Team Update 1-15-2013

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 15:55

Yesterday’s Team Update, which modified G23 and added G23-1, generated some controversy. Obviously it was not articulated as clearly as we had intended. I want to explain a little bit about the ‘whys’ and ‘whats’ behind the changes, but first, I apologize on behalf of FRC for the confusion and frustration. We try very hard not to change rules after Kickoff, and only do so when we believe that rule changes are the lesser of all alternative evils. The alternative evils in this case were either many robots that unwittingly violate the rules week 1 resulting in excessive penalties or many Teams discouraged from even attempting to climb because of the overly and unnecessarily constrained problem. But, we really hope to see lots of climbing robots!

Our intent with the rule change was to broaden the design envelope on climbing robots, not narrow it.  See the recent answer to a related Q&A question.

In the words of one of our engineers, the new size cylinder rules are a superset of the old rules.  Put another way:  If you had designed a climbing robot legal under the old rules, it should still be legal under the new rules. If you can put any 54” right cylinder with a height of 84” around the robot, in any orientation, at any moment while it is climbing, and no part of the robot is more than 54” away from the base of the pyramid, your robot does not violate the new rules.

As I noted before, this blog is not an official source of the rules, but we hope that the new wording in the manual, and the answer we gave on the Q&A forum makes this more of a fun challenge (vs. frustrating) and much clearer.

Again, I apologize for the confusion, and thank you for your patience.


I’ll blog again soon.



Without going into detail our team would like to know how we would apply for a refund of our registration fee and withdraw from the competition this year?

We respectfully request a public answer to this question as we are not the only team that feels this way.

Given the nature of this question we also request to remain anonymous.

Awaiting your speedy response.

Refund details are available here, on the same page showing payment terms: If you have a question about your particular situation, you should contact or call (800) 871-8326. Of course, we hope you can find a way to stay with us and participate in a competition!

I am curious as to why you want to remain anonymous? Given the nature of the comment above about the 54" rule (which is apparently why you want a refund in the first place... if I can read between the lines...) why would you want a refund now.
Any solution you had before the reinterpretation of the rule would work now. I hope that your reaction is not based on a quick decision but you have carefully weighed your statement and responded. You obviously have wanted to make this a public issue instead of pursuing a refund on a private basis with FIRST.

I hope you stay in the program

As with life and future employment, we often get a set of specifications that we are required to adhere to and in many cases don't like. As a lead Mentor, my primary objective is to help students understand how to meet those specifications regardless of the situation. As a team, we adapt and overcome knowing all along we are doing the best we can. We do "whatever it takes". Just becuase we don't like the specifications doesn't mean we don't accept the challenge. Having a love for the kids, with over four weeks to go in the build season, it is upsetting to see a team "throwing in the towel.

Why does your team want a refund?

Could you clarify the meaning of "in any orientation." Words can be tricky and can mean many different things. For example, "in any orientation" may mean there is no central reference point on the robot but the 54" cylinder must fit around the robot relative to it's base. "In any orientation" could also mean that a robot which was climbing on it's base may be able to fit through a 54" cylinder running relative to the rear of the robot. In example 1 the robot would not be allowed to extend past the 54" relative to its base but could in the 2nd if 54" was satisfied in another way. Thank you!

As this is a rules question, I won't be answering it here. Please submit your question through the official Q&A system here:

The rules never select a specific point, is there a certain point on the robot that will be measured by the inspectors?

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