We can extend beyond the playing field with our ball-knocker-offer???

Before I have to brief my team about the WRONG path that I led them down and pay the ultimate price (one million dozen Krispy Kreme donuts), I would like your opinion on rule G04 that states

ROBOT mechanisms used to remove the BONUS BALLS may extend beyond the playing field border as long as they are within the vertical pipe structure surrounding the BALL TEES. If a BONUS BALL is removed from the BALL TEE by a ROBOT that violates this rule, a 25 point penalty will be deducted from that alliance’s final score.

This rule was interpreted by my team to mean that if our “ball-knocker-offer” is extended beyond the side boundary, flexes as it goes by the vertical pipe that frames the 10 point balls, and ultimately knocks off a 10 point ball then we would be penalized 25 points. I have just learned that many teams are using this strategy. I must admit I’m feeling like an idiot because I obviously missed something.

Please let me know what I missed and send all of your extra Krispy Kreme donuts to 555 Pennsylvania Blvd, Houston, TX.


your question is a little fuzzy - to get the release ball your robot can only reach through the opening infront of the balls - see the playfield drawings in the manual to see what Im referring to

if you hit the release ball by reaching around the opening, deliberately or by wayward auton mode, the small balls will still fall, but you will get a 25 point penalty

maybe your students saw that happen, and did not realize they also got a penalty?

BTW, your robot can extend out over the sides of the playfield at any point in the game, but if you touch the floor your robot will be disabled for the rest of the match.

if that is the best your bot can do - get the ball from the side and incurre the penalty, I guess thats better than not having the balls drop for 45 seconds? maybe? if you cap the goal thats only a 2.5 ball penalty, right?

From your description, it sounds ok, as long as the flexible appendage does not touch the outside of the field; carpet, supports, or a volunteer. Lol
But if the “appendage” hits the ball from the outside of the tee frame, a 25 point penalty will be given.

I will send you my address for the KKs.

I think it’s illegal and should cost 25pts. You’re definitely extending outside the field and not within the constraints of the bars that contain the 10pt balls.

[edit]To respond to someone’s question above. The issue is whether or not it is legal for a robot to extend a flexible device outside the boundaries of the field and drive alongside the field to the 10pt ball. The flexible device would bend at the vertical frame that contains the balls and would thus ‘flap’ into a ball. I definitely think this is illegal… having anything outside the field is bad. I think FIRST’s rule clearly says that the only time you may legally extend outside the field during autonomous is when your extension is within the frame that holds the bonus balls. Otherwise, it’s a safety hazard and will cost you 25 points. Team 254’s autonomous video does something very similar to what I described above. I’m not sure whether it extends outside the field though.[/edit]

oh wait - I see what you mean

your asking if the restriction is only the vertical pipes?

can you reach over the opening as long as you are between the vertical pipes when you hit the ball?

oooooh that is interesting - what do they mean by the vertical pipe structure? does that include the horizontal pipes?!

I think FIRST’s rule clearly says that the only time you may legally extend outside the field during autonomous is when your extension is within the frame…

no! it doesnt say that!

it says you get the penalty ONLY if you get the release ball that way.

other wise if someones auton mode went off a little, and poked at the ball outside the bars, then they would get a 25 point penalty

but its ok for your bot to extend outside the field borders in driver mode as long as you dont touch the floor, or reach into the drivers area

so why would you incurred a 25 point penalty for doing that in auton mode?

that would be unnecessarily strict and would be a double strike against a team whos auton missed the ball by a few feet - the balls dont fall AND they get a 25 point penalty! :ahh:

You may only remove a Bonus Ball by using a mechanism that protrudes through the Ball Tee Frame - not around it. (i.e., not from the left, right, or top)

The intent of this is twofold - as a safety rule and to protect the fragile components of the tee frame (sensors and lights).



No, it says that you get the penalty if:

where “this rule” means:

That means that, if your mechanism that knocks the ball off extends past the field border while not within the pipe structure, you are in violation. If a robot violates the rule, then knocks the ball off, that’s a penalty. It might not have been the way that it’s been called, but this is the way that it’s been written.

If a BONUS BALL is removed

thats what I said

if the ball IS REMOVED (then you get the penalty)

not just if you extend past the field border

you are reading more into it than it says


Here’s where the rule is fuzzy to me, and I would like your “insider” interpretation.

(BTW, I have seen this happen at competitions this year):

A robot starts heading toward the 10 pt bonus ball. The robot extends a small flexible arm off of the side of it’s robot. This arm extends beyond the field boundaries. As the robot drives by the Vertical Pipe Structure (VPS), the VPS causes the flexible arm to bend (forcing the arm to go out of the way of the VPS). Once the robot clears the VPS, the flexible arm snaps back and then removes the bonus ball (now the arm is within the VPS).

Here is why the rule is fuzzy:

Rule: "ROBOT mechanisms used to remove the BONUS BALLS may extend beyond the playing field border as long as they are within the vertical pipe structure surrounding the BALL TEES. If a BONUS BALL is removed from the BALL TEE by a ROBOT that violates this rule, a 25 point penalty will be deducted from that alliance’s final score. "

  1. The mechanism does extend beyond the playing field border (outside of the vertical pipe structure).
  2. The mechanism is used to remove the bonus ball.
    (here’s the tricky part)
  3. When the bonus ball is being removed, the mechanism is within the vertical pipe structure.

Here is what is not clear: The rule states that the mechanism may not extend beyone the playing field border unless it is within the vertical pipe structure. Does that mean: a) it can NEVER extend beyond the field border; or b) it can extend beyond the field border, just as long as it is within the vertical pipe structure while removing the ball.

Lastly, does the mechanism I describe above violate the rule of not designing a mechanism to purposely react off of the playing field border (because this mechanism uses the vertical pipe structure to deflect the little flexible arm.

To be honest, if teams use the flexible arm mechanism, I don’t care all that much, but I would like to know your opinion.

Not to beat a dead horse, but, I already have my bat out and everything, so here goes…

As it’s written:

As it should be written, if the intent is what Ken (and others) have said:

As it should be written, if the intent is what Lucien and I think:

At the very least, this requires some clarification - it’s starting to look like the tape measure controvery from two years ago - where a cheap, light, simple and obvious solution (curb feelers, in this case) that was apparently outlawed by the rules (causing teams to turn to expensive, heavy, and complicated solutions) turned out to be legal after all.

so then by your definition, if any part of my robot extends out of the field in my first match, then I get the release ball with that same part in the second match, I get the penalty, because that part extended at some point in the past, so my robot ‘has violated the rule’

so everytime I get the release ball in every match after match 1, i get a 25 point penalty, even if i reach through the opening.

it should say, if the party of the first part builds a machine, mechanism, device…

I think this thread has gone to the lawyers- as the game was demo’d at the kickoff the intent was clear, you have to reach through, you cant reach around.

Nope, not gonna bite.

And the reasoning behind that rule is one of safety - if the people on the sidelines are expecting robots to come through the hole in the side of the field, then they can just avoid that part of the field. But now, we can have the curb feeler that conks every one of the judges, refs, and field resetters on the head on the way to the ball, and then folds back and gets the ball too. Even if it is following the letter of the rule (which is what the ruling will probably be if there is one), the intent is being violated.

I completely agree with Kris. The reason there is a ‘cage’ around the bonus balls is for the protection of the referees and volunteers. Although some of those ‘flappy’ mechanisms aren’t dangerous, they still violate the rules by extending outside of the field. There shouldn’t be an exception to the rule. If your robot breaks the plane of the ball corral by just an inch, you lose points. Robots that extend outside the field while attempting to remove a bonus ball should be penalized, regardless of whether it was accidental or intentional.

There’s a subtle point here - if the team extends beyond the border while attempting to hit the ball and misses the cage (accidental), then they are already penalized by not having their balls drop. But, if a team extends beyond the field and also gets the balls to drop, they are benefitting their position through the breaking of a rule, which is forbidden, so the extra penalty is warrented.

How I interpret the rules in this case is that you could have something that stuck past the field border retracted before the pvc frame and then extend again to knock off the bonus ball.

The knocking the ball off without being inside the frame is where the 25 point penalty would apply. Very obvious.

Also, the first example of sticking an arm that was pushed back by the frame and then extended again to hit the bonus ball would be illegal. You can not react off of the field border or any other part of the field except the lip of the mobile goal and the hanging bar. I would say this would warrant a penalty of some sort but not the 25 pt penalty since you knock the ball within the frame. But I think it would merit a DQ.

Play within the framework of the game. There are many hardworking volunteers, cameramen and referees working on the sideline who won’t be prepared for such a device and their safety is a sake.

Uh, the proof is in…

What’s happened at the two weekends of regionals we’ve already had? Have “flapping” ball-knockers been penalized?

-Mr. Van
Coach, 599

I haven’t seen one in the 3 1/2 regionals I’ve watched. At least not one that reacts off the playing field. But I believe they should be penalized if they do.

I don’t think I’ve seen someone get the 25 point penalty for knocking ball off without being in the ball tee framework either.

Actually…to be truthful. I haven’t seen a lot of things happen in autonomous mode.

comeon people, be serious!

there is a barrier around the playfield that keeps spectataors and the judges away, the only ones who stand close to the field are the refs

in the driver mode part of the game your robot CAN EXTEND out past the edge of the field as long as it doesnt touch the ground - you could have your ten foot arm hanging out OFF the field and no violation or penalty occurs unless you touch the floor

if this were a safety issue then as soon as your bot extended past the field border the refs would do what they do for ALL the safety issues - they would turn your bot off

or you would get -25 points as soon as a tiewrap broke the plane of the side of the field - this is absurd

the idea is you have to get the balls by reaching through the opening -watch the refs while the game is playing - they wont stand anywhere near the bots - they know better

ive seen the refs standing on the edge of the corral looking to see if a bot breaks the plane of the opening - I have never seen a ref sighting alone the edge of the playfield to see if a tiewrap breaks the plane of the field edge outside the release ball opening.


I completely understand all of this. I’m only talking about the first example being illegal because the robot reacts off the playing field, the framework of the ball tee.

You can extend a reasonable amount outside the playing field without a problem at all, as long as you don’t touch the carpet.

If the extension out of the field was unreasonable you would immediately be DQed for the safety of the judges, announcers, and, of course, VIPs.

And there are other people close to the playing field during match other than refs. This includes cameramen and Dean Kamen at St. Louis.