively rejecting tags with bit errors. The updated information is below:

  • Family: The 2023 playing field will use tags from the Tag36h11 Tag16h5 family. There will be no tags from any other family on the field.
  • Size: The tags will be approximately an 8 ⅛ 8 in. square. This means that the black square is 6.5 6 in. from outside to outside and should be printable by teams on any standard printer.
  • Material: The tags on the playing field will be made from matte vinyl to provide a blend of durability and resistance to glare and reflections. Based on our testing, we expect teams will be able to reliably practice with printed paper targets, but there are plans to investigate making official targets available for teams to purchase.

What a week for CD forums!


This is nice, makes it “safe” to use the dedicated PCM port without risking a single-use fuse blowing.


You love to see it.


You hate to see it.


The addition of “any brushed motor controller” from a 20A breaker will be very helpful for simple things like COTS Amazon linear actuators. Unfortunately it looks like they still have to be controlled by an approved controller, which limits the feedback options slightly.


FIRST HQ has been making a lot of great common sense changes recently.

This leads me to my next point: what other changes would we like to see? The time to start complaining is now!


Robonauts when no gold bumpers :cry:


33 in shambles


I’m not overlooking something, this blog doesn’t actually have the list of approved devices, right? I assume that means no changes other than the linear actuator thing?


This change in the AprilTag family is gonna hurt. Where 36h11 allowed for over 500 tags, 16h5 only allows for 30. I really hope they know what they’re doing here.



This is a genuine question cause I don’t know much about AprilTags - is 30 not enough for an FRC field?


This is the single best rule change I have seen FRC do in my time in the program. Thank you, HQ, for listening on this point.


I’m currently waiting for someone to confirm the diameter of our pool noodle supply. I have this nagging feeling that like 90% of pool noodles I find here on Ontario that are labeled “2.5in”, are actually 2in diameter :grimacing:


@marshall tried the 40-tag layout for RR and found it not enough.


Yeah this and no bag are probably the best rule changes I’ve seen in FRC


The ones I’ve always used are 2.25” or 2” and I’ve never had an issue with inspection when it comes to the noodles. You’re probably fine.

Edit: Yeah nevermind. I misread the thing. Scream, panic, measure those noodles.

Just because they use 16h5 this year doesn’t mean they are stuck with that standard forever. In a few years it wouldn’t surprise me if they move to 36h11 to support more tags, particularly for a placement game like deep space that could reasonably accommodate >30 tags.


That’s in prior years where they only had to be labeled as 2.5" when you bought them. Asking for clarification in past years on the Q&A confirmed this too. There never used to be a tolerance.

This is a new rule for this year, and very clearly states that a 2in noodle will be out of spec, which is quite worrying to me.