Division C Events

Division C Events

admin Mon, 2008-08-11 16:20

Questions must be directed toward the rules. We cannot pre-judge your device by answering questions on whether it complies.

Earth & Space Science

Earth & Space Science

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:52

Astronomy

Astronomy

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:52

Is internet access allowed? In previous years it has been explicit but in the rules this year there is no mention of the internet, which leaves ambiguity.

Is internet access allowed? In previous years it has been explicit but in the rules this year there is no mention of the internet, which leaves ambiguity.

ceann Mon, 2017-03-06 19:26
No, internet access is not allowed. It is stated in the science olympiad general rules that outside communication is not allowed during the event, and internet access falls under that.

We are having trouble getting DS9 Software to run with Cygwin64. What version of DS9 will we need to know how to use for the event? Since we don't have internet access at the competitions we will not be able to use the JS9.

We are having trouble getting DS9 Software to run with Cygwin64. What version of DS9 will we need to know how to use for the event? Since we don't have internet access at the competitions we will not be able to use the JS9.

admin Thu, 2016-11-03 17:36

Because the event will be pen and paper, only printouts (or screenshots) of DS9 will be used. As a result, teams do not have to have DS9 on their computers to compete. Instead, if you cannot download DS9 simply use JS9 (the online tool) to practice for the competition. What is tested instead is students familiarity with the programs output and how to analyze/interpret that output. So however you get it to run on your personal, school, or library computers (and whichever version you use) is really a fine way to gain that understanding.

Dynamic Planet - Div C

Dynamic Planet - Div C

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:53

Are the basins limited to only those mentioned in parentheses, or can others be included as well?

Are the basins limited to only those mentioned in parentheses, or can others be included as well?

ceann Sat, 2017-02-11 15:10
The test should be limited to the types of basins listed in the parentheses.

Remote Sensing

Remote Sensing

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:53

Rocks and Minerals

Rocks and Minerals

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:53

Inquiry & Nature of Science

Inquiry & Nature of Science

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:53

Experimental Design - Div C

Experimental Design - Div C

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:54

In reference to "may bring a ruler," can a meter stick or tape measure be used?

In reference to "may bring a ruler," can a meter stick or tape measure be used?

ceann Mon, 2017-03-06 21:17
Yes, a meter stick or tape measure may be used. All of the definitions found for ruler follow the Definition of Ruler by Merriam-Webster (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ruler) ... 2 : a straight strip (as of plastic, wood, or metal) with a smooth edge that is marked off in units and used for measuring or as a guide in drawing straight lines. Please note the definition requires a straight strip, it does not indicate min. or max. lengths.

Game On

Game On

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:54

Hydrogeology

Hydrogeology

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:54

Write It Do It - Div C

Write It Do It - Div C

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:54

Are alphabetical letters allowed if within the context of the description of an object? Such as "L-shaped" and "shaped like an S"?

Are alphabetical letters allowed if within the context of the description of an object? Such as "L-shaped" and "shaped like an S"?

ceann Tue, 2017-03-07 21:17
Yes, as long as there is no clear attempt to create a drawing out of the letters that would identify the shape of the object (other than saying, "It is L-shaped", etc.).

Do arrows, greek symbols, and general shorthand count as editing, punctuation, or scientific symbols?

Do arrows, greek symbols, and general shorthand count as editing, punctuation, or scientific symbols?

ceann Sun, 2017-03-12 19:53
Commonly-understood symbols are acceptable (e.g., degree symbol; less-than; more-than; etc.). But using "shorthand" in the true sense (e.g., a set of symbols that are only understood by people who know that "language") is not acceptable.

Drawings are not allowed, but in next sentence single letters are, so just want to clarify if these phrases are considered acceptable:"Open a paperclip form an 'S' shape" or "Place two pipecleaners flat on the table so they form an 'X' shape."

Drawings are not allowed, but in next sentence single letters are, so just want to clarify if these phrases are considered acceptable:"Open a paperclip form an 'S' shape" or "Place two pipecleaners flat on the table so they form an 'X' shape."

ceann Sun, 2017-03-12 20:05
Both examples (and anything similar) are acceptable uses of individual letters.

May a writer draw a compass diagram on top of their written instructions to indicate North, South, East, West, etc. because it does not describe the model itself? North, South, etc. would be referenced in the written instructions.

May a writer draw a compass diagram on top of their written instructions to indicate North, South, East, West, etc. because it does not describe the model itself? North, South, etc. would be referenced in the written instructions.

ceann Sun, 2017-03-12 20:04
No, students may not use drawings of any kind in any part of the written instructions. North, South, East, West may be abbreviated (N, S, E, W) without penalty.

Life, Personal & Social Science

Life, Personal & Social Science

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:55

Invasive Species - Div C

Invasive Species - Div C

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:56

Ecology - Div C

Ecology - Div C

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:55

"Simpson Index" can be loosely applied to 3 different values (and calculations) depending on the author/source: Simpson's Index, Simpson's Index of Diversity and Simpson's Reciprocal Index. This should be clarified.

"Simpson Index" can be loosely applied to 3 different values (and calculations) depending on the author/source: Simpson's Index, Simpson's Index of Diversity and Simpson's Reciprocal Index. This should be clarified.

admin Thu, 2016-11-03 17:39

Students should be familiar with all three. If used for the National competition the national supervisor will specify which is being used. We have chosen to define the Simpson index, p as the proportion (n/N) of individuals of one particular species found (n) divided by the total number of individuals found (N), Σ is still the sum of the calculations, and s is the number of species. This information can be found on the files distributed at coaches clinics and will also be on the SO website once the clinics are over.

Disease Detectives - Div C

Disease Detectives - Div C

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:55

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:55

Microbe Mission - Div C

Microbe Mission - Div C

admin Thu, 2009-09-10 15:20

Physical Science & Chemistry

Physical Science & Chemistry

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:56

Chem Lab

Chem Lab

admin Fri, 2014-09-12 11:10

Hovercraft - Div C

Hovercraft - Div C

admin Fri, 2011-10-28 10:40

Can teams use a remote control to start and/or stop their hovercraft?

Can teams use a remote control to start and/or stop their hovercraft?

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 19:17

No, as any remote control system would violate either the dimension requirements or the prohibition on integrated circuits.

Can we connect two 9V batteries in parallel? Voltage across any points will not exceed 9V as they are connected in parallel. This just gives us higher current capacity to drive two motors.

Can we connect two 9V batteries in parallel? Voltage across any points will not exceed 9V as they are connected in parallel. This just gives us higher current capacity to drive two motors.

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 19:10

Yes, this would be allowed.

Description state "MAY construct". Can students use commercial kits or models or should they be built "from scratch".

Description state "MAY construct". Can students use commercial kits or models or should they be built "from scratch".

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 19:05

Commercial kits may be used, as long as the SO building policy is followed: https://www.soinc.org/building_tools_policy

Do commercially available switches, such as dimmer switches, count as integrated circuits?

Do commercially available switches, such as dimmer switches, count as integrated circuits?

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 19:56

It depends on the specific switch. Some switches are purely mechanical (i.e. utilize a potentiometer) and are allowed. Others are digital (i.e. utilize an integrated circuit) and are not allowed.

For the definition of a "cushion of air": does the air have to have a way out of the cushion on the bottom or sides, or can it be designed similar to an air mattress?

For the definition of a "cushion of air": does the air have to have a way out of the cushion on the bottom or sides, or can it be designed similar to an air mattress?

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 20:10

Yes because it is not hovering unless air is coming out. The air must have some way of escaping (i.e. it should need to be actively replenished for the device to work, not just be a sealed inflatable chamber).

How high must the hovercraft hover?

How high must the hovercraft hover?

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 20:07

There is no set distance it must hover. If an event supervisor, from a normal observation point without having to get up and close to the hovercraft, can visually see it move down when pushed, then yes it levitates.

In Section 2, paragraph 5, sub paragraph f, the rules mention a target time and then identify it for C only. In section 3, paragraph 6, subparagraph b, the scoring says the time score gives a calculation involving a target time. Please clarify.

In Section 2, paragraph 5, sub paragraph f, the rules mention a target time and then identify it for C only. In section 3, paragraph 6, subparagraph b, the scoring says the time score gives a calculation involving a target time. Please clarify.

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 19:04

5.f. doesn't identify the target time for C only. It only mentions that the target length will be announced for Div. C only (since Div. B already knows the target length). The target time concept applies to both B and C. The reference to Div C is for the variable length that must be announced.

Integrated circuits may not be allowed, but are individual transistors allowed?

Integrated circuits may not be allowed, but are individual transistors allowed?

ceann Tue, 2017-03-07 20:40
A single transistor does NOT meet the definition of an integrated circuit and is allowed. However, most event supervisors won’t have the knowledge / ability to verify that a given small black box is a single transistor vs. an integrated circuit (for example, some voltage regulators look EXACTLY like a transistor but clearly are an IC). Competitors will be at risk to having their device DQ’d if they bring something with lots of transistors that can’t be verified in a timely manner by an unskilled supervisor.

Is a breadboard with resistors and/or transformers considered and integrated circuit?

Is a breadboard with resistors and/or transformers considered and integrated circuit?

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 19:19

No. A breadboard with discrete resistors and/or basic transformers is not an integrated circuit. Note though that some types of resistors and transformers ARE integrated circuits and hence are not allowed.

Is an Arduino an integrated circuit?

Is an Arduino an integrated circuit?

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 19:29

Yes, an Arduino contains many integrated circuits and is not legal.

Is the maximum dimensions of the skirt 19.5 x 30 cm when the hovercraft is inflated or deflated? Can the skirt be larger than those dimensions when the motor is not running?

Is the maximum dimensions of the skirt 19.5 x 30 cm when the hovercraft is inflated or deflated? Can the skirt be larger than those dimensions when the motor is not running?

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 20:25

The maximum dimension of the skirt is the same as the device, 19.5 cm wide x 30 cm long, both inflated and deflated. Students may tuck the uninflated skirt under the device prior to inflation.

Is the total voltage for the hovercraft 9V, or is 9 volts the maximum rated for each circuit? For example, may I have a separate 9V battery for each motor if they are not linked?

Is the total voltage for the hovercraft 9V, or is 9 volts the maximum rated for each circuit? For example, may I have a separate 9V battery for each motor if they are not linked?

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 19:12

Yes, multiple batteries may be used as long as they are not connected in such a way that the voltage exceeds 9 V in any circuit. Separate 9 V circuits are allowed.

Is there an interval for the target time of the competition. Ex-- between 5.0-25.0s in intervals of 1 second

Is there an interval for the target time of the competition. Ex-- between 5.0-25.0s in intervals of 1 second

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 19:53

No

Please define what the propeller shielding is (1/4 in diameter?).

Please define what the propeller shielding is (1/4 in diameter?).

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 20:28

The propeller(s) must be enclosed in such a way that there are no holes bigger than 1/4" in diameter in the enclosure. A 1/4" dowel rod must not be able to penetrate the material.

Shouldn't the denominator be "target time" instead of "run time"? Currently, if target time was 10s and run time was 4s, the time score would be TS = (1-(abs(4s -10s)/4s))x25 = (1-(6s/4s))x25 = (-0.5)x25 = -12.5 a negative number!

Shouldn't the denominator be "target time" instead of "run time"? Currently, if target time was 10s and run time was 4s, the time score would be TS = (1-(abs(4s -10s)/4s))x25 = (1-(6s/4s))x25 = (-0.5)x25 = -12.5 a negative number!

ceann Thu, 2017-03-09 20:56
The scoring formula as written is intentional. Rule 6.b. explicitly says the smallest possible TS is 0. The official Excel event scoresheet available on sonic.org automatically does this. Even if you get a TS of 0 due to the formula going negative, you still have a successful run and get a non-negative MS (note that rule 6.a. isn’t explicitly tied to the TS). The purpose here is NOT to have the fastest vehicle, but rather to have the most adjustable vehicle that can try to meet a target time. The key is that instead of thinking about it in terms of absolute TIME differences, the rules committee thought about it in terms of SPEED differences. That is, say the target time is 25 seconds. With the proposed modified formula, a team doing a run in 12.5 seconds (twice the speed) gets a time score of 12.5 points. However a team doing a run in 50 seconds (half the speed) gets a time score of 0. There is no simple formula that can perfectly balance faster vs. slower speeds, so the rules committee explicitly decided to ENCOURAGE lower speeds (both from a safety standpoint and because it’s a harder engineering challenge), so the formula as printed in the rules provides less penalty if you err on the side of a lower speed (e.g. overshooting the target time)

The 1/4" or larger dowel. Can any material be used (i.e. wood, plastic, metal), and must it be solid or can it be an optically opaque tube meeting the specified dimensions and purpose of breaking a light beam?

The 1/4" or larger dowel. Can any material be used (i.e. wood, plastic, metal), and must it be solid or can it be an optically opaque tube meeting the specified dimensions and purpose of breaking a light beam?

admin Mon, 2016-11-14 21:25

The dowel can be any material, but by definition a dowel is a solid cylindrical rod, hence a straw is not allowed.

The clarification on this rule is not entirely clear. If I found a commercially-available product containing a brushless motor attached to a fan, must it be labeled as a "cooling fan" to be legal?

The clarification on this rule is not entirely clear. If I found a commercially-available product containing a brushless motor attached to a fan, must it be labeled as a "cooling fan" to be legal?

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 19:26

No. As long as it is a fan typically used for cooling electronics or computers it does not need to be labeled as such.

The rules say that Brushless motors and integrated circuits are not permitted, does this just refer to integrated circuits to control motors or things like adjustable voltage regulators and arduinos.

The rules say that Brushless motors and integrated circuits are not permitted, does this just refer to integrated circuits to control motors or things like adjustable voltage regulators and arduinos.

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 19:55

Note there is an official rules clarification related to this, available at: https://www.soinc.org/official_rules_clarif The integrated circuit prohibition refers to all components (including voltage regulators / arduinos) other than those specified in the rules clarification.

What constitutes an integrated circuit?(ie. are resistors, capacitors, transistors allowed? Operational Amplifiers?)

What constitutes an integrated circuit?(ie. are resistors, capacitors, transistors allowed? Operational Amplifiers?)

admin Mon, 2016-11-07 19:27

An integrated circuit is a circuit in which all or some of the circuit elements are inseparably associated and electrically interconnected so that it is considered to be indivisible for the purposes of construction and commerce. Most resistors and capacitors are not integrated circuits. Nearly all transistors and op-amps are integrated circuits.

Forensics

Forensics

admin Mon, 2014-09-08 13:46

Does "flame test equipment" include wood splints & cotton swabs?

Does "flame test equipment" include wood splints & cotton swabs?

ceann Sun, 2017-03-12 20:55
Wood splints & cotton swabs are the worst possible flame test equipment and should be avoided in favor of nichrome wire, but can be used although it is up to the local event supervisor if they are a safety hazard.

Materials Science

Materials Science

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:56

Optics

Optics

admin Mon, 2014-09-08 13:47

Wind Power - Div C

Wind Power - Div C

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:57

Technology & Engineering

Technology & Engineering

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:58

Helicopters

Helicopters

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:59

What defines a single bladed rotor? Would a single stick of wood projecting out horizontally from the body be considered a "lifting surface" that "rotates on a common path around a vertical axis"?

What defines a single bladed rotor? Would a single stick of wood projecting out horizontally from the body be considered a "lifting surface" that "rotates on a common path around a vertical axis"?

admin Mon, 2016-11-14 21:21

No, that would not be considered a lifting surface. To be considered a lifting surface, it must contribute lift to the overall flying assembly. An easy way to demonstrate that would be to demonstrate flying it with and without the surface, if the surface is not present then the flight would be significantly different.

Are there any single bladed rotor configurations where the blade is directly connected to the motor stick that would be considered legal for the bonus?

Are there any single bladed rotor configurations where the blade is directly connected to the motor stick that would be considered legal for the bonus?

ceann Sun, 2017-03-12 20:57
Yes, there are valid configurations where a single bladed rotor attached to a motor stick can be legal for the bonus. Specifically, if there is only a freewheeling rotor on one end of the motor stick and is receiving power from the rubber band, generating lift. For example, if the single bladed rotor glued/affixed directly to the stick and that end of the stick has no other rotor blade(s) and has only a hook for the end of the rubber motor. However, if the rotor does not have any counter-acting resistance, it will receive no power and as such will not provide lift. The most likely arrangement for this would be a single blade attached to the side of a motor stick, with free-wheeling and directly powered rotors at either end. In this configuration, the single blade is not a rotor assembly and does not qualify for the bonus.

Competitors must construct the rotors themselves. If they design the rotors themselves can they use a 3D printer to make the part?

Competitors must construct the rotors themselves. If they design the rotors themselves can they use a 3D printer to make the part?

ceann Sun, 2017-03-12 20:33
Yes. According the General #1 and the 3D printer policy they are allowed.

Does timing stop immediately if helicopter hangs up, maybe temporarily, or can timing continue if helicopter dislodges within a short time say 10 seconds like AMA rules?

Does timing stop immediately if helicopter hangs up, maybe temporarily, or can timing continue if helicopter dislodges within a short time say 10 seconds like AMA rules?

ceann Sun, 2017-03-12 20:27
Science Olympiad is not the AMA and does not follow AMA conventions for timing. Timing stops when the judges determine the helicopter to no longer be supporting its own weight and as such, no longer be flying. This can be a tricky determination and is left up to the local supervisor, who is in the best position to actually observe the flight of the helicopter.

If multiple helicopters are brought to competition does each individual helicopter need its own flight log?

If multiple helicopters are brought to competition does each individual helicopter need its own flight log?

ceann Tue, 2017-03-07 19:34
No, students should have one flight log with all the data from all their aircraft.

Robot Arm

Robot Arm

admin Thu, 2009-09-10 15:27

Can the end effectors be completely mobile on their own, without power from the arm. i.e. a small RC car attached to the base via a tether to the base?

Can the end effectors be completely mobile on their own, without power from the arm. i.e. a small RC car attached to the base via a tether to the base?

ceann Sun, 2016-12-18 21:08
No. This would not meet the definition of a robotic arm. Definition (checked in multiple sources) A robot arm is a series of rigid elements linked by rotary or translation joints. The tether is not a rigid link, nor is it a rotary or translational joint.

Towers - Div C

Towers - Div C

admin Thu, 2009-09-10 15:27

For the load scored bonus, the tower must be clear of the 29.0 cm diameter circle. Is this during setup only or also during loading (prior to tower failure)?

For the load scored bonus, the tower must be clear of the 29.0 cm diameter circle. Is this during setup only or also during loading (prior to tower failure)?

admin Thu, 2016-12-01 22:21

The Load Scored Bonus is awarded only if the tower is outside of the 29.0 cm diameter circle through the entire testing. If the tower sags inside of the 29.0 cm circle during testing but the bucket remains off the ground and the tower is still outside the 20.0 x 20.0 cm opening on the Test Base, testing will continue until failure occurs as defined in the rules.

Electric Vehicle

Electric Vehicle

admin Tue, 2008-08-12 08:59

Are hydrogen fuel cells and solar panels allowed to power the electric vehicle?

Are hydrogen fuel cells and solar panels allowed to power the electric vehicle?

ceann Mon, 2017-03-06 20:10
No to solar panels since by rule 2.b. the energy is not stored in the "battery. No, to hydrogen fuel cells since as far as we can tell there are no "common, commercially available" H fuel cells.

At a tournament I was told that because the axles of my vehicle did not fit the specified 30cm x 60cm space, I was given a construction violation even though the wheels/treads fit in the space. Is my vehicle legal in this configuration?

At a tournament I was told that because the axles of my vehicle did not fit the specified 30cm x 60cm space, I was given a construction violation even though the wheels/treads fit in the space. Is my vehicle legal in this configuration?

ceann Tue, 2017-03-07 17:52
2.f. clearly says the wheels/treads must fit within the dimensions. Axles aren't mentioned and don't impact the measurements.

Clearly batteries must be less than 9V, but can we use step-up regulator to generate 12 V?

Clearly batteries must be less than 9V, but can we use step-up regulator to generate 12 V?

admin Mon, 2016-11-14 20:22

No, the voltage across any two points ≤ 9 V as stated by the manufacturer labels. If a step-up regulator steps a 9V battery up to 12V, this would be a violation.

How is "leading part of the vehicle" defined? Is it the forward-most part in the direction of the vehicle's travel or the closest part to the Target Point?

How is "leading part of the vehicle" defined? Is it the forward-most part in the direction of the vehicle's travel or the closest part to the Target Point?

admin Fri, 2016-11-04 09:06

The "leading part of the vehicle" is the forward-most part in the direction of the vehicle's travel.

Is "backwards" motion any motion with a component in the direction of a vector starting at the finish and pointing toward the start, or is "backwards" a different direction?

Is "backwards" motion any motion with a component in the direction of a vector starting at the finish and pointing toward the start, or is "backwards" a different direction?

ceann Mon, 2017-03-06 20:59
Backwards motion is motion of the overall vehicle in the general direction opposite to the primary direction of travel during the run. If the vehicle is moving away from the start it is moving "forward" if the vehicle is moving towards the start then it is moving "backwards".

Is the bonus awarded if the vehicle moves one or both of the cans, but still passes between them? With 'move' defined as the distance between the cans after the run differs from the distance prior to the run, to the nearest 0.1 cm.

Is the bonus awarded if the vehicle moves one or both of the cans, but still passes between them? With 'move' defined as the distance between the cans after the run differs from the distance prior to the run, to the nearest 0.1 cm.

ceann Mon, 2017-03-06 20:42
Yes, as long as the bonus requirements outlined in 3.c. are met, the bonus will be awarded. It is awarded based upon the initial distance between the cans.

Is the vehicle permitted to be propelled backwards outside of the run time (as defined in 5k)?

Is the vehicle permitted to be propelled backwards outside of the run time (as defined in 5k)?

admin Thu, 2016-11-03 17:42

No. The rule is clear. ...please see rule 5.g.

What must fit within the 30.0x60.0cm rectangle? Simply the wheelbase where the treads touch the floor or the entirety of the wheels and treads, e.g. front edge of front wheel to the rear edge of the rear wheel?

What must fit within the 30.0x60.0cm rectangle? Simply the wheelbase where the treads touch the floor or the entirety of the wheels and treads, e.g. front edge of front wheel to the rear edge of the rear wheel?

ceann Mon, 2017-03-06 20:26
"The wheels/treads in the ready-to-run configuration must fit in a 30.0 x 60.0 cm space of any height" means that the entirety of the wheels and treads (front edge of front wheel to the rear edge of the rear wheel) in the ready-to-run configuration must fit in a 30.0 x 60.0 cm space of any height.

When is this distance measurement taken? If a vehicle crosses the 8.5 m line, stops (no visible forward motion) for > 1 s, then begins moving again toward the target, then stops permanently - is the distance measurement take from the 1st or 2nd stop?

When is this distance measurement taken? If a vehicle crosses the 8.5 m line, stops (no visible forward motion) for > 1 s, then begins moving again toward the target, then stops permanently - is the distance measurement take from the 1st or 2nd stop?

ceann Mon, 2017-03-06 21:10
Distance measurement is taken when the vehicle stops permanently.

When it says that the vehicle cannot be propelled backward, does that apply to recoil which occurs when a vehicle stops, specifically if the vehicle moves backwards despite the actual propulsion only being forwards?

When it says that the vehicle cannot be propelled backward, does that apply to recoil which occurs when a vehicle stops, specifically if the vehicle moves backwards despite the actual propulsion only being forwards?

ceann Sat, 2017-02-11 15:52
No, the minor recoil when a vehicle stops is not considered backwards propulsion. Ultimately it will be up to the event supervisor to determine if this movement was intentional to gain a benefit to the team.