IR Legalality in '08 Season

Do you think that it is within the realm of the rules to start developing software and to start designing stuff (circuits, hardware, etc.) based on this small hint? Although there is no real way of getting caught, is it against the spirit of FIRST? Why? But they gave us the board early isn’t that a sign? But the rules say otherwise? …


i think that early development/prototyping is entirely within the spirit of FIRST, so long as the component’s actual use is in line with the rules, when released. To me, it’s no different than developing new drive trains off season.

Is there really a difference between developing for this and developing/improving a drive system or perfecting the camera? I wouldn’t have a problem with this, but thats just me.

Ahh, let me think about this for a minute. You ask is it “against the spirit of FIRST” to start designing before Kick Off.

Ahh, yes.

My thought is, you are not only violating the “build only during build season” rule, you are doing something of which your grandmother would not be proud of, and on a smaller scale, you’re probably wasting your time and energy on designing something that you do not have the full set of specs for yet.

My .02. Any others?

Technically the code you write to prototype with the camera or IR sensor is not allowed to be directly used on the robot. You’re not supposed to copy/paste the code.

That said, usually they change the game year to year that some sort of change is needed to get it all working anyways.

According to LAST YEAR’s rules, you couldn’t do any detail work. You could do high-level work.

Right now, all teams can really do is play with it. We don’t know what we’re to do with it, so we can’t do any detail work. What you start working on now could be rendered useless on January 5.

Could you start? Yes. Is it legal? By the most recent rules, no. By this year’s, nobody knows (except the GDC, and they aren’t talking). Is it smart? Possibly. Quite probably, though, any work you do now will wind up as practice only. (For example, it could be a field element after all.)

The rules say you can’t work on stuff for the bot. That doesn’t mean you can’t play around with FIRST related materials.

If/when our team gets their IR doo-hickey, I’d love to play around with it to see what it can do. Does that mean that I’ll use any of that code on the bot for next year? No Way.


i meant, more specifically, that teams can develop software and hardware for the sensor in accordance with last season’s rules dealing with pre-season prototyping. (No fully dimensioned drawings, no direct transfer of code, etc.)

If the rules have changed concerning early prototypes, then, obviously, teams must conform to the new rules by discarding their prototypes/designs and start from scratch. I think that early development of the sensor is o.k., so long as teams use their early development in accordance with the associated new rules.

I would think you could work on the IR reciever because FIRST did send it to us.

Also since there are no rules for the '08 season yet, there are no rules against starting to work on parts. Of course this is the very oposite of the spirit of FIRST, I’m just saying ‘techinically’ there are no rules yet.

His grandmother wouldn’t be proud?

I’d say, go ahead and develop and design; even if the rules are like '07 and you can’t directly use what you designed, you will have gained valuable experience with the board.

While, you are correct, that as of right now, there are no rules, the rules will most likely state something to the effect of “<R1337> If you built it before Kickoff, it is not allowed on the ROBOT.”

Of course, I’m no GDC member, so I can’t say for sure, but if they suddenly lifted all restrictions on when you could build, well, I’d eat my shoe.

There are no rules against it. You can go ahead and start, but don’t complain if the 2008 FRC rules do not allow you to use what you designed.

I would make no assumptions regarding the upcoming rules manual or game. I would have fun, play with the ‘gift’ that has been given and opened, and use some common sense (I know, a rare commodity during the hint season but hey…).

Under previous incarnations of the rules, you can think about it, you can rough-design it, you can prototype it, you can attempt to program it. You just can’t use any of that work on the competition robot. Your thinking after Jan 5 may be very different from today, or it may be very similar. But that doesn’t mean you stop thinking now, or you can’t use any shop tools.

The complexity level on the side of the user (programmer interfacing with the RC) is so simple that I don’t think it would matter either way. I mean, lets face it, you teach an IR code, you hit the button, the pin goes high as long as the button is down. Bada bing, bada boom.

What were you planning on prototyping? You could easily emulate the output of the IR reciever with a bank of four switches and avoid any possible guilt/red tape.


I has seemed to me that it is always in the spirit of FIRST to plan, prototype, “tinker” if you will, during the “off-season.” Just remember that if you create a really awesome custom circuit it will probably have to be tweaked and almost definitely have to be rebuilt in order to use it in competition. I doubt FIRST sent this to us with the intention of its use as a piece of decorative desktop art–plan, design, and come up with a million and one creative uses–but wait to build your competition plan until after the 5th.

They gave it to you so you can become familiar with its workings. That way you cannot complain that FIRST gave us the hardware so late so we could not use it. I am not sure how you are supposed to design something when you have no idea what the game is going to be. Putting down ideas is never against FIRST rules or spirit.