While absently reading through some CD threads about vision processing while I procrastinating studying for exams, I came across some talk about the need to be able to control bright lights such as the pretty common SuperBrightLeds.com halo rings as per R07. (See here).
R07-M states that examples of a prohibited item include:
High intensity light sources used on the ROBOT (e.g. super bright LED sources marketed as ‘military grade’ or ‘self-defense’) may only be illuminated for a brief time while targeting and may need to be shrouded to prevent any exposure to participants. Complaints about the use of such light sources will be followed by re-inspection and possible disablement of the device
I did a little digging and found that this example in the bluebox for the rule stating “ROBOT parts shall not be made from hazardous materials” is new for 2017. From 2008-2016, the closest example was R(02, 08, or 09*)-A, (Which is still present in 2017). This rule states:
Shields, curtains, or any other devices or materials designed or used to obstruct or limit the vision of any DRIVERS and/or COACHES and/or** interfere with their ability to safely control their ROBOT**
(Fun side note: The only difference in wording in this rule in the last 9 years is the way the human drivers/coaches/etc are described)
Since this is a new rule change, I’m worried about all the teams who use lights such as the LED halos from superbrightleds, including my team. Since the only relay allowed in the manual is the now discontinued Spike Relay (per R34-B), is there a way this rule can be enforced that will allow robots to continue to perform the tasks they need to perform? How can we even make use of the retroflective vision targets in a way that complies to these rules? I know that my team has a couple of Spikes kicking around so we’re going to use them in case this rule does present any issues, but what are teams that don’t have any Spikes going to do? Do you think that this rule will even be enforced since FIRST isn’t exactly presenting a solution? The closest thing I can think of as a workaround is using the PCM solenoid outputs with the PCM on 12V but that sounds pretty illegal to me. Unless I’m misinterpreting R35? But even so, I don’t think the PCM would supply enough amperage for multiple LED rings in addition to several solenoids, I don’t know what Festo solenoids tend to draw but the 60mm green LED rings that my team uses draw 170mA each, and the PCM only supplies 500mA across all solenoid ports. Also, the problem of 12V vs 24V might just result in 2 PCMs, one for solenoids and one for lights, if this is the setup to go with… I’m not sure. Kinda just typing as I think and rambling. I’ll end this off here.
After a little discussion here I’m going to post on the Q&A but I wanted to just get a broader idea of what the general community is thinking in regard to this rule before I ask, rather than just my own concerns. What are your guys’ thoughts?
*Fun side note 2: The rule about hazardous materials was R02 from 2008-2011, R08 from 2012-2015, R07 in 2016, and R09 in 2017.