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Answers to
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Please check this site frequently. Any notifications and/or clarifications for the 2014 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
3 Little Shockers How is the carpet attached between Level 2 and Level 3? The carpet tile is cut to be 1' wide x 15" long. We used a utility knife and a straight edge to do this. The carpet is attached to the surfaces of level 2 and level 3 with screws so that 1.50" of carpet rested on each surface piece. The gap between level 2 and level 3 is 11.50". The Build Instructions have been revised to reflect the measurements in red.
3 Little Shockers Is the "house of straw" located in the middle of level 1 firmly attached to level 1, or is it free to move. The house of straw is firmly attached.
3 Little Shockers Does the scenario have to be done in the stated order?  For example, can the wolf be pushed out before visiting Beggs Hall? Once the robot reaches level 3, there is no required 'order' to accomplish the tasks.
3 Little Shockers Do you lose points for touching the house? No.
3 Little Shockers Are points awarded for touching the ramp or do the wheels have to start the climb? Points are scored when any part of robot touches the ramp.
3 Little Shockers The points for touching the sway bridge are different in the story vs. the scoring matrix. The correct number of points for touching the sway bridge is 50.  The scoring matrix is correct, and the story has been corrected.
Brickyard Dream Can the robot touch the cloth wall?

Yes, the robot can touch the cloth wall.

Make-A-Wish In the rubric for scoring it states you must "touch" the yellow pegs (do both actually have to be touched on both sides, or a single side? and do they have to be touched simultaneously?). The cream colored pegs on both sides must be touched in order to score but they do not have to be touched simultaneously.
Make-A-Wish Are we actually supposed to climb the vertical wall at the back (make bot step up/rise to the correct levels), the slanted sides (drive up it, which makes for an extremely wide-bot), or if something else was intended. The climbing action must be on the slanted sides.
Make-A-Wish Scoring on the wall says both 'touch' the peg and 'climb' in different areas of the instructions.If the bot is able to 'touch' the colored pegs while still on the ground, is that acceptable, or must the bot leave the base of the course and 'climb' to 'touch'? In the determination of the judges, the bot must be “climbing” the wall to earn points by touching the cream colored pegs.
Make-A-Wish What is meant by "climbing"? Climbing means a progressive ascension.
Make-A-Wish Does the robot need to be completely off the ground? No, the robot does not have to be completely off the ground when it touches the cream colored pegs to earn points.
Make-A-Wish Can the robot be partially supported by the climbing wall? Yes.
Make-A-Wish Does the robot have to touch a certain number of blue pegs? No. Points are scored only when the robot touches the sets of cream-colored pegs.
Make-A-Wish There are three "defenders" (3"X3" wooden blocks) in Make A Wish.  The score sheet does not say anything about them.  Does the team receive negative points for touching the defenders with the robot?  Positive points? The robot does not lose points for touching a defender.
Make-A-Wish Are the 3" cubes (defenders) glued down or movable? The cubes are movable.  They are not secured in any way.
Make-A-Wish What is the height of the climbing wall? Item #11 from the build instructions provides instructions for cutting the climbing wall.  Height is 16”.
Make-A-Wish What are the dimensions of the bottom of the climbing wall. Items #12, 13, and 14 from the build instructions provide instructions and dimensions of the support for the climbing walls.
Make-A-Wish How long is the line leading to the climbing wall? This line is not dimensioned as it can exceed what is shown and described in item #36 from the build instructions.
Make-A-Wish Does the robot have to continue to touch the end zone while doing the touchdown dance? No.  (The wording on the scoring matrix has been changed as follows: "Robot must make a unique movement (as deemed by the judges) after touching the end zone . . ."
Make-A-Wish Can the robot score points for doing a touchdown dance if they do not score a touchdown? No.
Make-A-Wish Is a slider in contact with the surface considered a wheel? Yes.
Make-A-Wish Is a ball bearing in contact with the surface considered a wheel? Yes.
Make-A-Wish The width of the climbing wall is 9” inside.  The build instructions and drawing show 9 ½”.  Which is correct? The drawing and build instructions are incorrect.  The inside width of the climbing wall is 9”.
Make-A-Wish What happens if the robot reaches the top cream colored pegs without touching the middle cream colored pegs? The robot will score points for reaching the top pegs but will not be awarded points for the middle pegs.
Make-A-Wish What does it mean to be ‘inside’ the movie area?  Do all parts of the robot need to be confined within the perimeter or just those elements touching the course? All parts in contact with the course must be touching the yellow area during the 5-second stop.
Mario and the Wishing Star Location of Checkpoint 2 A REVISED Photo 1 with labels has been posted correcting the location of Checkpoint 2.
Mario and the Wishing Star The yellow paint "Krylon Canary 12 oz." is not sold at the Maize Rd Walmart (it wasn't that they were out, there was no place on the shelf for Krylon Canary). Is there a specific Walmart that sells this paint or is the name of the paint wrong? The yellow paint used on the course was Krylon ColorMaster Sun Yellow Acrylic Latex Enamel Paint (quart).  Walmart Item #072450405107.  The BOM has been revised to reflect the correct paint used.
Mario and the Wishing Star What is meant by "knocking over" the minion? Moving the minion off of the marked line.
Mario and the Wishing Star How do you know where Checkpoints 1 and 2 are? The checkpoints are at the corners as noted in the drawing and picture.  The judges will determine when the robot crosses that point.
Mario and the Wishing Star If the robot overhangs the red traps but does not physically touch them, are points deducted? No. Points are only deducted if the robot touches the red traps.
Mario and the Wishing Star If the robot goes from the Start to Checkpoint 1, but does not follow the path (line), are points scored? No. The robot must follow the line to reach Checkpoint 1.
Wishmaster How is the Arduino programmed? This is a link the information about how to use the Arduino including the program (.zip)
Wishmaster Can you provide details of how the Arduino is wired? This is a link to a diagram of the Arduino wiring (pdf).
Wishmaster If the robot drops nemo into the ocean (to where he is not touching the bot at all) but then the bot accidentally picks him back up and carries him out of the ocean does it still score the 100 points? Yes.  The points are earned when Nemo is placed entirely in the marked Ocean Area.
Wishmaster What type of yellow paint is needed for the course, it is not included in the purchase list. The exact paint description is not available.  Any bright yellow paint (for example, yellow paint used on other courses) should be sufficient.
Wishmaster The ramp schematics drawing  contradicts the actual course photo.  Shouldn't the entrance to the ramp be the longer length? The visuals and the dimensions for the ramps are reversed.  The approach ramp is 12.50".  The decline ramp is 19.00".
Wishmaster Where are Checkpoints A and D? On Challenge Day, these Checkpoints (lines) will be marked with white chalk per the course drawings.
Wishmaster Where does the green block need to be in order to achieve points?  Where does the blue blocks need to be in order to lose points? The blocks must be pushed completely through the wall for point count; positive for green and negative for blue.  (Completely through is determined if a paper can be slid between the block and the outside of the wall.)
Wu Charming In the building instructions, Drawing 2, step 5, it says to connect the parts of the bridge with hinges.  Hinges are not in the materials list.  What kind of hinges? The hinges used were "on-hand" and not a special purchase. A photo of one of the hinges has been added here and on the Wu Charming page.
Wu Charming The red paint for the red cube is not listed in the BOM. The name and manufacturer of the paint color is unknown, however, it is a bright red as shown in the course photos.
Wu Charming How are the 8" pieces attached to the bridge supports? They are attached with 2" screws that were not listed in the BOM.  The Build Instructions have been revised to reflect the correct screw length.
Wu Charming What is the distance between the last dashed line and yellow square B? The distance is 1.25".  This correction has been made in the Build Instructions, but the drawing incorrectly shows 0.60".
Wu Charming Drawing 4, line item 4, indicates blue electrical tape. The color of the tape referred to should be white.  The drawing has not been corrected.  The correct color is shown in the photo.
Wu Charming Drawing 3 shows a dimension of 38.00". The 38.00" dimension is the actual dimension to the inside of the barrier.  (The drawing incorrectly shows it to the outside of the barrier.)
Wu Charming After you push the block into the yellow square, does it need to stay inside the square? Points are scored when the red block is moved entirely inside the square A.
Wu Charming To receive points for moving blocks, where do the blocks end up? Points are scored as soon as the block is within the scoring area.
Wu Charming What is the starting position for the robot? Some part of the robot must be touching the blue Starting Box.
Wu Charming Where on the course is the flashlight allowed? The flashlight can be used to guide the robot on any part of the course.
Wu Charming Does the person working the flashlight have to stand in a specific area? The team member who is using a flashlight to guide the robot may be anywhere (and is free to move) within the yellow taped area as long as he/she does not come in contact with the course.
Wu's Brickyard Dream Color of base. The base color of the course is green.  The Build Instructions has been revised to reflect the correct color.
Wu's Brickyard Dream Location of Checkpoint 3 The Photo with Labels has been revised to more accurately reflect the location of Checkpoint 3.
Wu's Brickyard Dream Can the robot touch the cloth wall? Yes, the robot can touch the cloth wall.
General Our team has a community/business sponsor.  Can we acknowledge them on our team t-shirts? Yes, we are very happy if teams can get support from the community and you are welcome to acknowledge that support on your team's t-shirts.
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 Can you use a color sensor? Yes, you can use either a light sensor or a color sensor.
Line Follower What constitutes the ‘back’ of the robot? The last physical piece of the robot including wheels, wires, and sensors.
Line Follower What constitutes ‘1-inch’ off the track? The entire robot has to be more than 1” off the black track.  As long as the robot is touching or at least within 1” of the track, they are okay.
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 NXT/EV3 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 Are ultrasonic sensors allowed? No.
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.
MOC Can a MOC be controlled by a non Lego part such as a Logitech f310, which is sold on hitecknic website, or a computer or other electric device? No.  As stated in the MOC rules, the MOC must be 100% LEGO bricks and must be controlled by an EV3/NXT/RCX.