[moderated] Brainstorm: Entanglement rule

Ok…take two…

One of the hottest issues coming out of Atlanta was the question “When is entanglement entanglement, and when is it just an accident?” Many thought the game was fine as is, others were upset.

All of the play-by-play and Monday-morning reffing has already taken place in other threads… now its time to put some creative energy forth and maybe solve the dilemma for once and for all… or maybe it is not solvable… lets find out.

This moderated thread is a place for folks to put forth the exact proposed wording of a rule that would have addressed entanglement in FIRST Frenzy: Raising the Bar… lets call it <G100>.

Usual brainstorming rules apply – moderators will not allow any thread discussing another’s post, or not proposing exact text that could have appeared in the 2004 manual. If you think of more than one way to solve the problem, post multiple times.

This thread will be closed at 10pm on April 28th. After that, let the discussions begin!

(The thread will also be submitted to the 2005 Game Committee for their informational use. In no way is their any implication that these suggestions will even be appropriate to the 2005 game or used by the 2005 Game Committee. In no way am I implying an association with the 2005 Game Committee)

**<100a> Standard Rules **

  1. No flipping
  2. No entanglement
  3. No damaging another robot.

**<100b> Card System **

  1. Yellow – a warning that the red card could come out. Play is getting a little aggressive and the referee is concerned a violation of the rules may occur.
  2. Red – an accidental violation of the rules occurred. The violator will be disabled for 10 seconds.
  3. Black – a robot has intentionally violated the rules. The violator will be disabled for the remainder of the match.

The idea behind the card system is to promote competitive play and good sportsmanship. Defensive play is only minorly penalized if an accidental violation occurs or majorly if the violation is intentional. This creates a healthy environment for offensive play to flourish, while keeping defense a viable option. Many would argue offense should be promoted more than defense as it is more exciting and challenging.

It is very difficult to determine the intentions of a driver. One person has noted the parallels to the justice system and how difficult it is to get a premeditated murder conviction. I believe in FIRST we should allow for a manslaughter type conviction; a robot committed a violation of the rule but did so accidentally. Restitution for the affected team comes in the form of a minimal period of time when the violator is disabled. This gives enough time for a robot to recover or at least is a form of rough justice by the referees.

My system allows for the proper action be taken by the referees if violations become intentional. It also offers some restitution for those who have been the victims of accidental violations of the rules.

Credits: Nelson Green for the card system, myself for the period of disablement idea.

Whoa there, Slim! Let’s be VERY CAREFUL about any explicit or implicit promises made as this thread is started.

If everyone wants to discuss how an “Entanglement Rule” might have been worded for the 2004 game, that is fine. It is worth a constructive discussion to identify ways in which the game (and rules) could have been improved even more. Introspection is almost always good, and can lead to worthwhile lessons.

HOWEVER, everyone needs to be very clear on the following:

  • there is absolutely NO guarantee that any of this material will be incorporated into the 2005 game, or appear anywhere in the 2005 manual
  • there is absolutely NO guarantee that any of this material will even be relevant for the 2005 game
  • there is absolutely NO guarantee that any of this material will be reviewed or considered by the 2005 Game Design Committee. Aiden does not speak for the GDC, and can not make any commitments for them.

I don’t mean to be harsh about this, but I don’t want anyone to have any unrealistic expectations about the directions of this thread. Having this type of discussion in the context of trying to learn from the 2004 game is great. But it is very premature to imply that it will feed forward into the 2005 game.


**<G100a> Any robot that deploys an object with the sole purpose of entangling another robot will be disqualified from the round, and will be asked to remove such an object from the robot.

<G100b> Incidental entanglement for more than 30 seconds will result in a match “time out” where time will be stopped, the robots will be separated, and the match will continue where it left off. In order for teams to avoid the problems that entanglement can pose, FIRST recommends that teams try to avoid using such materials as nets, rope, and other matter which can be ripped into during a match, causing robots to be tangled.

<G100c> If a robot is continuously becomming entangled in other robots due to design or material, referees may ask teams to remove or change that material from the robot for the remainder of the competition.**

Pretty simple…keep the rules to the discression of the refs as they have been. Maybe crack down a little more on netting materials on robots. The 30 second rule is actually a rule that used to be active in FIRST back in 1995. On a few occasions robots would get tangled with each other, or the playing field and timeouts would be called. Might not be a bad idea to bring those back.

G100a Entanglement during a match If two or more robots become entangled during a match, the referee may disable them in order to prevent damage to the robots. In such an event, all robots involved in the entanglement will be disabled.

G100b Repeated Entanglements at one event If a robot must be disabled due to entanglement on more than one occasion due to the same device, the referee will require the entangling device to be removed or modified and the robot re-inspected.

G100c Repeated Entanglements across events If a robot is required to modify a mechanism due to entanglement, this information will be passed to the inspectors at the next event.

Analysis This year, we seem to have had a lot of arms with “loose” wires and arms with hooks. This is a formula for accidental entanglement. Sort of like velcro, both the hooks and loops were responsible for the entanglement. Loose wires need to be more effectively tied back and shielded (like the tether bots in 2002) even though this means additional weight. Hooks might be required to be tucked when they are not specifically being used.

** G100d Deliberate Entanglement or Grabbing** If a robot uses a mechanism to restrain another robot by grabbing or holding, the referee will warn that robot after 10 seconds to release the other robot. After releasing and backing away, the robot may initiate another grab. Failure to release after being instructed to back off will result in a 10 point penalty. For each 10 seconds that the robot fails to back off, an additional 10 point penalty will be assessed.

Analysis This is similar to the pinning rules (which also probably need a revision). Rather than going with a DQ, a cumulative 10 point penalty is assessed. This would have the effect of a DQ on most teams. However, a team may deem it worth a 30 point penalty if they already have a large lead and want to immobilize an opponent for the last 30 seconds of a match.

<g100> The initiator of an entanglement must end the entanglement as soon as possible. The initiator shall be disabled as soon as the entanglement is broken. If an entanglement is not broken in ten seconds, the initiator will be disqualified.

This one is pretty straightforward… Determining the initiator will be left to the referees. Basically, it says dont’ get entangled if you can’t get out of it. In order for this rule to work, I think entanglement hazard rules during inspection should be brought back.

G100: Teams whose robot presents a risk of entanglement will be required to make changes to reduce the risk of entanglement.

“Risk of entanglement” will be determined by either inspectors or by referees. This is a judgement call, and every attempt will be made to exercise clear and consistent judgement during regionals and the Championship. The following guidelines will be used for entanglement considerations:

  1. Teams whose robots have flexible features such as netting, string, cables, robes, and wires should take extra care to protect those features from entanglement with other robots. During competition it is often the case that robot structures will interact. This is acceptable. However, if flexible features such as those described here become entangled with another robot, the referees may disable the robot with the flexible features.

  2. Teams whose robots have features (flexible or not) with shape or operation that encourage entanglement should take extra care to avoid entanglement. If such features become entangled with another robot, the referees may disable to the robot.

  3. If, in the judgement of the referees, a team’s robot exhibits a pattern of entanglement with other robots, the referees may disqualify the robot for the match, and subsequently require the team to make changes to reduce the risk of entanglement.

  4. If, in the judgement of the referees, a team’s robot intentionally becomes entangled with another robot, the referees will disqualify the team with the offending robot.

Defeinition of Entanglement- The purposeful alteration to another robot that will cause the functions of the robot to be altered, such as a robot picking another robot up, a robot using an arm or device to mess with a drive train or other accessory, etc.

<G100a> Any team that entangles their robot, a part of their robot, or another robot with another robot, that team will be told to stop and if the actions still occur, the emergency stop putton will be pressed and the alliance will have 50 points deducted from their final score.

<G100b> If the team has been warrned in previous matches about entanglement, and has not altered their intentions or alter their device causing the problem, the team will be disqualified for that match and then required to alter their robot to stop the entanglement, then the team must be re-inspected.

<G100c> If a team still uses entanglement as a strategy or continues the use of a similar device after the events of rule G100a & b, the robot will be pulled from the event.

G100 - Any robot that has a feature, deemed by the inspectors, to be designed to cause entanglement, will not be allowed to compete until the said robot meets the requests of the inspectors. These requests will be to modify or remove part deemed as main purpose is to entangle other robots.