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2007 Challenge Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Please check this site frequently. Any notifications and/or clarifications for the 2007 Missions will be posted here as soon as they become available for all to see. Answers will not be returned through e-mail.

If you have a question about a mission or the challenge in general please click on the "Questions?" link to the left and fill out the FAQ form. This method will help us answer questions more efficiently and archive questions and comments for use in future planning. Please do not send questions through e-mail. Thank you!

When asking questions, please keep in mind that the FAQ page is meant to address questions about the basic design and fundamental rules and goals of the missions. The missions are designed to encourage teams to think about alternative ways to design and program their robots to complete specified tasks. Exact reproduction of the courses is not necessary and is not encouraged. On trial day, each team will have the opportunity to ask detailed questions about the courses and visit with the course designers. Teams will also have time to test their robots on each course and make modifications to their designs and programs as needed. Mindstorms robots are meant to be autonomous - they should react to their environment. For example, if the tape is not in the exact position as noted, the robot should not be affected. Also, note that there is a 1/8" tolerance on the building of all courses.

Please note that many dimensions were modified to the drawings after the original posting. If you printed the drawings after Christmas, your drawings are the latest.

Topic Question Answer
General What happens if one of the team members is sick the day of the competition and that makes our team below the 8 required? You need at least 8 registered team members present on challenge day to be eligible for the final trophy awards. If something happens to make it so that less than 8 show up then they are MORE than welcome to compete with fewer they just won't be eligible for trophies.
Ramp It! The drawing dimensions do not seem correct.

The total length is approximately 92.5" on the floor (base)

Section cut A-A the 16.75 should be 20", the 12 should be 18"

The drawing will be corrected later.

Ramp It! The drawing says 11.5" wide and the text says 7.5" wide, which is it? The drawing is incorrect. The inside width is 7.5"
Table Runner

Can the robot have extensions so that when it goes to one side it is touching the opposite side at the same time?

Appendage length (extensions) is measured from the center of the RCX/NXT unit and therefore one could not have two appendages that broke the plane of the table on opposing sides simultaneously.

Are the differences in the color values on this course significant enough that the line can be followed?

That is the intent and we believe it to be so.

Is there a set position for the satellite on the pedestal?

The satellite will be place somewhat in the center of the pedestal.

Are you sure the differences in the color values on this course significant enough that the line can be followed?

To ensure the difference is significant, the tape color has been changed to black electrician tape (it is all tape, not paint).

What is the diameter of the rock?

The diameter is approximately 2 inches as mentioned in the BOM.

Mars We still cannot get a difference in light readings in the course.

The track was painted again with the red color (Evermore EXT acrylic flat (Flaming sword (19yr/558) Base 3(EM6113)). Now the light values on the red paint are around 47 - 49 and on the black tape is around 39 - 41.

Space Station THOR What is the battery and what are the battery supports? I need material and height. The battery is the 8oz soda can. You can place it on your robot prior to starting the course.
Space Station THOR What and where are the trash packets? The trash packets are simply wadded up pieces of paper place randomly in the fourth quadrant.
Space Station THOR Is the dimension for the electrical tape 6.25 from the edge adjacent
to the Power Zone?
Yes, the tape is adjacent to the Power Zone.
Space Station THOR Where does the white electrical tape go? It is just for the tops of the walls to make the course look better. The white tape should have no real impact on the running of the course.
Space Station THOR What is the astronaut, where is it, and what do we do with it? The astronaut is an "Action figure - like a GI Joe" that is pulled up by a string. You simply have to push the "red button" to 'rescue' the figure.
Space Station THOR Where is the red button and what is it? The "red button" is made of LEGO technic bricks and can be seen in the lower left of the picture, IEEE0704. The LEGO building instructions are posted for the entire device.
Space Station THOR Do we have to knock the pop cans off the course, or just knock them down? Points will be given for simply moving the cans.
Space Station THOR Are the pop cans empty? Yes, they are empty - tape is put around the can just to make it look better. No need for this to be replicated.
Space Station THOR Do we have to hold the red button until the Astronaut is reeled onto the board, or just push it? You only need to push it until the reeling starts (should be instantaneous).
Space Station THOR Are there going to be boundary lines for the Power Zone? There actually are boundary lines, but they are very light (just for the judges to see).
Space Station THOR

May the battery be pushed along? or does it actually have to be on or held by the robot?

It does not matter how it is transported, as long as it is moved by the robot to the right place.
Space Station THOR Do we have to place the battery exactly inside the power zone? As long as more than half of the base area of battery touches the power zone its fine.
Space Station THOR What if the battery is moved to insider the power zone but then is moved outside? The points are given based where the battery ends up. At least half of the base area of the battery must be inside the power zone.
Space Station THOR Can the robot go off the course while dragging the trash off behind it? Yes, that is fine. The robot has to come out from the trash zone and this will automatically result in what is been asked.
Asteroid War

One of the four starting position holes is dimensioned as .50 diameter. Are the other 3 also .50 diameter?

Yes, they are all the same diameter.
Asteroid War Where does the robot start?
The robot starts from any position so long as no parts are extruding past the perimeter of the game board. You get to place the robot wherever you want.
Asteroid War Which balls start in which small holes? The four small (.5 inch) diameter holes are where the balls will be. When viewing Drawing 2 and starting from the left, you will have a golf ball, styrofoam ball, styrofoam ball, then a golf ball. The purpose of the holes
are to prevent the balls from rolling prior to them being touched. (New picture posted which shows the locations)
Asteroid War What is the size of the strofoam balls? The balls were 2.25 in diameter.
Asteroid War Is the scoring correct? There was a typo in the scoring. This has been corrected on the web page.

Does Pluto have to be knocked over?

No, Pluto can be knocked over or standing, points are not awarded or deducted for either.


Can you carry Pluto across the sun?

It can be carried across the sun. If it is left in the sun at the end of the time period, it counts as negative points. If any blocks inside the sun are knocked out while carrying Pluto across it, the points gained from them is lost unless they are pushed back in by the end of the time limit.

Planets Where can we place the robot? All parts of the robot must be inside the yellow sun prior to the round beginning. If an invisible wall were stretched along the sun s perimeter to an infinite height, no part of the robot may touch this wall.
Planets What happens when a block gets knocked off the board? The board edge is considered out of bounds. Knocking a block off the edge makes it out of play. However, if the block is knocked down and falls off the board or is pushed, points may be scored for knocking the block over ONLY. No block may be placed back on the board after it is knocked off. No team s RCX may leave the board, or the run ends. The minute a part of the RCX touches the floor off the board edge, the run ends and points are totaled.
Planets What if I hit the board and accidentally knock a block over? To be fair to all teams, in the case that any block is knocked over or moved due to a force not caused by the RCX, the run will count as ZERO points. No make-up run will be granted, and no points can be scored. Competitors should take care to remind other competitors and teammates to keep a safe distance to avoid any mishaps. If it is the fault of the judges or any WSU affiliate, a make-up run will be granted to the competitor.
Venus Escape

Is the "Venus" song a particular song or can you pick any song?

For the song, it just needs to be a recognizable song. It doesn't have to be anything specific.
Venus Escape Does the cellophane match the drawing and is the board on the bottom of course missing. New drawings are now available to match the actual build.
Venus Escape What color is the saran wrap? The saran wrap is orange instead of yellow.
Venus Escape Where is the starting point? The back wheels of the robot should be aligned with the back edge of the plywood in the starting area.
Venus Escape Where are the points at which credit is earned for each segment?

a) Canyon at the edge of the wall where the black tape starts

b) Dry lake bed at the edge of the two walls right before the saran wrap starts

c) First corner of the maze section when the front of the robot turns past the first opening out of the maze section

d) Second length of maze at the end of the saran wrap

e) U-turn when the front of the robot reaches the other side of the wall after the saran wrap area

f) Last length of maze when the front of the robot crosses the line off of the yellow section and onto the black asteroid section

g) Asteroid belt once the front of the robot has passed the three rows of asteroids (approximately where the taped box begins)

h) Getting in the taped box At least 95% (goal of 100%) of the robot is in the taped box. Judge will make this call.

i) Playing Venus song play any recognizable song once the robot is in the taped box or at any point on the course. If the song is to be played when not in the taped box, the judges must be alerted to listen to the song. Observers will have to be quiet when the song is playing so the judges can hear it.

Venus What is considered "navigating the asteroid field"? Navigating the asteroid field means that the robot travels around the three lines of asteroids to the other side where the box is.
Venus How far into the box does the robot have to be to be counted? The robot needs to be 90% to completely inside the box. Determination of how much 90% of the robot is would be at the judges' discretion.
Table Display/Notebook Does each team have to have a separate Table Display/Notebook? We have three teams and are making one team notebook and Table Display. Each team is a entering the challenge completely independently and in competition with each other. Each team must complete the missions independently and separate from each other - this includes the table and notebook display. You MUST designate which team the notebook/table display is for.
Table/Notebook May we move the table within our allotted space? No.