Sunday, September 21, 2014

FLL - World Class: Robot Game Rules Highlights...

In this year's 2014 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Challenge Handbook there are some new "Rules Clarifications." List below are the highlights from the Robot Game Rules. Coaches and teams be sure to read the Handbook carefully.

Status Definitions
26 - Autonomous  Offline - * Following every time you start (or restart) the robot, it is “autonomous” and allowed to perform. — All strategic changes to the field outside Base must be caused by an autonomous robot (never by an offline robot, and never by your hands). When you next touch your autonomous robot, it is “offline” and must be restarted from Base. * While offline, the robot is okay to handle per Rule 41 and restart per Rules 39 and 40 when you’re ready.

Robot Action Rules
29 - Success, Loss, Failure, and Chaos - Anything your autonomous robot does to your field outside Base (good or bad) stays that way, unless the ROBOT changes it. Exception: Rule 50. n Mission models are not fixed or reset. Stray objects are not moved out of the robot’s way. * Cargo the robot loses contact with outside Base is left/stranded wherever it comes to rest. So… The robot can ruin its own opportunity to accomplish tasks, and can even spoil previous results.
30 - Model Damage - * Model damage is when a model outside Base is made defective and/or its Dual Lock is separated by an autonomous robot. (It can also happen when a fashion runway collapses!) * Model damage is not repaired during the match (Rule 29). Exception: Rule 50. * If a model is put into a scoring condition, but is damaged in the process, the mission marked scoreless. * If instead the scoring model gets damaged during an obviously unrelated action later (even just seconds later). If the scoring condition is still visible, it can still score. * If the scoring condition is no longer visible, it can not score. * Any scoring success which obviously depended on model damage is marked scoreless. * Any model damage obviously due to poor field setup/maintenance is scored with benefit of the doubt.
32 - Junk Penalty - A junk penalty is given at the end of the match for each strategic object abandoned outside Base.
33 - Sprawl Penalty [Match End-Based] - * A sprawl penalty occurs at the end of the match if either: n the robot’s max dimension is obviously greater than twice the (south/north) width of Base. * a strategic object extends out of Base obviously farther than the (south/north) width of Base.
Penalties If a Robot, Sprawl, or Junk penalty earned (as described in the Rules), the referee keeps account by obvious placement of these penalty markers in some manner as to stay out of the way of you and your robot. Loss of cargo is its own penalty. Robot, Sprawl, or Junk Penalty: -10 EACH (Max Penalties Of These Types = -80)
39 - Start/Restart Position - * For the match start and all restarts: n EVERY BIT of the robot, including its installed attachments & wires, and everything touching it, and any objects it is about to move or use, must ALL fit COMPLETELY in Base. * The ROBOT may be touching objects it is about to move or use, but your HANDS may not. * The robot’s program may or may not already be running, but everything must be motionless. * If the robot is about to move a mission model from Base, you must be able to pick that model up and have NOTHING come with it (only do this if asked). * You may design/use a LEGO frame/“jig” to aim the robot, but its use must be completely in Base at all times, and you must let go of it prior to starting/restarting. You may not mark the mat nor use paper for aiming.
50 - Reversible Changes - * When things such as a sleeve, table-bump, renegade offline robot, or illegal action disturb the field in a non-trivial way, the referee physically reverses the change if he or she feels that’s easy. In cases where the change is too hard to undo… * If the accident was the team’s fault, negative scoring effects stand, and positive scoring effects do not. * If the accident was not the team’s fault, the team gets benefit of the doubt on all dependent scoring.

End of Match/Scoring 
51 - The Scoring Process n END-OF-MATCH SCORING - * Most of your score depends on the conditions at the exact time the match ends. n The field is the evidence of most of your score... When the match ends, PLEASE DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING! The referee first needs time to record the condition of the field on a score sheet and come to agreement with you (kids only) about what points were scored or missed and why. * Points aren’t given for results the robot produces during the match but then trashes before the end. * Points are not given nor taken away for results produced after the match end signal ends. * If you agree with the score, you sign the sheet, and the score is final. * If you don’t agree, tell the referee nicely. Referees can be wrong, and when they are, they want to know. * After a short discussion, if the referee is not sure about the score, the head referee makes the final decision. n MID-MATCH SCORING - Sometimes part of your score is permanently determined during the match instead of at the end. EXAMPLE: When a mission is required to be achieved through a specific method, but is achieved by some other method, it is marked scoreless. Please don’t try to show video to the referees. EXAMPLE: If the robot puts Model A into a scoring condition by destroying Model B, the Model A mission is marked scoreless. EXAMPLE: If the robot is required to drive over something in the middle of the match, the referee will mark the score for that when it happens, since no lingering evidence will be visible. * TIE BREAKING - Ties are broken using 2nd, then 3rd highest scores. In the rare occasion of a tie across all three matches, tournament officials decide what to do. Options include simply awarding multiple same-place awards. * ACCIDENTAL REMOVAL - Please don’t walk away with mission models from the competition field, and bring them back quickly if you do. Thanks.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

FLL - World Class: Mindstorms Tutorials...

FIRST LEGO League Rookie teams (and new instructors to LEGO Mindstorms Robotics) looking for some good tutorials for LEGO Mindstorms robotics RCX (yes, some folks still use it sometimes - I do), NXT, and the new EV3?

Check out: 

It presents in video/slide presentations the basics of programming for these Mindstorms kits. It also has a little challenge exercise at the end of some of the programming lessons. Once you have gone through the basics, there is also an Advanced Section for Intermediate to Advanced programming.