Nothing about this rule is clear, the rules are always subject to the interpretation of the reader. I will just focus on 904 (b) as this seems to be the contentious point in relation to the Pelican case.
The OPERATOR CONSOLE must NOT be:
B: “deeper than 1 ft. 2 in. (~35 cm) (excluding any items that are held or worn by the
DRIVERS during the MATCH)”
(1) As mentioned in the previous reply, is this to be measured under carrying conditions, playing conditions, etc.
(2) What is an item? Is an item a component, a mechanism, or an assembly of mechanisms?
(3) What is the definition of held? If a controller is mechanically linked to the Pelican case either directly or transitively, does holding the controller count as holding the case? Based on some interpretations of a similar term “supported”, it could be hard to argue with this logic, especially since the term “item” is not defined in the manual. It seems a valid argument that the entire assembly is the Operator Consoles equivalent to a “major mechanism” on the robot.
(4) How long does one have to hold the “item” to be exempt? Is it enough for the robot operator to simply pick up the handle of the Pelican case for a second during the match?
(5) What is the definition of worn? When chained wallets were popular and they were affixed to the owner was that person wearing the wallet?
Obviously I am being slightly facetious here, but if you want me as a RI to enforce the rules as written I would have a very hard time telling the above teams that they are not in compliance with these rules (as written - no intent of the rule mentioned).
From my point of view, this case appears to provide no competitive advantage (other than ensuring protection of DS components over a long period of time), it still allows for a solid connection to the drivers station Velcro, and from the Team RUSH example it does not look likely to fall upon hard impacts with the driver station wall.
Lastly, the only reason I replied to this thread was because the impression I got from reading your post was “I have had bad experiences with RIs and I want to ensure that the RI experience is consistent across the regions.” Obviously, I would assume that you would want to improve the RI experience across FRC, but you discuss how RIs should follow the rules directly as written (not based on intent), cite this drivers station depth requirement, and call out the above teams for intentionally violating the rules that in your mind are “very clear”.
FRC is possibly the high school sport with the worst $/playing time ratio. RIs should do their best to make sure that a robot is safe and ready to take the field for their first match, not nit pick drivers console dimensions.