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2008 Challenge Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Please check this site frequently. Any notifications and/or clarifications for the 2008 missions will be posted here as soon as they become available. 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 for programming and development. 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 competition courses.

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.
General Can we use different base units comprised of more than one kit, but we would only be using one NXT.  In other words, we want to just place the NXT controller onto the bases. If you mean place the controller (RCX or NXT) in a different shell, for professional teams the answer is yes. Apprentice teams are limited to one kit. However, the controller must be same for all the missions (registered).
General Is there any kind of penalty if a piece falls off the robot (intentionally or unintentionally) while completing the scenario? Unless explictly stated by the course mission itself, there is no penalty.
Table Display/Notebook Can your display face multiple directions? No, your display should face one direction.  It is likely that your table will be placed against a wall or something else blocking one side of the table from view.
Table Display/Notebook Can coaches stand next to you and tell you were to put things on your table display? No.  The creation and set-up of the Table and Notebook display should be done entirely by the student team members.
Table Display/Notebook Are dates important on individual entries in the notebook? Dates are not mandatory but could be important to show the process or progress of learning over a period of time.
Table Display/Notebook Do team members need to stand beside the Table and Notebook Display? No.  The Table and Notebook Display does not need to be manned.
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 Display/Notebook How many team members may be used to setup the display. All student team members (no adults allowed!)
Table/Notebook May we move the table within our allotted space? No.
Line Follower Can we get clarification on the 1" tolerance? The robot is considered off the track by 1" when the robot is completely off the black track by more than 1." That section will still be counted when it when off track.
Line Follower When is the course considered "complete?" When the robot is at the 'K' mark.
RampIt! Where is the location of the divit? It is described now on the course scoring.
RampIt! How long does the ball have to stay "on the spot?" (divit) The ball must stay on the divit when the robot is removed from the course.
RampIt! When does the robot receive credit for making it to a certain grade? When the forwardmost part of the robot touches a point of the horizontal section defining that grade.
Table Runner Can I touch the same side more than one in a row? Yes, the extra touches are allowed (no additional points are awarded though).
Table Runner Can I use a light sensor? No, the rules state that you MUST use the touch sensor.
Table Runner Does the sensor have go completely over the edge? No
APICS (Hurricane) The scoring table confuses me. The scoring table has been modified with additional "cumulative" information for clarity.
APICS (Hurricane) Does the cart have to be upright to receive points or can it be on its side? The whole cart should be placed with in the hospital region marked as a rectangular box. The orientation of the cart does not matter.
APICS (Hurricane) Do you have to connect to the cart to move it, or can you push it? To reach a destination you can either move the cart or push it doesn't matter.
APICS (Hurricane) The instructions mention turning on a light or triggering a signal. What light are you talking about. Light Sensor or something else? The robot could use the light (LED from the kit), this light has to be turned on anywhere in region 3.
APICS (Hurricane) In the picture there is a 1"x1"x3" wall at the back of the cart parking space.  Is this a fixed wall and is it within or outside of the 3x5 space? The wall at the back of the cart is fixed outside the 3X4 space.
APICS (Hurricane) The hospital and Cart parking size are both specified as 3" x 5" on the layout. The drawing has these located between 31" and 35" from the edge which leaves 4" for length. These do not seem to match. The dimensions on the drawing are correct (31" and 35"). The space should be defined as a 3" x 4" space.
APICS (Hurricane) The first answer to a similar question (now removed from this list of FAQs)indicates the hospital and cart parking spaces are 3"x5" and the answers to the second and third indicate the spaces are 3"x4".  What is the size, and if 3"x5", where is it positioned? The first question and response was a duplication and replaced by the existing question and answer (the first response has now been removed from this list of FAQs).  The correct size is 3x4.
APICS (Hurricane) When the light is turned on, can the light sensor be used or do you have to use the LED light? No, a light sensor may not be used. It must be the LED.
APICS (Hurricane) Does the Robot has to turn on the light exactly for 10 secs? No, there is a tolerance of +/- 2 seconds.
EC (Earthquake) After picking up the dog and before picking up the bridge to place it over the break. Where is the dog to be set down? Is there a specific location? Yes there is a 4 inch radius around the river that the dog can be set in.  It has to be set completely in that line or it doesn't count. The radius line is drawn on our course.
EC (Earthquake) How wide is the line on the course and is it drawn on with permanent marker or put down with tape? The line is just a line made from a normal "Sharpie" Black Marker. The width of the marker is the width of the line.
EC (Earthquake) What if we don't use wheels, but a tread or slide or disc? Each of these things will be count as one wheel.
EC (Earthquake) Is the styrofoam arch glued down? The styrofoam arch is not glued down so you can move it.
EC (Earthquake) Can the small bocks leave the course? The small blocks have to be totally into the green, but cannot leave the course to get total points.
EC (Earthquake) Can we go into the green areas with the robot? Yes, you may go into the green areas with the robot.
EC (Earthquake) The dimensions of the main block seem wrong. The drawing is updated (modified dimensions are in red - ignore the old dimensions)
IEEE (Tornado) How high off the ground is the hard disk? The complete instructions are now posted to build the device (in both pdf and MLCAD)
IEEE (Tornado) Why do the points add up to 1000? that is because all points are not added. The last two items are an "or." You either "pass through the lobby" or you don't. Hence, the difference in points.
IEEE (Tornado) What are the dimensions of the doors and will they placed uppright or leaning/slanted against the walls/"doorframes." The dimensions of the cardboard gates are as follows- 1) Door for lab A - 10 INCHES x 3 1/2 INCHES 2) Door for Fuel Chamber - 12 INCHES x 3 1/2 INCHES

These doors are made using cardboard found at the back of regular notepads. They will be placed leaning on the wall just like shown in the picture.

SWE (Fire) The scoring table and drawing confuses me. The scoring drawing has been modified to better match the table.
SWE (Fire) Once you place the child through the window is the robot done, or is it to travel back out the house? After the robot places the child out of the room, the robot IS done. There is no need to go back through the house. In fact, once the robot goes up the ramp (stairs), it would be impossible to come back down it because of the "damage" done to it by the fire.
SWE (Fire) We are confused about the path the robot is to take, could there be a drawng added showing the direction to go, where each door is and so forth. New drawing with directions has been posted. It may be confusing on which route to take because we left the course open, so certain areas of the course could be skipped, if a school's robot chose to do so. The only penalty would be the lost points from going through the skipped doors, etc. (ie. if the robot doesn't search every room, it may have missed trapped people).
SWE (Fire) The next to last entry on Fire scoring table is "Robot moves child off markerRobot moves child through window".  Should the last part of the phrase be eliminated since it is on the last step and this means you get 200 points just for moving the child from its place? Yes, you get 200 for just moving the "child" off the marker (completely not touching black tape "marker"). And then another 200 for moving the child through the window. This is a typo. The words "Robot moves child through window" have been removed from the scoring table. Sorry!
SWE (Fire) Another item on the scoring table says "Robot backs through the third door".  Does this mean the robot has to go backwards?

No, the robot does not have to move backwards to get the points, just must come back through the door after completing the previous step of "entire robot passes the horizontal line". If the robot does not complete the step before this one, the points of going back through the door can not be awarded.

SWE (Fire) On the second turn, do you have to follow the tape or go diagonally. You are not required to follow the tape at any point. It is there as a possible method of maneuvering the course.
Wallace (Deep Sea) I am confused between the 7 and 5 minutes in the description, how much time do we really have?

If you complete the course within 6 minutes, without the oxygen tanks, okay.  The divers will survive.  However, these tanks give you an extra minute of air to get the divers to the surface.  The divers have 6 minutes of air with them and that is the time for this course.  The oxygen tanks represent the extra minute of air for the total of 7. (The 5 in the course description has been changed to a 6, noted by the number in red).

Wallace (Deep Sea) How are the waves made?  How deep are they? The waves are made using the hot wire foam cutter, with the medium width blade from the kit (between 1/4" and 1/2").  Use the foam cutter to make a shallow cut into the foam.  This cut will be about 1/4" deep. Note that the wave cuts are covered with paper.
Wallace (Deep Sea) What if there is only 1 shark left? No divers die.  With 3 sharks, only 1 diver dies.  Always round down for the sharks.
Wallace (Deep Sea) Are the sharks always in the same place as shown on the drawings or will they be randomly placed? They will always be placed approximately as shown.
Wallace (Deep Sea) I see an RCX in the picture on the elevator, what is it for? The pictures have changed and the RCX is not shown in the updated pictures. There will be an RCX on the elevator to operate the light when the button is pressed (details to follow).
Wallace (Deep Sea) On the drawing of the top level where the hole goes down to the second level, from the center of the hole to the edge shows 8". The dimensions for the space to the gole is 6". Should the 8" be 10." No, the space to the hole is not 6", the space is 4". Which makes the 8" dimension correct.
Wallace (Deep Sea) What happens if the "sharks" are pushed into the second level funnel? Are they still considered to be on the course? The sharks are still considered to be on the course.  They have to completely exit the entire course.
Wallace (Deep Sea) When can we get precise details on the location of the RCX and the touch sensor on the elevator? A new drawing has been posted which describes the plan view of the elevator containing these items.
Wallace (Deep Sea) Does everything have to be inside the start box? Only the NXT/RCX must be in the box to start the run.
Wallace (Deep Sea) What if the oxygen falls out of the sub? It still counts.
Wallace (Deep Sea) Do we have to press the button every time to move the elevator? Yes.
Wallace (Deep Sea) Where is the staging zone? The start box.
Wallace (Deep Sea) Can the song play during the 15 second elevator movement?

The song can only be played once the elevator has stopped. The song may not start until the 15 second moving time.

Questions in red occured DURING trial day

Attention Teachers: WSU College of Education Robotics 2008 Grant Opportunity