We just completed the SBPLI Regional and it was great. Had it not been for one disturbing event, it would have been awesome. Very briefly, here’s what occurred.

On Thursday during pit day we were besieged with inspectors (at least 5) wanting to see our mouse’s tether. They said that other teams were complaining that it was an entangling threat. I thought that to be ironic since the mouse itself could easily drive over it with no problem. We took it in stride and were granted permission to proceed.

It is a 6 lb, 6 ft./sec. agile mouse with a 42’ tether. During 9 of the 10 matches we used it and kept it out of all other robots’ way. We went end zone to end zone several times. In our last qualifying round however, we accidentally released it too early and couldn’t rehouse it. To keep it out of the way we ran it into our opponent’s end zone and rested it against their wall. Soon after, one of their teams drove a goal out of scoring position and ran it into the mouse, crushing it. Had it been to merely move the goal out of scoring position I could have accepted the consequences. But the team kept pushing the 180 lb. goal against the 6 lb. mouse to ensure its demise. After the round the refs. refused to DQ the intentional action even after a crewmember said that he clearly heard the operators laughing that they finally “Crushed that little thing”. He said that he couldn’t know their what their intention was and that they might not have been able to see what was happening. They kept pushing the robot into the wall, AND it was against the wall right in front of them!!! Not to mention on the big screen at the time for all to see (across the field from them so they could see it).

Okay, I’ll accept that, after all we have to make it robust enough (I defy someone to crush the one we’ll have in the Nats.) What is really disturbing though is the very ambiguous message FIRST is sending this year.

At the close of rounds on Fri. we were seeded 5th and received the Xerox Award for “Thinking outside the box” with the design of our mouse and heads up LED goggles. The four students who designed and built the mouse, including the programming, were very excited and proud of their achievement.

At the end of the competition on Sat., however, they were ready to give the award back because it meant very little to them. You see, the team who crushed the mouse was given The Best Defensive Play Award for crushing the mouse in a “Mouse Trap”. Now, explain how, on one hand it was completely unintentional that they damaged the mouse and were merely trying to move the goal into the non-scoring zone yet at the same time you REWARD them for damaging the mouse by intentionally stopping it. I would be like giving out a award last year to a team who snapped off a arm off a big ball getter and were not punished right off for it. Whats the diffrence between a mouse and say bashing off a goal grabber on another robot while having you wheels spinning, just because you could. Professional graciousness?

Yes, I know that the Best Defensive Play is voted on by other teams- then shame on them. This only shows that FIRST is missing the mark and fomenting a Battlebot mentality when some teams praise others who damage robots. I found it odd that teams who allied with us and won, loved the little guy and even respected it when they later opposed it. Yet teams who only faced us as an opponent were stymied, frustrated even angry because they couldn’t stop it.

To add insult to injury the judges themselves nest awarded the same team another award in which they remarked about the stopping of the mouse. FIRST needs to stop worrying about exciting the spectators and keep worrying about exciting the students; ours walked out of the competition after those awards were given.

Is this sour grapes? No, we went and rebuilt the mouse and competed in the next round as a non-scoring partner (To round out match numbers) and won because of the mouse.

Another team’s advisor compared the stopping of the mouse to the breaking of a star quarterbacks legs to get him off the field.

Sorry for venting here, but I truly pity the other mouse teams who have yet to compete for the first time this year; Good Luck

That sounds very wrong.

I don’t know who thoses judges are, but they obviously were not impartial.

I would have DQ-ed them instantly.

This year has been something of an anomaly, between vague and contradictary rules, impartial judging, and and exponetaily growing amount of rookies. This year hasnot been like any other.

Personally I don’t think that’s a good thing. I think FIRST is beginning to cater to rookie teams, and this new “field leveling” style of play is dependant on too many factors, namely judges and their intrepretation of the already vague rules.

OMG, that is so wrong what they did, both the team and the judges, and those people who voted for it for best defensive play.

I thought there was a rule against intentually destroying another person’s robot, maybe the judges just didn’t care.

I will refer to the following rules:

DQ1. An alliance may not gain points by breaking a rule, even accidentally.
DQ3. Strategies aimed solely at the destruction, damage, tipping over or entanglement of robots are
not in the spirit of the FIRST Robotics Competition and are not allowed. Accidental tipping
over of a robot is not considered damaging and may be allowed at the discretion of the
referees. Intentional stabbing, cutting, etc., is illegal. If a breach of this rule occurs, the
alliance will be disqualified for that match.

We also have a ‘mouse’ (we shall call it mini-me). The only round where we had trouble with it and an opponent was match 59, when either 438 or 457 rolled up on the tether repeatedly to pull it out of the endzone. They succeeded, and we lost the match by two points. Bummer. This is a valid strategy, in my opinion, I just wish that it had been valid against another team. :slight_smile:

i love 329’s mouse thing! it’s so cool, and helped us out a lot (we were paired with them). now, i never saw the actual “mouse-trap” play, but that is wrong. i’m friendly with some people on the other team (they helped us out a lot, from extra chain to a practice field), i still believe what they did is wrong. granted, this is a strategy to block your gaining of points, but they did not need to cruch the mouse. all they needed to do was drive up on the teather right in back of the mouse, thereby trapping it. at least the mouse seemed to survive, cause we used it in the elims.

about that match in the elims though, we could have won, but i was the only person screaming “stay in the endzone”. :smiley: i felt like i was the only voice of logic on the field.

The thing was they would have gotten our 10 points, our mouse was in their endzone, we know their intent, 3 of us heard what they said and 1 adult, it was said both in the stands and in the drivers station, we know it was planned.
But thae problem was not only that, it was with FIRST.
The mouse survived after 15mins of surgery (Using hot glue and channel locks :), he will never be the same :(, we will return with a “mighty mouse” at the nats, not much time in the park for me it seems :rolleyes: )

Most of our elim matches that were lost was becuase of 1 to 3 balls were in the other goal. (Im the driver of the big bot :smiley: )

Response to “Is This Right”,
I would like to start by formally apologizing for any damage that the “mouse” may have sustained. It was definitely not our intention to cause any damage. Many of our team members commented on what a great idea the mouse was as they scouted in the pits. We were not one of the teams who brought up the entanglement issue.

If you saw our robot you would know that it was designed with defense in mind.  Our game plan was basically to defend our goal zone in an effort to keep the opposing teams goals from scoring.  We rarely even crossed the middle of the field.  Our cross axis drive train allows driving back and forth sideways in the goal zone.  Many of the robots at the competition had much more aggressive designs.  The play in question was also essentially a defensive play.
We did not win the “best play award” for damaging the mouse.  We won the award for quickly reversing what appeared to be a hopeless losing match.  With very little time left, we managed to escape one opposing robot that had intentionally lifted us off our wheels and pinned us against a goal.  Then we raced across the field, pushed the opposing teams goal out of the scoring zone into our home zone (that is the defensive part).  We also got our robot into our home zone while blocking the mouse from escaping, thus insuring us the win. 

It just so happened that the mouse was lined up with the goal in such a way that when we came roaring into the home zone pushing the goal, the goal struck the mouse.  In the time we had to get the goal out of the scoring zone and to get our robot into the home zone, there is no way we could have taken the time to steer into the mouse.  We just gave the goal a high-speed push in a straight line. Unfortunately for the mouse it was in the path of the goal.  Our drivers couldn’t even see the mouse from their position in the driver’s station since the mouse was up against the wall.  The only way to know the position of the mouse was by inferring its position by looking at the tether.
Our drivers are good, but to steer a 180-pound goal with a 127-pound robot that does not physically couple to the goal is a near impossibility when considering the time frame of a few seconds. As for the big screen, it is very hard to drive your robot while looking at the big screen.  When you are driving you are singly focused on watching your bot not the screen.  The camera angle on the screen is always changing so you cannot drive using the big screen as a monitor.

I have also heard that some believe that we went into the match with the sole purpose of destroying the mouse. How could we plan the chain of events that led to the mouse’s destruction? Our team is not that good. The only reason that the mouse was in our home zone in the first place is that we were losing so badly that team 329 drove their mouse to our side so that they could maximize their points. Did we some how plan this??? Did we start losing so badly to lure the mouse over to our side of the field??? If the game had played out with the mouse running back to the opponent’s home zone as is conventionally the case we never would have come in contact with it. (Our robot rarely crosses the entire field.) Are these the same people who believe that the moon landing was one big conspiracy???

After the incident the driver asked me (teacher/mentor) to go with him to apologize for damaging the robot.  When we went over everyone was understandably feverishly working.  We got the ear of one student and he graciously accepted the apology.  He did say that he was disappointed and believed that we continued pushing the goal longer than necessary. (He said he saw our wheels spinning) Maybe, maybe not.  Our robot is only 1.5 inches off the ground. It is very hard to slow down and stop instantly from full speed.  We have all seen major league baseball players run into the wall after making a catch. (Because he couldn’t slow down in time) What was most disconcerting was what he said next.  He pointed to an adult member of the team and said. “Don’t let that guy see you, he wants to kill you.” (Figuratively I am sure) I can understand that this adult was upset, but usually in FIRST any misunderstanding is between the students.  We left the pit and went back to our own not wanting to cause any kind of confrontation and to let all parties involved calm down.
We do not come to FIRST events looking to damage anyone.  We are always willing to lend tools and support to anyone who wants it.  We are not involved in FIRST with a sole aim of winning events or awards.  We do it because it offers our students with a unique experience that combines competition with caring and giving.  Since we are not there for cutthroat competitiveness, I hardly see how the quarterback analogy fits this situation.  We had no way of knowing if team 329 would be an alliance partner in the future so why would we want to render them useless?
The award was based on voting from other teams at the event.  So clearly the overwhelming majority of those who witnessed the match saw it differently than 329.  Most of the responses on this board so far have been from people who did not actually see it.   Please respond if you saw the event.  We would like to hear your perspective.
On one point we can agree, overall the event was a huge success and everyone had a great time.

Thanks to everyone who worked tirelessly to make this event a success. (Especially Fred)
See you in NYC. I hope no one has gotten the wrong impression of our team. Our drivers were very concerned when they first heard the accusations.

Ken Tiu
Jeff Yablon
Hauppauge Team 358

:confused: :confused:

i did not see this match, but i know from a driver’s perspective that nothing goes as planned and most of the time i did not now what the other robots were doing.

i think that FIRST is starting to look alittle like battle bots, but i don’t believe it’s their fault, it’s ours. not to criticize anyone in particlular, but there were acouple of robots that my friends and i called battle bots, these included the robot that looked like a wedge and the robot with the lifting arm. these looked like they came straight out of battle bots.

i had to face that bot with the lifting arm in the quarter finals at long island and it was really frustrating, we couldn’t move at all. fortunatly we beat them and made it to the semi-finals before another robot managed to rip wires out of our motors and pneumatics with their claw.

now, i’m not complaining about offensive driving, you probably saw i did alittle of that, i just think other teams should be considerate enough to not use their claw to rip wires out of motors.

I agree the lil extra push was probably not in good taste, but it didn’t really matter. The mouse was crushed like a tin can practically on impact from my viewing angle. Also, it is pretty tough to see around those goals when you’re moving around so I’d give the drivers (who from experience are nice people) the benefit of the doubt in their intentions. Personally I can’t wait to see the mouse souped up at Nats. It’s a great idea, and from what I saw at LI it works really well.

FIRST is returning back to a lil Battlebots style this year, which is somewhat disappointing. We were more than slightly annoyed when a wedge bot essentially tipped us over at LI (the only thing that saved us was our goal grabber). When the team continued, pushing us outside the course, we were screaming at the refs. What really disappointed me was one ref’s reasoning. He thought that yes there was intent to tip us by going under so far (there was quite a bit of damage on the underside from their goal grabbing spikes), and that the team most likely deserved to be DQed under rule three. The reason why they weren’t? “I interpret the rules, and I say they aren’t”. I swear I was going to throw the rule book at him. With some minor venting against a wall, we let it go and were quite content on just winning instead :D.

The moral of the story: such tactics can maybe win a match, but playing by the rules will win the competition. Hope mighty mouse is back in action soon.

Ken358 thank you for your lucid explanation of your team’s view of the incidents involved (The actual round and the award determination). I graciously accept your apology and am sure that most, if not all of our team members will do the same after reading your post. I don’t want there ever to be any hard feelings that might stand in the way of the success of this program.

For those readers who are not familiar with team 358, they are sponsored by FESTO, a major contributor to the FIRST program and sponsors of several other teams in some capacity or another. They also have run numerous workshops to help teams better understand the function and operation of pneumatics. Every person associated with the team that I’ve ever met including coaches, advisors and engineers were outstanding individuals. In fact, two rounds prior to the incident with the mouse, one of their engineers came to our assistance to help us with a pneumatic problem at a moments notice. I am completely sure that they have never entered a match with the intention of harming or destroying any robot or part thereof. I feel that the problem lies with the message that FIRST is allowing to be sent, no matter how overt or innocuous it may be.

I can understand, in the heat of the moment, any student getting excited or even happy about the events of the round that enabled them to win. I don’t wish to argue whether or not actions were taken or that things were said by students after the mouse’s demise; in the heat of the moment we all can say regrettable things. In fact, I wasn’t too bothered by the actual damage to the mouse and even stated that it could happen in a thread prior to the whole regional competition. I WAS upset by the way that FIRST handled the matter. I know that the teams voted on the award, but it was the FIRST judges with the approval of FIRST staff members who used the definitive phrase “Mouse Trap” (Sorry Ken, but that is what the text said you were being given the award for). I feel that there are times when the FIRST staff needs to usurp the decision of the voters when it is not in the best interest of the program and choose the defensive move which received the second greatest number of votes. Like maybe, Team 28 who, without an ally even showing up for the round, went end zone to end zone twice to beat two powerful opponents single handedly!!! I say this not to keep the award from a very good team like 358, but rather not to foster the idea that damaging robots is something we want to do. Heck, they could even have still given the award to them for that round and mentioned everything that they did which deserved the award—but don’t SMILE when you read the phrase MOUSE TRAP.

I feel like this year we’ve moved two large steps closer to Battlebot mentality to gain a greater “share of the viewing audience”. And it was done at the expense of the basic precepts of the FIRST program. If we really want to encourage students to develop innovative designs and enjoy working with professionals in the engineering field we won’t do it if all they talk about when the return to the pits is how their next robot is going to be a “KILLERBOT”.

Again, please understand that any misunderstanding that might have existed were probably due to “the heat of the moment” and that we harbor no ill feelings, we just want future matches to engender all the goals of the FIRST spirit.

BTW Team 173 gets my vote for the robot of the year. “FEAR ALL YE WHO FACE HIM!!!”

I really want to clear everything up here and now.
I was driving for team 358 in the round you are referring to and there was nothing planned about destroying the mouse. We were paired with team 56, who can grab 2 goals and load them with balls and has a very good braking system. We (team 358) are mainly a defensive robot with a pusher arm and cross axis drive system, which seconds as a brake. We were against team 514 who can grab 1 goal and has a lifting arm, which is a very powerful robot, and team 329, the team with the mouse. Our strategy (358 and 56) was for team 56 to go out and immediately load up on balls. While that was going on 358 was going to help by pushing a goal past all the balls and guarding it for 56 to grab load up with balls and plant in the goal zone. Then 358 was supposed to go back and push 514 into our home robot zone along with a goal that they hoped they were going to be guarding or just a free goal out of the other teams goal zone taking 10 points away from them. Then hopefully 329 would be holding a goal in the goal zone for them and be letting the mouse back into their own home robot zone like they usually do. We (358 and 56) were going to leave 329 alone to do their thing b/c we wanted the mouse to go back to their home zone. That plan would have given 358 and 56 a 36-30 win. But because nothing ever goes as planned, 358 was being lifted up by 514. Because I (the driver for 358) thought that was considered a pin I was waiting for the refs to give the 10 count and for 514 to have to put 358 down (After the match we found out that lifting a robot is legal but because they didn’t have us against the railing, a wall, a goal or another robot we were not pinned). During that time I believe 329 was being smart and saw that since they were winning by a lot and they thought that 358 wasn’t going to be able to get down and get back into their home robot zone for 10 points they sent the mouse out into our home robot zone to maximize their Qualifying Points. While this was going on I was trying to get our team’s robot free and back into our home robot zone. On the way back to the home robot zone I saw that the other team had a goal full of balls in their goal zone so getting back to the plan I pushed it out of the goal zone and into the robot zone with our robot moving it out of scoring position. Unfortunately the mouse was in the line of fire and it was truly an accident that it was damaged.

 About the comment “They kept pushing the robot into the wall, AND it was against the wall right in front of them!!! Not to mention on the big screen at the time for all to see (across the field from them so they could see it)”.  First, I did not continue to push the goal into the wall after it hit the wall, Second, anyone that has been behind the glass there knows that if there is something small, such as the other teams mouse, against the wall it cannot be seen by the people behind the glass and Third, whoever is driving doesn’t look up at the big screen to see what is going on during a match, I am usually looking directly on the field to see where I am driving our robot.

              It was truly an unfortunate accident. 

 And about the comment “a crewmember said that he clearly heard the operators laughing that they finally "Crushed that little thing".”  When I pushed the goal out of the goal zone I didn’t realize all the cheering was because the mouse got crushed and not b/c I pushed the goal out of the goal zone until way after the match. I was just excited b/c we won the match, I didn’t even know that the mouse got crushed.  But as to my teammates comment, I do agree was inappropriate but everybody including the audience was caught up in the moment.

                        I hope this clears everything up
                       Teddy Melnick	Team 358

I have two points to make.

First I am truly sorry for what happened no matter what the circumstances, intentional or unintentional destruction. It’s a;ways sad to see a robot be destroyed while in the heat of the moment on the field.


Why are these judges even allowing these “go home devices” on the field??? In the FRCTech on yahoo groups in the beginning of the year during build season there were comments that if ANYTHING that was on your robot that can cause an entanglement issue you would be DQ’ed. Now what do I see when I watch the webcasts and the NASA tv regionals, but all these “mice, mini me’s send home devices” what ever you want to call them all over the field. I believe that these devices SHOULD NOT be allowed to continue to operate in this game. They are all possible entanglement issues and should be immediatley banned. One match I saw on NASA tv Saturday had one of these “parasites” that released itself from it’s “host” robot and proceeded to make it’s way to the other end of the field and while doing so it didn’t allow any robots on the other alliance to pass over it’s cord. I think the drivers of the opposite alliance just did not want to wreck the device by driving over it but it left them sitting there on one side of the field in a disadvantaged position. I applaud that alliances gracious professionalism in that respect but because of that disadvantage, they lost the match.

All you teams out there with these “parasites” just better be greatful that I am not a driver. Because as you could probably deduce, If I were a driver, your “parasite” would not stop me from crossing the field, it would get run over and possibly destroyed! That is the chance you are all going to take I assume?? If so, I don’t like your odds!

So I guess when Dean Kamean said build a strong and durable robot you guys must have missed that part. Well he did! So know we have a team that is complaining about a broken tether a part of a robot that scores ten points; an essential part of the playing field. And you think that it was magically going to survive being blocked how? Common sense first off you have a tether that can be blocked so what is that all about. And this thinking that it should have immunity from being hit is very amusing and well foolish. Personally blocking the tether should be fine. But like team 358 says all they did was push a goal and it was gone. I don’t know but people are going to have to get a grasp on the physicality of this year’s game it is something that was lacking last year and is well making up for it this year! This is just my opinion on the issue and I am an operator and NO u do not WATCH THE BIG SCREEN!!!

Elgin Clock, All you teams out there with these “parasites” just better be greatful that I am not a driver. Because as you could probably deduce, If I were a driver, your “parasite” would not stop me from crossing the field, it would get run over and possibly destroyed! That is the chance you are all going to take I assume?? If so, I don’t like your odds!

Hmmmmm, Did someone miss their Battlebot counseling session?
Have you been reading any of this thread, or are you just another disgruntled, anti-mouse team member who wants to have a forum for that view.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH A TEAM HAVING A MOUSE??? And please stop crying about the entanglement issue (The only argument you have), because in our 13 rounds no one got entangled, in fact, the little mouse even drove over its own tether without getting entangled. Now I’m sure that with your big bad robot who is willing to “run over it”, you too can get around without getting entangled. It seems that those who have a violent opposition to a mouse have other issues they need to deal with.

BTW-- Teddy Melnick team 358, Thank you for the explanation. I’m sorry if you’ve been taking any heat, I honestly am. I think that you make very valid points and we are not at all upset now. Please, let’s put this to rest.

yes, both teams 329 adn 358 had amazing robots. i know from experiance, being in two matches with 329, and i think two matches against 358. the mouse was a great feature, but i’m not surprised that it got destroyed by 358, becuase as they say, they played defense, and the mouse was on the opposing home zone. from what i saw though, the mouse was resurected, because it was used in the elims, i think. :smiley: can’t wait to see “mighty mouse” at the nationals. gotta have the glowing eyes. :stuck_out_tongue:

I gotta say i agree with Elgin Clock, I’m not a big fan of these mouse type robots. Because of confusion on the Yahoo forum, we didn’t put one onto our robot. However i think we all need to just deal, these things seem to be here to stay. If you have one be prepared for teams to go after it. If you don’t well then you will just have to adjust your strategey. I know my team is going to try to build one in the pits, maybe with a few motors and a little creaitivity, who knows. proabably won’t be very good though
:-(… but hey oh well, i’m looking forward to New Haven and Nats, and good luck to all

151 The Wildcards

what if a robot has no ground clearance like ours? our chassis kind of rubs the carpet. on a hard surface,it has alittle less than 1/8" clearance. i guess the small casters sink into the carpet a little.

i don’t hate those mouse things, i kind of like them actualy, great idea. but my opinion will probably change quite quickly if our robot gets caught up on it. so if i were you, i’d try to keep it away from robots with low ground clearance.

*Originally posted by Chris *
**I gotta say i agree with Elgin Clock, I’m not a big fan of these mouse type robots. … I know my team is going to try to build one in the pits…

151 The Wildcards **

What are you saying with that?

You guys may or may not like them but they are the most efficent way to get into the enzone that IS legal.

-Robots with low ground clearence would not get entangled, they would simply just push the tether. we know because our robot has about the same as you in clearence and it was fine, plus we usally run our mouse close to a wall to avoid all that.

Hey our robot probably had some better plays than pathetically crushing pathetic mouse then again… We were the ones that caused the one team to smoke durning the one round and we tipped over and still won:confused:(I think it was ur bot or some mouse bot) As for the bot that tipped you over I agree that was way out of line. My teacher was screaming and I was at the blatant disregard for rules.:mad: