Standardized Loading Between Robots

FIRST gave us a passing game. I think it would be in everyone’s best interest if we came together and tried to hammer out some standard height or something so that our passing mechanisms are compatible. Think of the gas caps on cars. Across every make and model, they fit the same gas nozzle.

I know its extremely early so robot designs haven’t come together yet, I think this deserves forethought.

The large radius of the ball means high tolerance for different “ports” or receptacles. If there was a common resting center height for the ball in each “port” you could probably deviate 6 inches up or down without any issue.


The ground. Roll the ball along the ground.

if all teams were to use netting to catch the ball, and use to pass it might be more efficient.


There’s been a lot of talk in some previous years about similar “standardization” around part of the game, and yet I’ve never seen it really come together. The problem you have is getting all teams to agree. Even if everyone active on CD agreed, that would maybe encompass 10% or so of teams.

So, standardize around what everyone has to do anyways - pick up the ball from the ground. If you deliver the ball such that someone with a ground pickup can get it, then you’re fine.

The easiest way to standardize function between robots is to look at the rigid constraints (i.e. the field) and then work to replicate them. This year, the constraints most relevant seem to be:

  • Inbounder Station

  • Floor

  • Remote Human Player (Not necessarily different from the Inbounder)

For the purpose of standardization, if you were to, in theory, make some part of your robot or it’s function appear to be no different than one of those field areas/functions from a robot’s perspective, then any machine designed with that field part in mind, shouldn’t have any issues interfacing with your machine.

All of that said, the logic isn’t flawless by any means, but I’d be willing to bet that if you designed your robot to feed another robot as if it were being fed from an inbounder or remote human player, you’d be hard-pressed to find a team that wouldn’t be able to figure out how to work with you.

I like the idea of standardzation, but to agree with what was said earlier, it just would be too difficult to get all teams to agree. For the reaso we really have no way to contact them. Chief Delphi probably isn’t even a quarter of FRC teams.

has anyone thought of the best way to “standardize” catching the ball over the truss

To expand on what thefro526 was getting at: take a close look at the low goal… 7in off the ground, right at bumper height… it would be great to use one mechanism to score AND pass a ball.

We plan on being able to ground load and score in the low goal, as many other teams are likely to do. I think many low goal scoring mechanisms could be used as passing mechanisms with little additional effort. Thus we’ll be able to pass on the ground and act as a ‘low goal’ for the other robot.

I’ve put my $0.02 in on this topic before, but I feel strongly enough that I feel like I should reiterate.

Yes, rolling the ball along the ground is probably the most efficient/logical/advantageous way to pass/recieve this year. But I truly think this response misses the big picture.

What people say on this forum affects the thinking of a LOT of bright young people. A one sentence shoot-down of their ideas (especially ones with this kind of potential) is not really the atmosphere I assumed we’d want to strive for.

Nothing would go so far to demonstrate the maturity of the FRC program and the power of the GP principles embedded within as a group of teams (it clearly doesn’t have to be every team) coming up with and executing on a well defined standard. This is something that is done all of the time in the real world, and is a skillset/experience that would stand out on any resumé or in any interview, and one that could go towards driving a more open/innovative/collaborative future as our FIRST student leaders move out of the classrooms and into the real world.

I’d encourage any teams/students who think they have a good idea for a standard to sketch out a proposal and present it. Who knows what might happen? Designs that meet your standard might just be featured on every robot on the World Championship winning alliance.

Why do you need more than a quarter of FRC teams? Even just a quarter of the teams would be a significant achievement and advantage!

I’m not going to comment on the feasibility/quality of this proposal - I don’t feel I’m qualified to do so. But this is exactly the kind of conversation that could be used to start something achievable.


If your robot emulates a low goal, then any robot that can score in a low goal can complete an assist to your robot.

My response was written to offer a counter-argument and I believe the merits of my idea are pretty basic. If your team is designing your robot in good faith that other robots will be designing their bot in a specific way you are not going to have a fun time at competition. All robots touch the floor, the ball touches the floor, other robots are picking up from the floor. It’s as simple as that. Any discussion of a porthole for the ball is wasted breath. Secondly, standardization of robot mechanisms would require a governing organization, and because the GDC isn’t going to create one for us, we would need to do it ourselves. Any organization that want’s to create itself for this purpose is going to have very few members unless their design is 100% better than any other design out there for every team (Which isn’t going to happen). FRC teams have enough design restrictions as it is and they do not have an incentive to put another on themselves. Yes it would be mature and a good display of GP, but the fact of the matter is that teams own their robot, they are not going to adopt an organization’s design. Furthermore, any group of teams that accomplishes the task of developing a coalition of teams for this design and building capable robots has to rely on the FMS to place them together in qualification matches and be able to pick each other in elims.

I think that teams whose intake is similar to the low goal will have a distinct advantage. That was a good idea. That probably means passes along the floor. Not a problem.

For passes through the air, such as attempted “catching” over the truss, our team is planning to make the robots superstructure a passive “funnel” to catch anything overhead.

Yes, because the Federal Government made it mandatory. It wasn’t always so.

Anyway: Off the floor, low-goal-like, it a good idea. Certainly do not need the 7" curb though…

Be careful you don’t accidentally catch the opposing alliance’s ball. You may want a mechanism that prevents this.

I assume most teams will have the ability to herd balls on the floor and/or score the 1 point cube. With that said, that would be a common factor for all robots and we could assume that passing could take place there right?. And if a robot has the ablity to pick up off the floor that’s a bonus for that allianc.

The OP asks an excellent question, and one which teams really should consider. That includes teams that want to execute full court aerial passes. Will that really be faster? Or would a well driven pass with a bit of top spin go pretty well too?

A big factor in this game will be to get a three assist bonus + goal as quickly as possible. Cycle, cycle, cycle. Chasing a bounding ball around the arena will be counterproductive to executing a fast cycle.

I’d go for the ground level for a “standardized height”. The primary reason is simplicity. But other reasons come into play as well. For instance, a ball off the ground requires more energy to propel and then it has more energy to bound around when a robot is chasing it down.

Additionally, ground passes allow for greater precision when it comes to allowing unique robot/zone pairs to maximize assist points and insure a 30 pt bonus. With aerial passes, your team may have to move to catch the ball and travel into a zone that will not count for an assist. I’m imagining a robot passes from the white zone intending to meet you on the other side of the field in the white zone with their pass, but it goes awry and the ball lands in your scoring zone.