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2013 Shocker MINDSTORMS Challenge


Answers to
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Please check this site frequently. Any notifications and/or clarifications for the 2013 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 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
CNC Machine Are the colored balls in the same spot every time? Or are they randomly placed? The colored balls are in the same place for every run.
CNC Machine Is the team allowed to lock the robot into place on the track(s) with LEGOs before beginning the run? Yes.
CNC Machine After the last ball is knocked off, does the robot have to return to the starting point? No.
Journey of a Lifetime The BOM does not state the brand, color, or type of paint used on the course. What paint was used? Painter's Touch 12 oz. Gloss Meadow Green General Purpose Spray Paint (Rust-oluem)

Textured paint: Rust-Oleum American Accents 12 oz. Stone Textured Finish Spray Paint
Journey of a Lifetime How large is the ring? The metal ring is a ¼” thick ring with an inside diameter of 2”.
Journey of a Lifetime How is the metal ring placed on the course? Photos have been added to show the placement of the ring.
Journey of a Lifetime Will model trees be placed on the squares for runs?  Or are the "trees" only marked by a painted or taped square? The trees are shown in Figure 9 of the Build Instructions.
Journey of a Lifetime What is the height of the dwarfs, trolls, and trees?  What is the diameter of the circle camp fire? The trolls and trees are both 6" tall; the fire is 10" in diameter; and the dwarfs are approx 2.5" tall.
Journey of a Lifetime Are the overall dimensions of this course 96" x 84"  (i.e. 8 feet x 7 feet)?

Are two pieces of hardboard needed?

Yes, the overall dimensions of this course are 96" x 84" and two pieces of hardboard were used. This change/correction has been made to the BOM and highlighted in grey.
Journey of a Lifetime Can you clarify the number of washers and nuts used on the course? The items referred to in the BOM were "packages" of nuts and bolts. A clarification has been made to the BOM and highlighted in grey.
Journey of a Lifetime Where are the bolts used? There are six bolts that hold the three pieces of the course together. They are used through 1x3" boards that make up the frame.
Bringing Back WuShock In order to set the correct amount of force needed to collapse the hill, how much weight at the top of the hill is required to break the magnetic bond? A typical robot construction is sufficient to collapse
the ramp.
Bringing Back WuShock At Walmart, there are two different magnets,  part # HI-993 and part HI-991. Which was used? Magnet HI-991 requires .1 pound of pressure for release.  Magnet HI-993 requires .3 pound of pressure. A typical robot should easily release either magnet.
Bringing Back WuShock One side of the hardboard used for the ramp is smooth and the other rough. Which side will the robot climb? The robot will climb the rough side.
Bringing Back WuShock The instructions say the ramp is 30 degrees.  It is actually 50 degrees. The ramp was corrected on trial day to 30 degrees.
Hobbits Beware! Is the first corner to the right or left of the starting area?
Or does it matter?
It does not matter.
Hobbits Beware! What counts as a “corner”? One of the ‘corners’ is not a 90 degree angle but considered a corner according to the score sheet.
Paths to Precious Treasure Do we have to follow the line on the course? No.
Paths to Precious Treasure What if the robot comes partially off of the course? As long as the entire robot does not leave the course, the run may continue.
Paths to Precious Treasure Does the robot have to be on the same side of the wall that the treasure is on when it knocks it down? No.
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 run the courses, 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 explicitly stated by the course mission itself, there is no penalty.
General The members on our teams have changed. How can we change the registration information? Once a team has been registered, the team members' names cannot be changed online. If you have a change, please email that information to karen.reynolds@wichita.edu. It will be the coach's responsibility on Trial Day to check the list of team members' names to ensure accuracy.
General What software is required to run the robots? There are no restrictions on the software used to run the robots at the MINDSTORMS Challenge.
General Can robot parts be labeled? Robot parts can be labeled as long as the label does not provide a competitive advantage, does not add functionality, or does not in any way interfere with the performance of the robot.
General Can teams bring their laptops to the mission areas? No. Laptops are not allowed at the mission areas. Laptops must remain at the teams' table/work area.
General When will the MOC Awards be announced? The MOC Awards will be made during the Expert/Intermediate Awards ceremony.
General Can I attend both Awards ceremonies? Yes, anyone can attend either or both ceremonies.
General On Challenge Day, can parent mentors help at the team table and as needed to provide asssistance to the team coach? Absolutely! Parent mentors are welcome and encouraged to work with the team. Parent
involvement should be limited to "mentoring". Only team members should be
building and programming the robots, and only team members should carry
the robots to the courses and complete the runs.
Team Display and Notebook Can your display face multiple directions? No, your display should face one direction. It is possible that your table will be placed against a wall or something else blocking one side of the table from view.
Team 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 Team Display and Notebook display should be done entirely by the student team members.
Team Display and Notebook Do team members need to stand beside the Team Display and Notebook? No. The Team Display and Notebook does not need to be manned.
Team Display and Notebook Does each team have to have a separate Team 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 Team Display and Notebook. You MUST designate which team the Team Display and Notebook is for.
Team Display and Notebook How many team members may be used to setup the display. All student team members (no adults allowed!)
Team Display 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 Does robot have to stop at end of run? No.
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.).
Line Follower What constitutes going off course? If either wheel goes off by more than 1:, it is off course.
Line Follower Can you use both a light and color sensor? Since it doesn’t specify, you can use both.
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.
Table Runner Does the 30 studs x 30 studs include all wires? Yes, the wires must stay inside the 30x30 during measurement and at the start of the run. If the robot extends AFTER the start button is pressed, that is okay.
Table Runner Does the robot have to touch the “X” on each pass? No.
Table Runner Does it count if the robot rolls off the edge on the eighth touch? No.  The course rules state “Touching the edge will be determined if the activation of the touch sensor at the edge of the table causes the direction of motion to be changed without the unit falling off the table.”
RampIt! Can we build a tall robot and straddle the center pegs to get full points? No.  Wheels must be on opposite sides of pegs to receive bonus points.
RampIt! How is the movement of the robot defined? Movement can be in any direction.  However, the bot itself must be mobile in some direction.  Simple wheel rotation is not sufficient.
RampIt! How much of the robot must touch the bottom wall of the ramp? Any part of the robot touching the back wall of the ramp is sufficient.
RampIt! Can we build a tall robot and straddle the center pegs to get full points? No.  Wheels must be on opposite sides of pegs to receive bonus points.
MOC Can you enter with a friend? Yes.