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1996 LEGO Racer Rules

  • Object

    The object of the LEGO Racer contest is to build a robot that can quickly and reliably follow a white line shaped in a figure eight. In order to complete the exercise your robot must complete three laps of the circuit. Your robot will be disqualified if: (a) any portion of the robot enters the exclusion zones inside the figure eight; or (b) if it takes the wrong turn after it comes out of the central common section of the figure eight. Two robots compete on the circuit at the same time, starting at either end of the figure eight facing in the same direction. Collisions and jostling are actively encouraged.

  • Playing Field

    The playing field is set on the floor, with strips of white electrical tape making the figure-of-eight track and the exclusion zones.

    • The Track

      The track is made from white electrical tape.

      The track is made of sections running at 45 degrees to each other. The perpendicular sections are 500mm in length, with the corners as a 250mm bevel.

    • The Field

      The field is the floor of the laboratory.

      The field generally has less IR reflectivity than the track, but may vary in reflectivity across the surface.

    • The Exclusion Zones

      The exclusion zones are marked in white electrical tape.

      The exclusion zone starts at the inside of the electrical tape

  • Play

    • Impoundment

      Before the contest, all robots and a copy of the software recorded on floppy disk is to be handed in to the judges. The robot must be handed in as a single structure that complies with the rules (see Structure). The floppy disk must contain any and all software to be used in the contest. The floppy disk may contain as many versions of your software as will fit on a single 1.44Mb floppy disk. Only your robot's software may be on the disk. No PC software may be on the disk.

    • Setup

      The robot and software will be released from impounding ten (10) minutes before the robot is due to perform on the field. A PC with the download and IC software will be provided for each team to download the p-code and their software during this time. A robot may be structurally modified during this time to better suit a particular competitor, however all components of the robot must remain attached to the robot. At then end of the setup time or when the preceding teams are finished (which ever is later) the judges will indicate that the placement time has commenced.

    • Placement

      The robots are to be placed in their starting positions within 30 seconds of the Judges call. Any team that has a badly damaged robot may appeal to the judges for extra placement time, which may be granted at the judges' discretion. No software may be loaded during this time, but adjustments are permissible.

      Any team that does not have its robot ready will be penalised 1 point for every 10 seconds that they are late.

    • Start

      The robots will start with some part of the robot over the track, completely behind the start line drawn on the track. The starting signal will be the activation of the start beacon. Neither robot should move before the start signal. If a robot should falsely start, it will be given a second chance. If it should falsely start again it will be disqualified.

    • Racing

      The robots may choose any path to race the figure eight, provided that:

      • They do not enter the exclusion zones.
      • They circle the upper exclusion zone in a clockwise direction, and the lower exclusion zone in an anticlockwise direction.
      • They do not circle the same exclusion zone, or any portion of that zone, consecutively.

      Violation of the above rules implies disqualification.

    • Obstruction

      LEGO racing encourages full body contact. Either robot may willfully ram, jostle, obstruct or otherwise attack the other robot as it races around the track. Obstruction may only be accomplished by bodily force. The following will be ruled as foul play leading to disqualification of the offending robot:

      • The malicious use of IR transmission (jamming)
      • The malicious use of electric current, heat or other such methods
      • Machines are not allowed to destroy one another's microprocessor board or sensors.
      • No parts or substances may be deliberately dumped, deposited or otherwise left to remain on the playing surface.

    • Time Out

      A race may last at most five minutes.

    • Scoring

      The first robot to complete the course by accomplishing three laps of the figure eight will be awarded a maximum of five points. If the other robot also completes the course in the prescribed time, it will be awarded three points. In the event of a time out, the leading robot will be awarded two points, the other robot will be awarded one point. Any robot that has been disqualified cannot score any points.

  • Control

    All control of the robot must be from the on-board microprocessor. No external control is allowed. After setup the robot should be placed in the appropriate position on the field and wait for the starting signal. Once the robot has been placed on the field, no form of communication with the robot is allowed. The impounded code may not be modified in any way.

  • Robot Structure

    • The robot dimensions at any point during each race should not exceed 250 x 250 x 250mm.
    • Only LEGO parts and connectors may be used as robot structure. LEGO rubber bands are counted as LEGO parts; therefore, LEGO rubber bands may be used to provide structural support for your machine.
    • LEGO pieces may not be glued together.
    • LEGO pieces may not be modified in any way with the following exceptions:
      • LEGO pieces may be modified to facilitate the mounting of sensors.
      • LEGO pieces may be modified to perform a function directly related to sensor operation. An example: Holes may be drilled into a LEGO wheel to help make an optical shaft encoder.
    • String may not be used for structural purposes.
    • A non-LEGO part may attached to at most two LEGO parts via glue.
    • Cardboard, other paper products may be used for the purpose of creating optical shields for light sensors.
    • Wire may be used for electrical purposes only, not structural.
    • Only the LEGO rubber bands may be used to provide stored mechanical energy.
    • Any machine that appears to be a safety hazard will be disqualified.

  • Judging

    The tutor and any other persons appointed by the course organiser will act as judges. The course organiser will act as chief judge.

    All decisions made by the judges will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into.

    Contestants may approach the organiser about possible designs that may be questionable under the rules listed above. Any queries will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and will not be divulged to any of the other contestants.