How does suction interact with the Charge Station for Charged Up?

While reading the rules, my team noticed that using suction to attach to the carpet of the field was illegal, there was no mention of the use of suction to attach to the Charge Station. Does anyone have a definite answer to whether we can use suction to attach our robot to the Charge Station?

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Is the Charge Station a game piece?

If no, I refer to G301-C.

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An excellent question, one might ask!

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The main concern was that even though that it is a subsection under Field, it wasn’t explicitly named a field, although opinions are divided.

G301 applies to all parts of the FIELD, including named field elements like the CHARGE STATION. For using suction to climb the CHARGE STATION, you would need to confirm that that suction is not “attaching to” that part of the field. (Not likely imo)

Regardless of the actual ruling.

Having done suction to attach to a field element in years past I will just advise you to save the energy. There is a lot more space his year than the L3 Hab of 2019.

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So the changing station is listed separate from the 5.8 Game Pieces section. And G301 only excludes game pieces. I think the safer assumption would be that it’s not allowed but that might be a question worth asking in the Q&A if you’re considering it

A main consideration for me would not just be space, but rather time. If a team is able to climb off the side, it may allow for a greater space for teams to adjust the position of their robots in order to access the “engaged” Charge Station points. I feel that the real problem is not so much fitting robots onto the Charge Station, but rather allowing room for one or more robots to adjust their positions in hopes of engaging.

One consideration is that the rules specifically mention “the use of a vacuum or hook fastener to anchor to the FIELD carpet”, so it may be worth clarifying this if anybody asks a question as well.

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The 2019 rule specifically excluded game pieces AND the Hab platform from illegal attachment. Given that this year’s rule only excludes game pieces, I would suspect you cannot attach to the charge station in any way.

But a Q&A would probably be best.

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I would say that this is meant as an example, not as the only.

Here’s the rule in question, with some notes from me:

ROBOTS and OPERATOR CONSOLES are prohibited from the following actions with regards to interaction with ARENA elements. Items A-D exclude GAME PIECES.

Essentially: Anything in this list is prohibited, UNLESS you do it to a Game Piece (and Game Piece is defined as Cones and Cubes) for specific line items. It should be noted that on occasion, this rule does not apply to certain elements of the field (e.g., the Hangar or the Hab); this year this rule applies to everything except acquiring game pieces.

A. grabbing,
B. grasping,

Kind of hard to grab or grasp carpet or Charge Station–but it can be done. Some of us still recall 2012 and 118… Regardless, it’s prohibited unless you do it to a Game Piece.

C. attaching to (including the use of a vacuum or hook fastener to anchor to the FIELD carpet and excluding use of the DRIVER STATION hook-and-loop tape, plugging in to the provided power outlet, and plugging the provided Ethernet cable into the OPERATOR CONSOLE),

Here’s the one I need to break down. I apologize for using grammar.

The first two words are “attaching to”. That’s it, that’s what the rule says. The entire rest of the statement here is a parenthetical–it’s an aside, not necessary–could probably even be a blue box.

It specifically includes the use of vacuum or hook fasteners to the field carpet. This is because of some “incidents” in the past. At least one team has proposed using a massive fan to pull themselves down toward the field; at least one team has been known to velcro themselves to the field (or equivalent–if you need that history lesson, PM me).

It then specifically excludes certain things that could be seen as violations from the Operator Console, but that are actually required (potentially) or recommended.

To rewrite the rule for clarity: “Attach to, except as required for normal operation or safety of the Operator Console. Use of Velcro or vacuum on the Field Carpet counts as ‘attaching to’ it.”

D. deforming,

I seriously hope no robot deforms the Charge Station (besides the designed adjustments). If they do, they’re either too heavy or someone on the GDC is going to be answering a few questions.

E. becoming entangled with,
F. suspending from, and
G. damaging.

These three are not particularly relevant to the question… unless your hypothetical suction cup damages the field.

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It depends on how you parse it. Since English does not follow an and/or precedence like math/logic does, it could mean

((including the use of a vacuum) or (hook fastener to anchor to the FIELD carpet)) and
(excluding use of the DRIVER STATION hook-and-loop tape, plugging in to the provided power outlet, and plugging the provided Ethernet cable into the OPERATOR CONSOLE)

Or it could be

(including (the use of a vacuum or hook fastener to anchor to the FIELD carpet)
and
(excluding use of the DRIVER STATION hook-and-loop tape, plugging in to the provided power outlet, and plugging the provided Ethernet cable into the OPERATOR CONSOLE)

Given that in prior years they specifically named the Rungs and the Hab as exclusions to the prohibition on attaching, my best guess is that the first interpretation is meant. Feel free to ask Q&A which one they meant.

FYI. Q&A Q7 has answered this question. Using a suction cup/pad/vacuum to attach to the charging station is a violation of G301 C. (At least that is how I read it.)

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