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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Please check this site frequently. Any notifications and/or clarifications for the 2010 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 basic design or 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 Missions and visit with the Mission 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 number required? You need at least five (5) registered team members (Beginner) or eight (8) registered team members (Intermediate and Expert) present on Challenge Day to be eligible for the awards. If something happens and fewer than the minimum number of team members shows up, then the remaining team members are MORE than welcome to compete, but they willl not be eligible for awards and/or trophies.
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.
General Are judges' choice awards per mission awarded in each participation category or per mission for all participation categories together? Are there 6 judges choice awards in "expert" and 6 in intermediate or just 6 awards overall? The judge's choice are per course, not level. So, for 2010 there are nine awards (6 Professional Missions and 3 Apprentice Missions).
General Where is the form to order badges? Each student who is registered (and one coach) gets a free badge. Use the order form for extra badges.
Table Display and 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 and Notebook Can coaches stand next to you and tell you where 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 and 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 and Notebook Do team members need to stand beside the Table Display and Notebook? No. The Table and Notebook Display does not need to be manned.
Table Display and Notebook Does each team have to have a separate Table Display and Notebook? Each team is entering the challenge independently, and in competition with each other. Each team must complete the missions independently and separate from each other - this includes the Table Display and Notebook. You MUST designate which team the Table Display and Notebook is for.
Table Display and Notebook How many team members may be used to setup the display. All student team members (no adults allowed!)
Table and Notebook May we move the table within our allotted space? No.
Table and Notebook Where can I find information about what we need for the table display? Teams have a great deal of flexibility in both the display and the notebook. Guidelines and a scoring rubric are on the website. Also, a few sample pictures of table and notebook displays from previous years are available here.
Table and Notebook Can a display hang over or extend beyond the table? No. The display cannot be larger than the table top. Exception: a cloth or table cover can be used. It can hang below the table top, but should not take up any additional space and will not be part of the information judged.
Line Follower Is the robot only allowed to use one light sensor? No, multiple light sensors are allowed.
Line Follower What are the dimensions of the styrofoam ramp; is it centered on the straightaway; is the surface of the ramp just the exposed stryrofoam painted; what are the angles? It is centered along the 44.500 dimension.
1" tall
17.5" in length
15 degree on approach
25 degree on opposing end
Exposed Styrofoam painted black with White electrical tape centerline
Line Follower If a robot has more than one sensor, must both be positioned on the centerline tape at the start? No.
Line Follower Does robot have to stop at end of run? No.
Line Follower There is duct tape on the course. Will this be repaired/painted black? It is close to the white line.
Black tape was used to cover this item before the end of the day.
Line Follower What is the start position? The rules state: Your robot must begin its run while the back of your unit is lined up with "A" (Note: The sensor must be positioned along the centerline tape with the unit as far back towards the "A" as possible.).
Table Runner Do you have to use touch sensors for this challenge? There is another way. From the web, "The purpose of this Apprentice Mission is to utilize the touch sensor capability of the RCX/NXT unit. You must therefore show satisfactory evidence to the course Judge that the unit is utilizing a touch sensor to direct its motion and change of direction when reaching the edge of the table."
Table Runner Is there a specific starting orientation required? No.
Table Runner Does the robot have to stop when completed? No.
RampIt! Are there any specific sensor requirements? No.
RampIt! Does the robot have to start in the corner at the bottom of the course? No.
RampIt! Opposite side of pegs on the way up and back; up one side and down the other side of center pegs or figure 8? Figure 8. Robot must cross the centerline between pegs on the way up and on the way down for maximum points.
MOC Can you enter with a friend? Yes.
Batman Is it ok for ping pong ball to go anywhere?
Yes. As long as ping pong ball is off of pedestal it is alright as that disables the force field.
Batman Is robot allowed to go off of track/field/course during the run? If more than two wheels go off of track/field/course during run, then that run will end.
Batman Does it matter where the run starts? No.
Mission to Mars What is a thread nod? That is a typo. Just note that thread to the poles together and then glued it afterword.
Mission to Mars Is the tape for the track supposed to be 1/2" or 1.2"? Sorry, 1/2"
Mission to Mars Please provide more specifics on the paint used. The paint used to paint the entire track was Volcanic Blast, BEHR paint brand, half gallon (quantity). The paint used for the path was Black, BEHR paint brand, half gallon (quantity). Both were bought from home depot.
Mission to Mars For each ramp, there is a given height. Does this height include the board of the roadway or is that board on top of that height? Top
Mission to Mars What is the height of the cross-bar of the ring stand? One foot from the track.
Mission to Mars How wide is the ring holder? 11" - center of of each pole from each other.
Mission to Mars How low is the hook that holds the ring? Top of ring is 4 inches below the cross bar.
Mission to Mars The drawing shows only 12" ? between the point directly below the arm for the ring and the position of the golf ball in the center of the road. Is this correct? The actual distance is 9-3/4"
Mission to Mars What surface is facing up for the robot to traverse on the ramps? The smooth side of the hardboard or the rougher side? Smooth side
Mission to Mars Can one wheel (part of robot) leave the path and still finish? Yes, robot may continue until both wheels or tracks leave the path or robot stops.
Transformers at the Pyramid Does "push Megatron off the pyramid" mean knock him off the top square of the pyramid, or does he need to be completely removed from the road (ramps and platforms) too? Megatron must be knocked off the top completely, however if he lands on the ramps thats fine.
Transformers at the Pyramid Will Megatron be represented by a minifig? Or will he be some other figurine such as a Bionicle or other action figure? A small Bionicle figure will be used as megatron. Details on the Bionicle figure can be found here.
Transformers at the Pyramid Where on the 3" by 3" square of the pyramid will Megatron be placed? Centered, to one side, or placed at the teams discretion? He will be placed in approximately the center of the top of the pyramid.
Transformers at the Pyramid Is the robot required to reach the top platform before knocking Megatron off the pyramid to receive the points for knocking him off? The robot must reach the top platform to do the removing of megatron.
Transformers at the Pyramid Does the robot have to stay on the black track? Does the robot have to actually follow the U-turn or just make it past checkpoint 2? The robot must follow the black track and it must follow the u-turn as well.
Transformers at the Pyramid How much of the robot has to touch the black road at any one time? Is it sufficient to keep one wheel on the road while driving?
One wheel is sufficient.
Transformers at the Pyramid Does the robot have to start completely inside the starting box? Yes, Drive wheels must be in starting box.
Transformers at the Pyramid What if robot wheels straddle the road; wheels are outside the road? A wheel does not have to be on the road. If the robot is on the road, that is sufficient. If the robot leaves the road, theat is when the one rule applies.
Transformers at the Pyramid What about an accidental knock over of the bionicle? Reset the bionicle until robot reaches the top.
Engineers to the Rescue! When the robot gets the ball in the first quadrant and moves to the next quadrant, does it drop the ball in that quadrant? Does it have to carry all of the balls and drop them in the slot? Points are awarded if the ball is moved out of its existing quadrant. Additional points are awarded if the ball is moved into the slot.
Engineers to the Rescue! Is the course level? The course will be made as level as it can be.
Engineers to the Rescue! Can we move a ball to place robot on the course? No part of the course may moved to place a robot. The robot MAY be placed around the course and assembled on the course (pending time constraints).
Engineers to the Rescue! How will the robot be measured at the start of the run? Can it get larger than the size limit after the run is started? There will be a template used to measure the robot. After the run begins, the robot may change shape.
Wonder Woman Once you put the can in the circle, if you hit it while moving on, do points get deducted? No points will be deducted as long as the can stops in the circle and then gets bumped out will be fine. However, if they push the can too far and it goes outside of the circle while it is being pushed then no points will be awarded.
Wonder Woman Is this the right size pop can? Yes. It will be a standard 12oz pop can (contrary to the posted BOM).
Wonder Woman Are there any changes to the course? Changed yellow tape to black for better contrast. (Scotch super 33+ vinyl electrical tape - UPC 21200 01964)
Wonder Woman Will the tunnel and corral be secured in place as given in the build instructions? The tunnel will be as it was on practice day. The corral will be secured so that it doesn't move.
WuWarp! Is there a required starting point on the track? For example, does the robot have to start at the top or bottom of the bleachers? No, you may start your robot anywhere on the track.
WuWarp! Is it enough to knock each minifig off the bleacher it starts on, or do they need to be knocked completely off the bleachers? Points will be awarded if the minifig is knocked off the one bleacher it started on.
WuWarp! Do you have to knock all the minifigs off of the bleachers? No, but points are awarded only for the minifigs knocked off.
WuWarp! Do you have to knock the minifigs off the bleachers in a particular order? No.
WuWarp! What are the heights of each of the platforms? Are the steps a total of 2 3/8 inches each? If not, what is the total size? The side view that shows 0.2mm thickness should be 5.2mm. This is the thickness of the lauan shown in the Bill of Materials. 12 bleachers, 13 separators, Height of platform is 5"
WuWarp! Can we make a second pass down the bleachers after we've run the rest of the track? For example: After traversing the wind tunnel, slalom, and rescuing the child, come back for another pass down the bleachers. Again, order of completion does not matter for points
WuWarp! Is the entire 4' x 8' lauan sheet the base of the entire mission or is the lauan used only for the platform. Can you be more concise about what parts the lauan is actually used for and what the OSB 7/16" board is used for. Is the original 4' x 8' lauan sheet not used for the entire base? The lauan sheet is used for the platform, ramps, bleachers (and bleacher supports), and the sides of the platform and ramp. The OSB is used for the base.
WuWarp! Directions say steps are 2"x 24". Drawing shows 1.5"x24". Which one is correct? There is a 1/2" overlap of each step including the top platform.
WuWarp! Can a wheel or any part of the robot go off the course? If a wheel goes partially off, but comes back on, will points be docked? If the robot goes COMPLETELY off the course, the judge will count, "1, 2, 3" and if the robot is not at least partially back on the course at that time, the run will end. If any part of the robot is on the course, the robot is still in play.
WuWarp! When going through the slolam, can the robot touch or run over the post? Yes, the posts can be touched or run over. Points are only scored when all wheels are on the appropriate side of the post.