Memory foam to protect top of robot- legal?

Hi all

We have memory foam on top of our robot. It slopes toward the front. If a ball hits the top it simply rolls to the front of the robot and drops off. Anyone have an opinion on the legality of this?

Thanks in advance,


i believe so long as it doesnt interfere with the drivers ability to drive or other drivers abilities to drive and it doesnt extend out of the frame, memory foam is legal. i would suggest reading <R06> and <R16> for clarification, if needed

What about the rules makes you unsure? Are you concerned that the foam will compress more than 3 inches?

The memory foam rolls the ball to a specific point of egress from the robot top, right in front of the kicker. Some have questioned if this is controlling the ball illegally. The foam does not extend past the robot frame and compresses perhaps ½” at the time/point of impact. I fail to see how this is any more of a ball control than any other sloped surface. Thank you all for your input.


If it rolls the ball right in front of the kicker, are you saying it is funnel shaped?

If this is the case the funnel “depth” (difference between the wall and the trough) + the compression must remain under the 3".

If the above is met, and the mechanism is passive (doesn’t move while a ball is touching other than deformation due to the ball), then you are fine.

It’s not really a funnel shape. The shape is more of a “V”, like an inverted house roof. The “V” shape is centered on the robot and slopes downward, toward the front. A dropped ball centers in the “V” while on its way to rolling off the front. I’ll check the 3" depth but I think it’s ok.


As long as the vertical component of the distance from the outside of the edge of the “roof” to the middle is less than three inches, I think you’d be alright.

I would assume it’s legal since it’s not stationary relative to the bot so it’s not really carrying.

From what I can read in the rules, as long as it does not make your bumpers go below the legal zone your good… This year with all of the robots that roll over and are obviously breaking that rules, I assume they (FIRST) are being extremely leaniant on the rule…

Can you explain what rule is being broken by a robot rolling over?

To keep everyone in the loop…

<R19> ROBOTS must be designed so that in normal operation BALLS cannot extend more than 3 inches inside
a) the FRAME PERIMETER below the level of the BUMPER ZONE (see Figure 8-5),
b) a MECHANISM or feature designed or used to deflect BALLS in a controlled manner that is above the level of the BUMPER ZONE.

We were thinking of using foam but discovered that making the shallow V thing out of lexan works just fine. The ball rolls right in front of the robot when dropped onto the bot from 7 feet up