New numbering rules?

R2 lays out the new numbering rules, and altough they only added a small section, it is awfully specific:

Team numbers must be displayed on the ROBOT and meet the following criteria:
A. consist of numerals at least 3.5 in. high, at least 0.5 in. in stroke width, and be black in color with a white background extending at least 1 in. from the edges of the numbering,
B. be positioned around the ROBOT such that an observer walking around the perimeter of the ROBOT can unambiguously tell the Team’s number from any point of view.

It’s all pretty normal, but the limits on the color of the numbers seems rather picky. Why not specify that the numbers must be of a reasonably high contrast, or easy to read? Perhaps it’s becaue i was hoping to be able to do backlit numbers in waterjetted aluminum, but i’m dissapointed by how specific it is.

The numbers rules likely strict so that there isn’t any confusion an what is high-contrast.

Also backlit leds could fail.

As far as I can tell, it’s not illegal to have backlit numbers in waterjetted aluminum, as long as you also have black numbers against a white background.

Do both. That way when you run out of time to do the waterjet numbers you still are legal. And if by some FIRST Build Miracle you can do both, nobody will see / care about the plain numbers. (Well the inspectors will, but your tumultuous fans won’t care.)

I hope all teams follow the new rules, so we can tell which robot belongs to what team.

Identifying robots on the field is one place where creativity and individuality isn’t very helpful.

The issue of contrast could easily be interpreted as part of R2-B, as numbering would have to be easily visible in order to be “unambiguous.” And, if done properly, backlit numbers could easily be made visible regardless of if they are actually lit.

As far as I can tell, it’s not illegal to have backlit numbers in waterjetted aluminum, as long as you also have black numbers against a white background

I figured this would be the final solution, as im sure my whining will have no influence on upcoming rule revisions :smiley: but I still find it dissappointing, and a little odd that such a specific rule would be placed in an otherwise very flexible game.

It’s a big robot. They are small numbers. Having two sets, one in black and white and another in your dancing disco LED lights isn’t against the rule.

In prior years, you needed to paint the bumpers. This year, no bumpers but you still need the numbers. Think of the 100’s of teams that can’t do back-lighted colored numbers. So the min cost effort is black on white that was imposed by FIRST. Think black marker on an index card.

With your resources think of the fund raiser for next year (or maybe this year!!!) “We’ll do your Robot number for $10 per digit per sign!!!” and away you go.

On the other hand when I look across the 4000 teams building a robot, your team’s biggest issue is the back light. I’m humbled that you have solved, designed and are ready to build a robot and have extra, nay, vast amounts of extra energy and build time to move a lighted team number to the top of your build list.

I’ve added your team to my personal “robots to watch” list, can’t wait to see how you make out. :rolleyes:

The color and background restrictions are still a little obnoxious, but no more obnoxious than the restrictions on bumper numbers and infinitely easier to implement. All you need to get compliant is a printer, two sheets of paper, (print two to a page) and some tape, which beats the pants off of any process to get numbers on the bumpers. I’ve used most of them, from silver sharpies to paint to sewn-on white fabric, and it is VERY hard to get good-looking results.

As for 4901? We’ll take the files for our bumper number from last year, flip the colors from white to black, add it to our vinyl stickers with the sponsor logos, and save ourselves at least a couple nights of work. :slight_smile:

As a graphic designer R2 kills my dreams.

There are still more than 10,000 square inches of space on your robot to fill with your wonderful graphic design. Just make the numbers so us blind old folks can read them, please?

I’m thinking black acrylic inlaid in white acrylic would look neat.

This. I would also suggest the following test:

If you (Edit: or, preferably, your grandparents) cannot read your robot’s numbers from 50 yards out (150 ft), give or take a bit, then you may want to reconsider font, size, or stroke. Why 50 yards? That would be some of the farther scouts who are wishing they’d brought binoculars to read your numbers.

Yeah…But “black light” is really a purple color to the human eye. LOL.

It is why I have only scouted once…Reading those numbers from way up in the nosebleeds is so very difficult to say the least…And all that data feeds back to the robot team # firstly. (I am nearsighted, I’ll run that thread through the needle for you in a flash & read off those tiny numbers on a capacitor or chip without the magnifying glass (but you have to tell me what robot I’m scouting this round, and you better say the number real clearly, then find my golf ball also please). Getting old is hard.:smiley:

This is one of the times that having a single (or generally low) digit team number comes in handy! My suggestion was to make our entire robot into a giant 4. :stuck_out_tongue:

My point is that the rule is oddly specific. I get that the specificity is for the sake of simplicity, and of course im not wasting time developing light stuff when there’s much more important work to do. Im not sure how you’re planning to do lights but if it’s taking vast amounts of time and energy during build season, you’re doing it wrong. If you’d like to look, my base code is already available on CD, and it was before kickoff. I work with arduino as a hobby, not because i think it is the most essential part of the robot, and when one of my hobbies just so happened to cross with robotics, i decided to take advantage of the opportunity.


Oh yes, the lights we’re using are the old AM2640s, so if anything we may have an issue with blinding people :ahh: But, if we were to do backlit designs, they would be done using frosted lexan so it’d be easier to read. (i know the feeling, theres a reason i stick to pit scouting lol)

I’m a little disappointed too. I’m glad they do give us the freedom of font, however it would be nice to be able to display your number in another way that isn’t a white placard that looks like a marathon number. I don’t think it allows you to even have your own color border to create contrast, which is interesting considering the bumper rules only said you must have a white outline, rather than fully solid white numbers.

Since we have the freedom of font choice, I’m sure there will be plenty of unreadable black-on-white team numbers.

Oh well.

(the lame Mr. Forbes solution would be to have FIRST provide preprinted team number placards at the events, just like at marathons)

Many teams couldn’t figure out in recent years, even with the bumpers, how to make numbers legible, and that was when I was right next to them on the field. I’m fully expecting the numbering to be a major headache again this year with them being hidden among a boatload of logos, lights, and other junk. I believe that a big part of ref problems entering fouls and such were trying to figure out what the heck the number was to do so for tracking.

I was hoping that a standard, “This is the font you ARE going to use,” was included. I got half my wish by them having to be black on a white background. Just giving the height/stroke doesn’t really work since teams don’t seem to own measuring instruments to make sure they meet the rule. Handing out the marathon numbers would be an improvement…

I do a fair amount of automotive racing and this is often an issue in those events as well. Many people want fancy/stylish/funny/whatever numbers and class letters on their cars so they can be unique. Unfortunately, when a car is flying by at 100+ MPH, those shiny yellow numbers are real hard to read on a white car… So many groups have gotten very strict over the years about what number styles and color combinations are acceptable.

While our robots aren’t going 100 MPH, there is still a lot of commotion on the field and those fancy-pants numbers can be difficult to spot. And what one person (an inspector) may think is easily visible, a ref or other volunteer may find unreadable. Standardized black letters on a white background are without a doubt very readable and save inspectors from having to make a judgement call about readability. Save the creativity for team logos, shirts, driver stations, and other parts of the robot.