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To: Chris Cantor <>
Subject: Re: pen for find life on mars event? 
In-reply-to: Your message of Thu, 03 Jul 1997 12:51:58 -0400.
From: Reid Simmons <>
Date: Thu, 03 Jul 1997 13:48:22 -0400
Message-ID: <>
Precedence: bulk
Status: RO

> Our robot does not have a grasper that is dynamic enough for us    
> to successfully catch martians.  What this means is that we have to
> design some kind of addition to the arm to successfully trap
> the squiggle balls.  As we design this, we need to know if 
> the lip on the pen be removed
> so that we can push the martians in, or if teams have an option 
> of a lip/door configuration?  Also, if the pen "lip" was to be optional,
> what would be the penalty for squiggle balls unsuccessfully deposited
> in the bin (either balls that got out or balls that, for reasons of
> the pens incompatibility with robot hardware, did not make it in).

The rules state 50 point penalty for supplying your own pen doors (which
includes the lip).  The rules also state that you get a certain number of
points for picking up the objects (but you cannot get multiple points for
picking up the same object, eg, if you drop it), and another amount of points
for putting it in the pen.  So, if the balls never make it into the pen, you
just don't get those points.

Now, the design of the pen is such that the squiggle balls, once inside, will
not be able to get out.  I did not take into account what would happen if you
supply your own (lipless) doors, and the balls escape during the trial.  In
this case, my ruling is that the points for "balls in pen" will be counted at
the end of the trial (if you use our doors, and something escapes, it will not
count against you in any way).

On that subject, we are currently designing the pen: The rules state that the
lip is to be ~5cm (~2").  That's pretty high, in my mind.  We can easily make
it lower, and still ensure that the squiggle balls will not escape (I don't
know how low -- our squiggle balls come in on Monday and we can test it then).
The question is: Does anyone have a problem with lowering the lip height?  If
anyone does, I'll keep it the same (since that's what the rules state), but if
there are no problems with it, we'll lower it to the minimum needed.