Frequently Asked QuestionsWe have experienced email problems which are now resolved, which resulted in the delay of answering many questions. Please resubmit any questions sent before 10/14/10, which have not been answered.
The Rules have been updated to 1.1 as of now.
Q1: Could you also tell me more about where the mounting holes will be located in the hallway. You said at "various locations", just wondering if you could give me a better idea.
A: The location of the mounting holes in the hallway will not be specified.
Q2: Could you elaborate more on the construction of the obstacles? Something akin to the "physical characteristics" you guys gave in the Victim section. We want to build some, again for our development, and would like to be as accurate as possible.
A: See section IX.F for suggestions regarding obstacle construction.
Q3: Will the surface of the course be rough plywood or a smoother surface?
A: All tracks will be made with similar sheets of plywood bought from local lumber stores.
Q4: Is there a schematic available for the victim and hazard circuits, so as to re-create the course as closely as possible to the competition specifications?
A: No, schematic diagrams will not be provided.
Q5: What are the precise dimensions of the course? We understand those were listed in the rules but 100 cm for each of the 2 rooms, 2 cm for each of 4 walls, and 40 cm for a hallway doesn't add up to 240 cm.
A: The thickness of the interior walls was inadvertently omitted from the total course size computation. The correct value is 2.44 m, not 2.4 m (Rule III.A). Corrections to the rules and figures will be posted at a later date.
Q6: Will the unspecified items in the document be clarified soon, if at all?
A: No, these are intentionally left unspecified. We will try to maintain consistency between test and competition courses.
Q7: Will the obstacles ever cover up the painted lines in the rooms such that the robot must navigate the room completely independent of the yellow lines?
A: Yes, the obstacles may cover portions of the lines.
Q8: Will the playing surface be lying on the floor or will it be raised?
A: It will be on a frame which will raise it at least 9 cm above the floor. The course may be significantly higher if on a table or support structure.
Q9: Do you have a specific model number for the LEDs being used, and how much current is going to be supplied to them (how bright)?
A: The LED part number and the current will be left unspecified.
Q10: Section III.E says that the northeast corner is (10, 10). Shouldn't the northeast corner be (9, 9)?
A: The grid begins and ends exactly in the room corners. The victims will be placed where grid lines cross. This means the possible victim locations range from (1, 1) to (9, 9). Note that the grid is not visible (it is not painted on the course). This clarification will be included in a future rule update.
Q11: Does Section III.P mean that there will always be room to go around an obstacle (even the 2cm x 2cm obstacles)? In other words, will the robot ever be required to go over an obstacle to get to a room?
A: Yes, robots may be required to drive over a 2 cm x 2 cm obstacle.
Q12: Perhaps I just missed this, but does it state anywhere what the total number of victims will be for the course?
A: Section V.A states that there can be up to 3 victims per room. The total number of victims is not fixed but will remain constant within a round.
Q13: Will the victims all be placed vertically, or could they be in any orientation? Will the orientation be based on dead or alive? (i.e. alive vertical, dead horizontal)
A: The axis of the cylinder will be vertical for all victims.
Q14: Do you know exactly where the competition will be? What kind of lights - florescent, incandescent?
A: We do not know the type or intensity of the lighting used in the room.
Q15: Is there a limit on the number of objects in a room?
A: No, but there will be a fixed number of obstacles per round.
Q16: The obstacles are given width and height specifications. Will the height always be the vertical dimension?
Q17: Could you post for us more detailed plans on constructing the 2 coils that will be used in the competition? What type of wire (gauge, solid vs. stranded) is used to create the coil? Do you have a schematic for victim construction that you will let us see? How will the victims be set up for the competition (in terms of circuit design)?
A: No. As one of our professors says, “This will be left as an exercise for the student.”
Q18: Is there a possibility that victims can be located within the hazard?
Q19: Is there any physical indication of the hazard above the floor of the course?
Q20: Will the hazard always be at the center of the room? Does this represent the coordinates of 5,5?
A: Section III.R states that the hazard is centered in the room. (The center of the room is coordinate (5, 5)). For hazard location scoring purposes, only the number of the room containing the hazard needs to be reported.
Q21: Would you post some pictures of a course you have built online to make things clearer?
Q22: Are you using 1"x10"'s for the walls, or cutting up plywood?
A: The material used for the walls is left unspecified.
Q23: With the PVC drain cap laying on the playing field as a victim, is it true that the NDS logo and ‘ 3” cap’ specification stamped on the drain cap can be read without moving the victim? (assuming the logo and specs have not been removed or painted over)
A: We are not sure we understand the question, but do not assume that the logo will be visible.
Q24: Is it true that at the narrowest point in the passageway there will be at least XX cm of available width for the robot to pass without any obstacles? What is the minimum clearance around obstacles in the horizontal plane and in the vertical direction at all time?
A: There will be a minimum horizontal clearance of 25 cm for robots to navigate around the 9 cm high obstacles.
Q25: What is the depth of the mounting holes?
A: This will not be specified.
Q26: I do not understand the specification for the product of current/loop and the number of loops specification. Is that the NI term in the magnetic field equation for a solenoid (so 60 turns means a current of 1/60 mA)? I see that radius is given and is constant, yet the length is not given. Can you clarify this please?
A: Yes, the product N*I is 1 mA. The coil length is small compared to the diameter.
Q27: Will the start area be marked on the course in any physical manner?
A: Yes, this will be addressed in a future rule update.
Q28: Where are all of the measurements measured from? (from outside the outer wall, from inside the outer wall, etc)?
A: All measurements are taken from the inside of the outer wall.
Q29: Could you please tell us the geometry of the antennas on the victims? If they are not isotropic, could you tell us the orientation of them? Could you also tell us something about the field strength?
A: The coil is the antenna.
Q30: Section V.E states, "Victims have a green LED with a relatively wide viewing angle. The LED is pointed upwards, centered in the victim, with the top of the LED even with the top of the victim, and with no objects blocking the view of the LED." Does this mean the LED diffuser is recessed into the victim, or that the base of the diffuser is even with the top of the victim?
A: The top of the LED (the highest part of the LED) is even with the top of the victim.
Q31: Can you go into more detail on the format for the robot's display?
A: Yes. Please ask a more specific question.
Q32: Do we have a choice between whether we can use a numerical format for the display or an alphabetical format?
A: The particular display technology choice is left up to each team but a decimal digit format is required when reporting room numbers, coordinates, and victim status. Because the display is used for scoring, it must be easily readable by the judges during the competition while the robot is in motion.
Q33: For the LCD display, is that the display height or the character height?
A: The 2.5 cm height refers to the character height. Also see question 32.
Q34: Can we buy a robot that is prefabricated with wheels and a body and then the team do all the programming and adding of the hardware to the robot?
Q35: Are we allowed to utilize an Android based phone?
A: Yes, but you are required to disable any wireless communications during each round.
Q36: Is there a penalty levied against the team if the robot enters the hazard?
Q37: Is there a penalty if my robot touches the victim?
A: No, as long as the course and victim are not damaged.
Q38: The rules state that the spoken form will be transmitted over a PA. Does this mean that a microphone will be attached near my robot's speaker? How will this implemented at the competition?
A: No, microphones will not be attached to the robots.
Q39: Will I be able to choose the orientation and placement of the robot within the starting area? If not, how will my robot be placed and oriented?
A: Yes, as long as the robot is within the starting area.
Q40: How will a "nonexistent" victim be differentiated from location error? (I am hoping this kind of penalty would only be assessed if a victim is declared in a room where there are no victims)
A: A nonexistent victim penalty will be assessed for each victim report exceeding the number of actual victims in the room.
Q41: The specified Lowe's part number for the 3" drain cap for the victims is a 18" iron downrod. I'm having a lot of trouble finding this part. Lowe's does not have it anywhere on their website and our local Lowe's store does not carry it. Is this the same situation with other schools? Will this part stay the same, and if so, how are people acquiring it?
A: We hope the following information will help you locate the correct product. The NDS 3P06 3" PVC Drain Cap is, as of Nov. 10, still available at our local Lowe's store in the "Sewer and Drain Fittings" section which is next to "Outdoor Drainage". It is Lowe's Model# L3P06. Although it is next to the plumbing section it is a different product than the normal plumbing PVC cap. Sewer and Drain fittings are for systems which are not under pressure and are thinner and of a slightly different design; in particular the end of the drain cap is flat instead of rounded so it will sit flat on the surface of the course. Here are a few websites as well that you can order the part from:
Q42: It says that mounting holes will be 0.5 cm, and it says that the holes will be used to mount the obstacles and victims. How will these objects actually be connected to the mounting holes?
A: Victims and obstacles will have wooden dowels attached to them. These dowels will be placed into the holes to stabilize the victims and obstacles.
Q43: For displaying the position of the victim, is the position with respect to each room, or respect to the entire playing field? How do you want the position to be displayed?
A: Position will be displayed with respect to the room. If a victim is in Room 4, in coordinates (3,6), and is conscious the display should read [4 3 6 2].
Q44: Is it allowed to have a bluetooth communication between 2 boards within the robot?
A: No, it is stated all wireless communication must be disabled during a round.
Q45: "The plane of the coil will be parallel to the floor of the room and no more than 5 cm below it. The shape is a square, 40 cm wide x 40 cm long, centered in the room and the square is oriented such that the sides of the coil will be parallel to the sides of the course." Does this mean that the whole square will be cut out of or raised from the course and therefore there is no penalty because the robot will have fallen or hit it, which is penalty enough?
A: You cannot see or contact the hazard because it is located underneath the surface of the course.
Q46: Will the drain cap that represents the victim be placed with the opening facing upward and the flat side flat against the ground? Or with the opening facing downward and the flat part facing upward (meaning we have to drill a hole in the cap for the LED to fit in)?
A: The opening will face upwards and the flat surface will be against the course.
Q47: Does the information reported on the display have to be displayed all at once or can the room, position, and state of the victim be displayed one at a time? Such as
A: All information pertaining to a single victim must be simultaneously displayed. This is to make judging easier.
Q48: Does the room coordinate have to display the parenthesis?
Q49: In reporting the location of the hazard, are we supposed to give a grid location of the hazard or just what room the hazard resides in?
A: Giving the room number of the hazard is sufficient.
Q50: The competition rules state that 150 points will be awarded for "clear, intelligible, audio". The rules do not specify whether the audio has to be in regard to the victim, room or victim status. We would like clarification on whether points are awarded for purely clear and intelligible output, or whether the audio has to be related to victim, room or victim status.
A: Points will be awarded for reporting at least one clear and intelligible message pertaining to a victim or hazard. This information does not have to be correct, but it must be clear and intelligible.
Q51: By reading the rules, I am led to believe that there is no core associated with the coils used to produce the fields of both the victims and the hazards. Is this true?
Q52: From my understanding of the rules, the victim transmitter is a cylindrical solenoid with a diameter of 8 cm and the height of the victim is 4.1 cm. The rules also say the coil will be between 2 and 3 cm above the surface of the floor. Assuming the victim is resting on the floor, does this mean the coil will protrude over the victim (PVC pipe) by approx. 6.6 cm?
A: The axis of the coil is vertical; therefore, the turn(s) of the coil are confined to 2 to 3 cm above the surface of the course..
Q53: Dealing with the hazard, when the rules state it will be a square, does this mean it will be a cylindrical solenoid, in the shape of a square, or will it be a coil of wire who’s plane is vertical in the shape of a square?
A: The axis of the coil is vertical; therefore, the turn(s) of the coil are in a horizontal plane just below the surface of the course (See FAQs Q.20). The coil will be in the shape of a square, not a circle.
Q54: It's stated "product of the number of turns and the current through each turn is 1 mA" so we have a total of 1mA of current running though the full coil?
A: If the coil has 1 turn you have X current, if the coil has 2 turns you have X/2 current. In each case the product of the current times the number of turns is X.
Q55: What polarization is being used. (Horz, Vert, LH, RH, etc). What are the antenna characteristics for near and far radiation at the frequency in question(ie, omni, directional, are the side lobes such that it can be picked up above the antenna element. What is the orientation of the element in the victim. What is the power density of the antenna.
A: We have described the current through the coil and the physical characteristics of the coil, the characteristics of the electromagnetic field can be determined from this information.
Q56: When will the rules be updated?
Q57: Will the wiring of the green LED be visible since the drain cap is open upwards or will the wiring be covered by something white?
A: There is no cover over the circuitry. The solder mask used on the circuit board is red.
Q58: Will the LEDs for the victims be running at their rated voltage/current levels to insure maximum visibility?
A: LEDs will be run at a normal operating current.
Q59: Will there be any materials in the construction of the course/arena, such as brackets, screws, etc, be metallic or be made of a material that can interfere with electromagnetic signal?
A: Yes, there are screws and possibly other metallic material; however, the effects of these materials should be insignificant.
Q60: When do we need to announce and display the victims location and status? As soon as we find it, or anytime throughout the round?
A: This was not specified in the rules; however, we suggest that victim information be announced in a timely manner to inform the audience, aid judges in scoring, stay within time constraints, and avoid potential loss of points due to hardware failure before victim information is displayed and/or announced.
Q61: It says if there is a tie between teams then the time will be the tie breaker. When are you considered completely finished with the round? Do we need to go back to the starting position to be considered finished?
A: There is no set location the robot must return to to be considered finished, it is up to the team captain to call time when the robot is finished searching and reporting information.
Q62: Will we always be able to go around objects or will we possibly have to climb over some of them?
A: See FAQs Q11
Q63: Can the display for the robot be facing outward from the side of our robot?
A: The display needs to be readable from above so judges are able to see the output without moving around the course.
Q64: The rules state that the spoken form will be transmitted over a PA. How will this be implemented in competition?
A: A microphone will be placed above the course to transmit the audio; details have not been decided on at this time.
Q65: It says in the FAQ "For hazard location scoring purposes, only the number of the room containing the hazard needs to be reported." I'm using a quad 7segment display. While displaying the room location using one digit, will I be allowed to set the rest to display zero and still be valid?
A: Yes, leading zeros are acceptable.
Q66: Do team members have to have IEEE membership to participate in the competition?
Q67: Will there be a practice room for all the teams to work on/test their robots in? And will that room be open all night for our use?
A: Yes there will be a practice room open to all teams beginning Friday the 18th at 9:00 am. This room will be open all day and all night.
Q68: Would we be allowed to bring our own practice board for testing purposes?
A: The amount of space available in the test room is limited so we ask that teams not bring their own tracks into the practice room. We will have 4 complete tracks available for testing purposes.
Q69: From VII: "The display height should be at least 2.5 cm" Does this mean the display should be 2.5 cm above the floor, or that the numbers we are displaying should be 2.5 cm tall?
A: The numbers you are displaying should be 2.5 cm tall and the display should be placed on top of the robot for easy reading by judges.