Trained Monkey

This is my newest most-favorite/least-favorite Q&A that I’ve seen:

Is it legal to utilize a trained live Monkey riding on the bot as long as he is the only extension on a single side of the bot?

Not answered yet as of this posting. Anyone want to try to provide a list of rules to be wary of if trying this as a strategy before GDC does?

To whomever posted this from 4336, thanks for bringing a smile to my face today. (No idea if GDC will be similarly bemused or if they’re just annoyed.)


I’d like to make a trip south to one of their Regionals just to see it.


R601 *Battery limit – everyone has the same power. The only legal source of electrical energy for the ROBOT during the competition, the ROBOT battery, must be 1 and only 1 non-spillable sealed lead acid (SLA) battery with the following specifications:

Like it or not, all living animals use a chemical process to create electrical energy. Used primarily in the brain and nervous system, but detectible with things like EKG machines :slight_smile:

R608 *Limit non-battery energy. Non-electrical sources of energy used by the ROBOT (i.e., stored at the start of a MATCH) shall come only from the following sources:

It does not list the chemical energy storage that mammals use on the list.

And finally, R203, General safety - pretty self explanatory there, we don’t want the monkey to get hurt by another robot!

Despite all that, I’d love to see the training a monkey goes through. Heck, lets just unleash one on an empty field and see how many cycles it can do!


The cones are similar enough to bananas right?


What if the monkey is considered a COTS part and the chemicals are an allowed internal battery?


G101 *Dangerous ROBOTS: not allowed. ROBOTS whose operation or design is dangerous or unsafe
are not permitted.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  1. uncontrolled motion that cannot be stopped by the DRIVE TEAM,
  2. ROBOT parts “flailing” outside of the FIELD,
  3. ROBOTS dragging their battery, and
  4. ROBOTS that consistently extend outside the FIELD.

Are trained monkies COTS?
Or do you just get a standard monkey and have your monkey-tamer mentor help a group of students with it?

Personally, I would be concerned with how to keep spares in the pit. you don’t want to have one critical part like that without a spare


I don’t think a monkey would be “controllable motion”.


For the F1 Fans: Gentlemen, a short view back to the past. Thirty years ago, Niki Lauda told us ‘take a monkey, place him into the cockpit and he is able to drive the car…


On our team, we have a technically FRC legal (weight-wise) student and we joke about putting him in the robot, maybe a bit too much.


One of my primary concerns is the COTS price limit, as I can’t think of any way to get a trained monkey for less than $600.


I know that the “human match” sometimes done to test the ball-counting at the start of each day last year was the highlight of helping out at the event for some volunteers. Having a human-vs.-monkey (or monkey vs. monkey) exhibition match at an event (or offseason) might be quite the fun sight.

Hmm… it may be that only standard monkeys are COTS, and so you run afoul of the fabrication schedule rules if you started training the monkey at any point before kickoff.

If properly trained, with the drive team sending it instructions via “non-powered signaling devices” (per H303-B), maybe it could be considered controlled enough? :wink:

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What is the appropriate monkey wage?

One cone for one banana seems high when you can get Phoenix Pro for the same cost per device.



Personally, I am of the opinion that we should have human matches, but the human players can only move around on hoverboards.

Does the monkey’s brain not count in part as a legal coprocessor?


I think it pretty obviously fails I101.


We’ve been poking at these rules a long time:

Feb 6, 1837: The Great Chess Automaton finally shown to be hoax


I don’t think you can qualify a monkey as COTS part. Even if you could find a qualified vendor at the sub $600 price point.

There is too much variation across monkeys, (weight, dna, personality, etc.) for the next monkey to be functionally equivalent to the previous monkey. With 1x2 tube, you can just grab the next piece. Monkeys, not so much. (Also, you want to be extra careful with grabbing the monkey. Those teeth are strong.)


If the monkey throws poo, I think that would violate G105, leaving parts on the field?


Interestingly, this is prohibited in the FTC game manual part 1, section RG201-F:

Those that contain animal-based materials (because of health and safety concerns)

but there is no similar prohibition against animals in the FRC game manual.


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