Clarification on human interference or actions

Have read 2.8. in the rule. I think the following is accepted. However, I would like to get confirmation on that because we had an experience in the past that one set of work was construed as illegal human control.

human : hold up a 11"x14 paper which has a letter H
Robot : views the letter and do a particularly action.
human : change the the paper to have a letter O
Robot : views the letter and do another particular action.


Robot has an apparatus resembling a hand with fingers. It will move smoothly according to the human fingers movements. Data is being transferred remotely. All the communication steps are done by the students themselves, not off from a “robotic kit”.

All these are pretty cool robotics techniques and learning value is a bundle. However, I want to clarify that to ensure it is won’t be considered as illegal human controlled.

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This is indeed a “cool robotics technique” and OnStage 2017 Rule 2.8.2 does seem to accept this Human-Robot interaction. however, it is my opinion that this kind of communication should not be accepted. Allowing it would open the flood gate to other non-acceptable communication:

  • humans carries an infrared emitting device (RCJ-05 soccer ball) to have robots follow them on stage;
  • pointing laser beams at the robots to initiate an action;
  • using sound or frequency emitters to remotely control their robots;
  • etc.

It would be acceptable if the symbols were stationary or mounted on robots.

  • Robot looking for H (hospital) or F (firestation);
  • Robots using the camera to locate potential soulmates or hostiles.
  • etc.
    This is just an opinion for TCs to consider.
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Hi stormingrobots,

As profspina commented above, this is very difficult to classify. If a robot can recognize shapes or characters on a paper, I think it’s cool! On the other hand, a sequence that robot moves by a direct command from students should be judged as a remote control. We need more detailed information to decide that your performance is acceptable or not. Could you please explain more about your plan, if it’s possible?

By the way, there was a team who used colored papers in their performance at this year’s international competition. That performance was accepted. I would like to introduce it as an example. The performance was as below;

  1. A human team member (student) shows a colored paper flower to a robot.
  2. That robot who is equiped a color sensor recognizes a color and send a data via Bluetooth to the other robot.
  3. The robot which has received a data tunes on a LED with the same color as a paper flower.

For your reference. :grinning:

Hi Shoko,

The robot will be running with a raspberry pi with a pi-cam to perform OpenCV image processing to do letter-recognition. It will need to deploy one of the edge detection algorithms such as KNN algorithm to do that task . Once it recognizes it, it will do a certain accordingly; e.g. if see “P”, it will
performance sequence 1, but seeing “O”, it will perform sequence 2, etc.

Hope this helps to clarify the intended challenge.

Honestly, it will not make much difference at all in terms of the technology being used. The students can have the signs as part of the fixture setup, or something carried around by a bot. It is simply more a "fun factor if the kids are carrying the signs themselves.

Hi…the rules are under review at the moment. I agree with Shoko that camera recognition is acceptable. The robot sees /detects something and reacts by communicating. There is decision processing here. Remote control via blue tooth is also a less sophisticated form of decision processing.

It is such a fine line.

If I were the judge, I’d be all for the first example. But perhaps not the second. There were two teams in 2016 Internationals that had robots that reacted to direct human intervention. Communication via blue toooth. They did not touch the robot that reacted. They did touch the communication device. However, it broke new ground. It is SO difficult to write rules that are not restricting the use of new technology and new ideas. But at the same time, there are misinterpretations of the rules that also reveal very clever loopholes.

For me, I favour keeping the competition open to use of technology. Honestly, use of any sensor, where the trigger is ‘set’ by a human could be considered to be remote control. (Line, colour, camera, sound, US, touch, etc). So where is the boundary?


First of all, I reached a thought that your performance could have no issues. That is just my thought. If anyone has other views, please add a comment. The reason I have finally decided it is as follows:

I re-read the 2017 rules and found a hint to make clear the boundary. It is a quotation of 1.4.1.

1.4.1. Teams are encouraged to design their robot(s) with a communication function. Robots are encouraged to communicate with each other on stage, for example, with a Bluetooth communication option (refer to 2.7 and 2.8).
There must be no communication with off-stage and on-stage devices.

Under this rule, teams are not allowed to use communication from any electrical devices during a performance. That’s because communications from any devices which are handled by students directly are considered as a remote controlled. The devices could be a PC, keyboard, phone, tablet, game-controller and so on. The RCJ-05 soccer ball or IR pointer devices could also be included.
However, this will apply just to communication between robots and devices but not for using cameras or sensors, because this is a rule for communication.

On the other hand, use of camera and sensors is encouraged in the rules. Especially we are welcoming to try newer or higher technologies. So the performance using a camera should be accepted, it would be another matter whether it is rewarded higher at the performance judging or not though.

That’s just my two cents. I’m looking forward to hearing your students’ growth through the robotics activities. :grinning: