Jack’s Judgements


Official Rulings by the Australian FLL Head Referee

Last Updated 9:20 pm on 09/08/2019

Important Note:

These are official rulings and clarifications that apply to all FLL tournaments in Australia. However, they can be overruled by official updates from FIRST (found here). Check regularly for updates. Please note that the City Shaper Season contains a number of new rules which are VERY different from previous seasons.

Further questions  can be asked at the FLL Australia Help Forum, or Contact Us if you have a question which you would like to submit directly to the Australian Head Referee.

 

Rule Clarification #1: Interrupting the Robot and Home

Question: If you Interrupt the robot anywhere outside Home you lose a precision token. Does that mean the robot would have to return to Home before the technicians are allowed to touch/re-launch it? Does the robot have to come to a complete stop in the launch area for it not to be considered interrupting?

Quick Answers:

  • The concept of “Base” does not exist this year. There is only the Launch Area and Home.
  • Robots must be launched from completely within the Launch Area (and under the height limit).
  • Robots do NOT return to the Launch Area. They return to Home and must be completely inside Home for the technicians to touch them without losing a precision token.
  • The height limit does not apply to returning robots.
  • Robot motion in Home is not important.

Longer Explanation:
The Rules that apply here are:

Rule 22: Don’t interact with any part of the Field that’s not completely in Home, except to Launch.
Rule 27: INTERRUPTION PROCEDURE – If you Interrupt the Robot, stop it instantly, then calmly pick it up for the next Launch.
Where was the Robot Interrupted?

➔ Completely in Home: No problem.
➔ Not Completely in Home: Lose a Precision Token.

From Rules 22 and 27, technicians can launch from the Launch Area, but the robot must be completely in Home before they touch it again – the Launch area plays no part in this scenario. There’s nothing about the robot having to come to a complete stop in Home – the kids can grab it as soon as it is in the boundaries of the Home area.

We’ve been in contact with FIRST on the use of the Launch Area and received the following explanation: “The instant the technician loses contact with the RUN button, the Launch Area loses all its status and becomes no more special than say, the middle or east of the Field.  It’s just another region outside Home, where you’re not allowed to touch things by hand”

Rule Clarification #2: Launch Area and Re-Launching

Question: Can the robot return to the Launch Area for the Technicians to prepare for the next Launch? In this case, aren’t you technically preparing the next launch?

Quick Answer: Unfortunately, once you launch the robot you can’t touch it again until it is completely inside HOME (not the Launch Area). Only then are you able to prepare it for the new launch.

Longer Explanation: The rules that apply here are:

Definition 09: INTERRUPTION – The next time you interact with the Robot after Launch.
Rule 14: You can only safely touch the Robot while preparing to Launch, or when it’s completely in Home.
Rule 27: INTERRUPTION PROCEDURE – If you Interrupt the Robot, stop it instantly, then calmly pick it up for the next Launch.
Where was the Robot Interrupted?

➔ Completely in Home: No problem.
➔ Not Completely in Home: Lose a Precision Token.

If you touch the robot after Launch, you are Interrupting it (09). If you interrupt the robot outside of Home, you lose a precision token (27). There’s nothing in Rule 27 that makes allowances for an Interruption outside of Home.

 

 

Judgement #1: Launch Area and use of Aiming Jigs

Question: I am a bit confused about how the Launch Area works. If a team uses an aiming jig in the Launch Area, is it legal for the team to pick up the jig after the robot has left the Launch Area?

Quick Answer: We had to look hard at the new rules to answer this question. After consulting with FIRST, we came to the following ruling:

  • You may place down an aiming jig in the Launch Area to assist with launching the robot.
  • You may remove an aiming jig from the Launch Area before launching the robot.
  • You may NOT pick up the aiming jig after the robot has been launched.
  • You CAN pick up the aiming jig from the Launch Area after the robot has returned Home and you are setting up for a re-launch.

Longer Explanation: To understand this ruling, look at how Rules 21 – 23 describe the restrictions on launching and moving equipment/mission models outside of home.

Rule 21: Launch sequence
READY SITUATION: Your Robot and everything it’s about to move or use is arranged as you like. It must fit completely in the Launch Area and measure no taller than 12 in (30.5 cm).
Rule 22: Don’t interact with any part of the Field that’s not completely in Home, except to Launch.
Rule 23: Don’t cause anything except the Robot to move or extend out of Home, even partly, except to Launch.

Rule 8 defines a launch as follows:

Definition 08. LAUNCH – Whenever you’re done handling the Robot and then you make it GO.

Basically, once the robot “goes”, any equipment it leaves behind is no longer being used “to launch” and can’t be interacted with.

We checked in with the FIRST Robot Game team on our Judgment, and the response was as follows: “The instant the technician loses contact with the RUN button, the Launch Area loses all its status and becomes no more special than say, the middle or east of the Field.  It’s just another region outside Home, where you’re not allowed to touch things by hand.  UNTIL…  the technicians are once again between Launches.  That’s my story for now.  Keep an eye on the Updates in case I need to eat my words.”

This is the Judgment that stands unless an update is made! Keep an eye on the City Shaper Challenge Page for updates.

Judgement #2: Some Technicians Have Big Hands

Question: The rules are pretty clear on putting Equipment in Home/Launch Area after inspection. There’s nothing said about Technicians holding Equipment during/after a match – which means the equipment is not in Home or Launch Area. Does this mean there are no storage-tables at a tournament? Can Technicians lift Equipment out of the way so a Robot can return Home?

Quick Answer: There are no longer any storage-tables at a tournament. Teams have to store ALL their Equipment in Home. This translates into the following guidelines:

  • Before Game: All Equipment must be in Home or Launch Area
  • During Game: Technicians can pick up:
    • In Home: All Equipment
    • Outside Home after Launch: Robot with Precision Token loss, also any unintentional broken parts
    • In Launch area after Interruption / before next Launch:  Equipment in Launch area.
  • After Game: All Equipment must be a) in Home b) in the Launch Area (for a launch that didn’t happen) or c) on the field (after a successful Launch)

Longer Explanation: Rule 19 says “After passing Inspection, arrange your Equipment anywhere in Home for storage and adjustments, and/or the Launch Area for Launch.”.