Wheeled Vehicle

(section: 3 / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: n/a / line: 1)

2014-01-16 20:20 Does the "non-metallic, elastic material" (possibly a rubber band) mentioned in Section 1 qualify as a "drive string"?

Yes, if the elastic material is wrapped around the axle it becomes the 'drive string' and would not incur a penalty if it comes free and touches the floor.

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-01-16 20:26 3.a. states using a "single integral device" .... Does that rule out a system combining two energy sources, such as using rubber bands along with a fishing pole system?

A single integral device (a single vehicle) could include a device which has two or more separate sections/energy sources even if they are dissimilar such as rubber bands and a fishing pole as they are complimenting each other to achieve a goal of greatest speed.

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-01-16 20:36 How many non-metallic elastic devices can I have to power the vehicle?

There is no limit as long as they all meet the "non-metallic, elastic" rule.

2014-01-16 20:37 If a fishing pole is used as the elastic device, do the metal ferules violate the non-metalic rule?

No, as long as the metal ferrules don't provide any energy to propel the vehicle, it is okay.

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 1)

2013-12-19 15:38 Can the attachment of the dowel to the vehicle encircle the dowel? Technically, the dowel itself would not then be the "Foremost part of the vehicle", the attachment mechanism would be.

The vehicle may have a device to attach the dowel to the vehicle and permit the removal of the dowel for transportation and/or any necessary adjustment. This device must not extend more than 2 cm from the front of the dowel and would then become the foremost part of the vehicle. This attachment device must serve no purpose other than to attach and hold the dowel on the vehicle.

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-03-10 02:11 Does a 1/4" x 1/4" piece of balsa qualify as a 'dowel'?

No, a dowel by definition is a solid cylindrical rod.

(section: 3e / line: 1)

2014-01-16 20:39 The 1/4" wooden dowel that must be attached to the front end of the vehicle, can it be a square dowel or must it be a round dowel?

By definition, a dowel is a cylindrical rod.

(section: 6 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2014-01-16 20:59 What happens if a vehicle goes beyond the target distance? Would I still take a distance score but placed the team score in Tier 2 as a competition violation?

The vehicle may go past the the Target Line without penalty. If the vehicle goes past the Target Line the Distance Score is still the distance from the Measurement Point on the vehicle to the Target Line to the nearest 0.1 cm. It is a point (Measurement Point on the vehicle) to line (Target Line) measurement.

(section: 6 / paragraph: d / line: 2)

2014-01-16 20:43 If the center line tape disappears under the wheel of the vehicle but is not visible on the outside of the wheel, is that a reason for losing the Center Line Bonus?

No, if the center tape remains completely within the vehicle's track, i.e. the Center Tape is not visible outside of either wheel of the vehicle's widest axle the Center Line Bonus will be awarded.


(section: 2 / line: b)

2014-03-14 01:06 Can you use a laptop during competition?

Yes, this is covered in the remote control of devices spreadsheet linked from the event homepage and as referred to in para 2.h of the rules. The voltage of any batteries on the laptop must be verifiable to be within permissible limits. And of course, use of a laptop must not allow the competitors to get outside help for the event

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2013-12-23 02:16 Can more than one team drive the same Robot?

No, as stated in the description para 1 the task is to design and build a robot to accomplish a task, not just to accomplish a task. General rule #7 applies in that current team members must have constructed all pre-built devices. Note competitive robots can be made rather cheaply and do NOT require expensive parts. Successful teams have built systems using all new parts for ~$50.

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2013-12-20 17:38 May a LEGO Mindstorm NTX be controlled by a device using an app to control movement such as an iPad, iPhone, or iPod. Would the device be considered to be remotely controlling the robot through radio waves?

Yes, as long as the device uses one of the frequencies allowed in the rules as outlined on the NSO website, that would comply with the remote control through radio waves. However, be careful of the device used, it must not allow control or aid from sources outside the competitors.

(section: 2 / paragraph: B / line: 1)

2013-12-23 02:22 Can we use Bluetooth as a remote control?

Yes, Bluetooth, among other standards, is explicitly allowed in the general rules on radiof frequencies referenced in the printed rules. The general rules are accessible from the Robo-Cross event page at:

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-03-27 15:58 Is a helicopter or other flying device a legal robot in this competition? In other words is it within the rules for a robot to be able to fly over the playing surface?

Yes, nothing in the rules says flying devices are not legal. This is all provided the robot is safe, still fits with a 30cm cube, and follows other associated rules.

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2014-01-06 03:21 If a commercial kit is used what would qualify as a funtional modification?

As per rule 2.c, commercial kits may be used, but must have at least one functional modification. A functional modification is already defined within the rule as the lack of a modification causing the robot to either not work or working differently. This means either a robot pulled out of a box or a kit built that exclusively follows a manufacturer's directions would not be legal for competition. A team is, however, allowed to start with the raw kit/device, run tests on the device, and make modifications prior to competition. Competitors are, in fact, expected to do so prior to the competition as there is no complete device designed for Science Olympiad Robo-Cross that is commercially available.

(section: 2 / paragraph: d / line: 9)

2014-03-27 16:01 It says that the robot in the ready to run position must fit inside a 30 x 30 x 30 cm square. Does the robot have to be turned on while it is being measured?

Yes, ready to run means it is prepared for competition and can begin immediately after being measured without intervention from the competitors.

(section: 2 / paragraph: e / line: 4)

2014-03-27 16:08 Does the passive device need to start in the claw of the robot at the beginning of the competition or can it be placed in the robot starting box and picked up later in the competition?

No, it does not need to start in the claw. It does need to fit in the 30 cm box with the rest of the robot. The passive device will be considered part of the robot and scored as such if it is left in a different Zone than the Robot at the end of the competition. See Rule 6.a.v.

(section: 2. / paragraph: b. / line: 1)

2013-12-23 02:32 The sentence says the Robot "May be controlled remotely by radio, infrared, or wired control Boxes to the robot". LEGO MINDSTORMS Robots are programmed and not remotely controlled. Would this type of robot be acceptable?

Yes. Programmable controllers on the robot or in a remote box are allowed. But if the robot is touched after the Event Supervisor says "1, 2, 3, go" the time will stop per rule 5.f.iv.

(section: 3 / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: 1 / line: 2)

2014-03-27 19:32 Technical Documentation examples are now posted on the website under Div. B - Robo Cross.

Examples of the technical documentation are now on the website under Div. B - Robo Cross. Illustrations may be in any form - photos, hand drawings, etc. Documentation must be clear and legible.

(section: 4 / paragraph: j / line: 1)

2013-12-20 17:55 Please provide the geometry of the bonus jug. For example, is the cross section circular (bleach bottle) or rounded square (milk jug) and is the connection between the bottom of the jug and the wall rounded.

The bonus jug will be a plastic milk or juice jug provided by the local event supervisor and will be what is available locally. It is recommended to use a jug that is squared on the bottom and has 4 sides, not a rounded jug. If there are more than one playing fields are a competition, the jugs must be identical.

(section: 4 / paragraph: j / line: 2)

2014-03-14 01:40 Will the handle on the bonus jug be placed facing up, facing down, or will competitors be allowed to choose?

The position of the handle on the bonus jug (if there is a handle) will be up to the event supervisor. All teams will have the jug placed in the same position and orientation.

(section: 5 / paragraph: c,e / line: 1,1)

2014-01-06 03:24 The rules state that the robot may move the bonus jug and robot parts may end up in or on the Bonus Jug. Can the Bonus Jug be ON the robot itself within the scoring zones and be scored according to the zone the robot is in?


(section: 5 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-03-27 16:13 If the objects are inside of the jug, but still attached to the the robot, will they count for points?

Yes. The key language in rules 6.b.ii and 6.b.iii is: " or fully supported by the Bonus Jug..."

(section: 5 / paragraph: f / sub-paragraph: iii / line: 1)

2013-12-23 02:48 Are the wires that connect a controller to the robot considered "part of the robot" with regard to this rule? If the wires are long enough that they touch the ground outside of the playing field, are they considered out of play, stopping the run?

No, the wires from the controller are part of the controller. No part of the rule requires time stop for the controller touching the ground.

(section: 6 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: ii,iii / line: 1)

2014-03-27 16:14 The robot carries a container and some items are picked up and stored in the container. If the container is dropped on top of the bonus jug that is facing up, are the items in the container considered fully supported by the jug and are awarded 3x ...

If the container is fully supported by the jug, yes, the objects in it are fully supported by the jug.

(section: 6 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2013-12-20 20:22 Should the reference here be to Para 5, line 2, not 5.a., which does not require any identifications?

Yes, 6.c. should read: The score will be reduced one point for each incorrect identification in 5. line 1-2.

(section: Unknow / line: Unknow)

2013-12-23 02:49 May a cell phone be used as the remote control for the robot?

Yes. The general rules referenced in para 2.h at specifically allow smartphones. However, be aware, some tournaments may have rules against cell phone use by competitors, I suggest you clear such use tournament by tournament.

Boomilever - Div B

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-01-23 15:55 3a says that the Boolilever must be attached to the mounting hook(s). If the attachment base on the boomilever has no hole but rests against the mounting hook does that count as "attached"?

Yes, the boomilever may rest against the mounting hook.

(section: 3 / paragraph: d / line: 1)

2013-11-30 07:48 Is it 5 cm below Contact depth of actual Boomilever being tested, or 5 cm from Contact Depth line?

Please refer to the posted Rules Clarification.

2013-11-30 07:55 Does rule 3d mean that the loading block must be at or above 5cm below the contact depth before start AND during loading? For example, can the loading block be at 25cm below the center line of the hook if the contact depth=20cm? Will this depth be...

The rule does not state that the loading block must be at of above 5cm below the contact depth during the loading. Testing will continue until failure of the Boomilever which is defined in 5.f.line 3.

(section: 3g,h / line: 1)

2014-01-23 15:36 Can we use dowel joints to connect/join wood pieces in addition to adhesive? i.e. the dowel pins are made of wood.

Dowels are allowed as long as they are made of wood and meet the requirements of rule 3.g.

(section: 5 / paragraph: i / line: 2-3)

2014-03-27 19:41 What is the correct usage of the stabilization sticks (i.e. door stop end bumper only, wood dowel end only, either wood dowel or door stop end, or does not matter)?

To correctly use the stabilization sticks, the door stop end bumper should be used to touch the bucket, not the wood dowel end.

(section: 5 / paragraph: j / line: all)

2014-01-23 15:52 Please explain "Failure." Should loading stop if a piece breaks off the structure? Rule 3.a. states that it must be a single structure.

Failure is defined specifically in rule 5.j. Rule 3.a. defines the construction parameters of the structure, not what happens to the structure during loading. Therefore, if a piece breaks off the structure during loading and the structure is still supporting the load, loading will continue until failure occurs as defined in 5.j.


(section: 3 / paragraph: E / line: 2)

2014-01-23 15:10 The rule says around a single vertical axis, but last year when my team was at state we saw a group with a tandem/chinook style helicopter. I was wondering if this is legal according to the 2914 rules, though I also see that it is still phrased th...

Chinook style helicopters are still legal under the 2014 rules, but will not receive any bonus. 3e defines a rotor as a blade or blades which rotate around a vertical axis. Each rotor may have it's own vertical axis.

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 2)

2014-01-26 22:48 If two (or more) rotors share a common vertical axis (eg, attached to the same motor mast) but rotate on different horizontal planes, are the rotors considered separate rotors?

Rotors are defined in rule 3.e as one or more blades that rotate on a common path around a vertical axis. The rules do not include any requirements for the amount of vertical separation between blades necessary, so blades that are separated to an unlimited extent may still qualify as being part of the same assembly. One blade could be on the top of the helicopter or motorstick and another on the bottom, but still be connected in a single rotor assembly. The "path" referred to in rule 3.e does not indicate that every blade must occupy exactly the same volumetric space on each rotation. Instead, it means that when an assembly is rotated around an axis, each blade also processes around that axis. A key test of whether blades are part of the same rotor are to determine if they are rigidly connected to each other. If one blade cannot rotate independently of another blade, they are on the same rotor and constitute a multi bladed rotor. To test if a rotor is single bladed, the students should demonstrate that it can rotate independent of all other blades on the helicopter without damage to the helicopter.

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-01-23 15:22 If the radius is 15 cm or less (which would equal a diameter of 30 cm) how does this relate to rule 3e - the maximum diameter is 25 cm.

The 15cm referred to in rule 3.f is an exception for single-bladed rotors only, as they have less lifting area and their swept diameter is extremely difficult to measure. Any rotor assembly with more than one blade must have a diameter less than 25cm. If a rotor only has a single blade, it must have a radius less than 15cm.

(section: 3 / paragraph: F / line: 1)

2014-02-24 22:52 Do single blades which pass the student demonstration of independent rotation but then function together as a multi bladed rotor during flight still qualify for Scoring Rule 5.a. time bonus, and would the blades be evaluated under Construction Rul...

No, the pre-inspection is not the only time in which a device must be within compliance of the rules. It must remain in compliance throughout testing. As such, if a Helicopter rotor design functions as a two-bladed rotor during flight, it will be judged as a two-bladed rotor. This means the 25 cm rotor diameter limit will apply and the 10% bonus will not.

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1-3)

2014-01-23 14:54 Would a two or three-bladed rotor count as a single-blade for the 10% bonus if only one of the blades is covered and the others are left uncovered (without mylar, etc)?

Yes, the other components referred to as "blades" above are not blades as they do not provide lift, they are counterweights. Only the covered surface counts as a blade and presuming all other requirements are met, will count as a single bladed rotor.

(section: 3 / paragraph: F / sub-paragraph: I / line: 3)

2014-01-23 15:28 If the helicopter blade consisting of a single surface has the axis of rotation in the middle of the surface, will it still be considered a single surface for the purpose of the bonus?

No, the axis of rotation in this situation divides the covered region into two separate lifting surfaces, meaning two separate blades.

(section: 4 / paragraph: I / line: 3)

2014-03-10 01:58 Is there a time after a helicopter gets hung up in a ceiling obstacle the judges should use before calling a halt to the time.

The rules do not mandate any amount of time for hang-ups to continue legal flight time. Whether the rotors are supporting the weight of the helicopter or not is the only factor determining whether a flight is over or not and this will be up to the judgement of the event supervisor at the individual tournament. We cannot comment on a specific scenarios or occurrences without having actually been physically present.

(section: 4 / paragraph: j / line: 2)

2014-02-24 22:59 How will judges determine that the rotors no longer support the weight of the helicopter?

This will be up to the judgement of the event supervisor. There are simply too many potential scenarios based on local conditions and individual behavior to predict every possibility.

(section: 5 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-03-11 23:44 Could a single bladed rotor that is unpowered ( not powered by rubberband or anything else) qualify for the bonus?

No, as per rule 3.e, rotors must be the lifting surfaces. If a component is not powered, it is not providing lift. Para 3.f, last sentence: A blade is defined as a single surface designed to create lift force as it moves through the air. An unpowered blade is likely to be stationary, so it cannot provide lift.