Infared in Next Year's Game

I hope they use IR next year - I was put off by it at first, didnt want to mess with interrupts while I was learning C at the same time

but when I realized you can use the IR beacons just by polling the interrupt flag bits, and you dont have to enable any interrupts, it was a walk in the park

they worked great for us - I just wish we had put the sensors on servos so we could track the beacons, instead of using fixed direction sensors.

Next year? Definately! bring it on!


When I heard the quote, I first took it to mean just that autonomous mode would be much more of a necessity next year.

Geez, I mis-read your original post. Eating a hat is more palatable than a skanky sock anyday (though the nylon portion can be a tad chewy). Suddenly, this isn’t as much fun as I envisioned :).


I agree with most people. I have a feeling that it will be there, and if you use it, and it works right, your life will be easier, but I don’t think it will be mandatory. Though at one point at the UTC regional, a judge came to our pit and made us promise we’d make one of our younger students learn IR for next year. So you never know.

I’ve heard that there were problems with the infrared reflecting off the diamond plate. Might be an unseen problem by FIRST.

Well, we know this much at least. Autonomous is here to stay. Which is fine. However, if the game is ever made entirely autonomous, with no drivers, I think that would take a LOT of the excitement out of the game. I hope that never happens. There has to be a human brain or four on the other side doing something.

Also, it seems that Dave WANTS IR to be mandatory. Which I don’t think is a bad thing. Also, we can guess that next year, there will be some sort of non-stationary, or non-predictable element in autonomous, thus maing some sort of tracking system (like IR) necessary for all teams.

And if that’s the case, IR won’t be mandatory, but it will probably be the best solution.

Alrighty, here’s my thought which seems like no one else has mentioned here, so this may hurt your brain a tad bit.

Imagine a “scoring object” that is wired up wtih an IR beacon emitting different codes. THere will be multiple “scoring objects” on the field at any given time, with different codes assigned to each one. Only certain codes will be worth points. SO let’s say that “scoring object 1” has a 101 code while “scoring object 2” has a 110 code. Visually, you’d never be able to interpret which “scoring object” is which. BUT, using LED feedback on the driver’s interface (wow, forcing drivers to use feedback, interesting…), and IR sensors on the robot, drivers could figure out which “scoring objects” were worth points.

Whaddyall think? I think it’d be really fun, and leave that extra bit of excitment in the crowd as they wouldnt know who won the match until the “Scoring object” codes were revealed.

That was the partial intent on my post about dave’s other hint thread:

IR is here to stay. Notice FIRST’s pattern: bring in something new and make it easy, then make it harder. They did the same thing with alliances. THe first year it wasn’t so bad. Then it got harder. Same thing with last year - no set requirements for autonomous. All you had to do was either go straight forward or do a 180-degree arc. This year, you had to find a 12" ball on the side of the field by going through a relatively narrow space and hit the ball off of a T surrounded on 3 sides (left, right, and top) by walls, as well as placing an opponent ball next to it so almost any inaccuracy would favor the opponent. I reckon (pardon the pun…heh) that they will do a similar thing with IR. THis year it was not necessary. There were other ways. Next year, I’m betting it will be a bigger part of the game, possibly even required. Like autonomous last year was not required. This year, you were penalized for not using it. Look for IR to become a bigger part of the game. I just hope they don’t use jimmy’s scenario (post#27)

I say that because from what i have seen so far, FIRST does what it can to mimic real life engineering situations, and in general, aribtirary rules are not placed on problems like “you must use this approach to solve it”. The one plausible idea is something like the one suggested before that FIRST might put IR beacons on objects that are otherwise unidentifiable, but personally, i think this is unlikely for the same reason i stated before.

and in general, aribtirary rules are not placed on problems

Well geez, arbitrary rules placed on problems is a staple of mathematics! (I say this just getting home from a Linear Algebra class … so forgive me if my mind is on math, but I just got through solving one such arbitrary problem.)

And, if you think about it, engineering too … the rules aren’t too “arbitrary,” though, so long as they make you learn something new and delve into unfamiliar territory (a good thing). E.g., we’re limited to 130 lbs., we must only use certain motors and in certain quantities … etc. These are called constraints – and mathematics, as well as engineering is full of them! Using IR sensors could very well just be another constraint.

Fair enough. I dont think there should be no constraints, but the other constraints are a little more realistic in my opinion. They seem more like real ones, and they often have practical reasons in our case, they dont just mimic practical constraints :slight_smile: Like the weight limit is what two students can probably carry and the size limit is less than a wide door. I guess its mostly my opinion as i can’t put it into words, but i think that forcing the use of a sensor is unrealistic.

they force us to use:
the RC system
the battery
the main breaker
the smaller breakers
the C programming language
the OI
the same motors
the RF link

if they somehow forced us to use the IR sensors and beacons next year to play the game, its nothing they havent been doing for years.

pracitcal reasons for everything on the list, safety, money, fairness… maybe there is one you can use to argue for the IR sensors, fairness…

yes, the object of the game

this year the object of the game was to hit or pickup small balls, place large balls ,and hang on a bar

they could easily make the object of the game be to find an object that is emitting an IR signal - maybe only a few out of many emit the IR

its would be an interesting challenge because IR is invisable to humans, so you could not fall back on having your driver make the selection based on what he sees on the field

I think it would be fun.

I agree with you completely. Though it would make the game a little more interesting to have an element of IR or something of the sort required, it’s just not in the FIRST spirit to make it mandatory that you do things a certain way, is it? I=Inspiration (or improvisation, depending on who you ask), and you don’t get inspiration from someone telling you what you must use on your creation. Right?

I think it would add a completely new dimension to the game.

I would love to have objects that are IR-tagged and invisible to the driver between the right objects and wrong objects. The only problem I see is it could make the game extremely boring to an audience. Did they score or not? So I don’t see that happening unless they have some way for the audience to know the right ones (think about tv game shows where the tv audience can see the price and they are yelling at the moron on tv who isn’t even close…I watch too much Price is Right…lol.) Now that could be cool but I don’t see how it would work.

The one thing FIRST would have to do is offer multiple scoring options (non-ir) or have code and general instructions to get IR working and have it finished before kickoff so their IRbots can battle it out to show us the game. No more volunteers on bikes or ditching non working robots to have the humans play. If FIRST can’t get it right how could they expect the teams to.

they could play in total darkness, and give everyone in the audience night vision goggles :^)

Yes but I don’t know if I trust the live audience. There would be a lot of signaling to teams. Or at least yelling out, “yes” “no” “left” “right”. I guess it could be like the price is right except the audience knows the answer.

I guarentee you this will not be the case since it is fairly easy to see infared using a camera. They would have to randomly change the feild every single time or else there is no challenge.