2023 Approved Devices, Rules Preview, and Vision Target Update




With Kickoff fast approaching, we are finalizing the game manual and wanted to share some details about 2023 Robot Rules that we think may help teams prepare for the season. With the exception of a couple rules about robot size and extension, all of the Robot Rules in the 2022 Game Manual are marked as “evergreen”, meaning you can expect them to stay pretty much the same year to year (so you can use the 2022 manual to help understand these changes). That doesn’t mean we will never iterate or tweak them year-to-year based on community feedback. The changes highlighted here are the ones we think are most likely to affect choices teams may make prior to Kickoff. Expect to see a few more minor changes to the Robot Rules in the 2023 Manual which will be highlighted in Team Update 0. The changes we want to highlight now include:

  • Modify R302-E, to permit teams to use items created before Kickoff if they are “functionally equivalent” to a COTS item. Functionally equivalent items are items that closely resemble a COTS item in both form and function. Functional equivalents should be made using similar materials to the COTS original.
  • Change the color requirement in R406 from requiring a white outline to requiring that the entire number must be white.
  • Modify the pool noodle specification in R408-A from “2.5 in (nominal)” to “2.5 in +/- .25 in”.
  • Add a line into the tables in R501 and R504 permitting any brushed motor linear actuator downstream of a 20A breaker and legal motor controller.
  • Add a Blue Box to R602 clarifying that COTS computing devices are intended to be devices collecting or processing sensor information and simply having a microcontroller (e.g., a “smart” flashlight) does not make a device a COTS computing device.
  • Add Snap Action AT2-A breakers to R619, values 40A and below.

Lastly, we want to share an update to this blog where we first shared our plans to introduce AprilTags to the field in 2023. Following that blog, we received feedback from community experts and conducted further testing that led to a decision to revise some of the choices regarding the AprilTag implementation. We apologize to those of you that have already gotten a jump on testing, but we believe that this modification will result in a better experience for all teams using the tags. By changing to a lower resolution tag family, teams should be able to detect the tags from further away for a given resolution and use a little less CPU doing so (or process at a higher frame rate). The trade-off is an increase in false detections, which testing has shown can be mitigated by using an appropriate minimum size and more aggressively rejecting tags with bit errors. The updated information is below:

  • Family: The 2023 playing field will use tags from the Tag36h11 Tag16h5 family. There will be no tags from any other family on the field.
  • Size: The tags will be approximately an 8 ⅛ 8 in. square. This means that the black square is 6.5 6 in. from outside to outside and should be printable by teams on any standard printer.
  • Material: The tags on the playing field will be made from matte vinyl to provide a blend of durability and resistance to glare and reflections. Based on our testing, we expect teams will be able to reliably practice with printed paper targets, but there are plans to investigate making official targets available for teams to purchase.

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