The definition of Skills Stop Time, from Appendix B, is as follows:
Skills Stop Time — The time remaining in a Robot Skills Match when a Team ends the Match early. If a Team does not end the Match early, they receive a default Skills Stop Time of 0.
- a. The moment when the Match ends early is defined as the moment when the Robot is “disabled” by the field control system. See the “Skills Stop Time” section for more details.
- b. If a V5 Robot Brain or Tournament Manager display is being used for field control, then the Skills Stop Time is the time shown on the display when the Match is ended early (i.e. in 1‑second increments).
- c. If a VEXnet Competition Switch is being used for field control, in conjunction with a manual timer that counts down to 0 with greater accuracy than 1‑second increments, then the time shown on the timer should be rounded up to the nearest second.
- i. For example, if the Robot is disabled and the stopwatch shows 25.2 seconds, then the Skills Stop Time should be recorded as 26.
Relevant sections from the “Skills Stop Time” section of Appendix B, clarifying the methods by which a tournament can facilitate the Skills Stop Time, are quoted below:
- If the event is utilizing a V5 Robot Brain or TM Mobile app for Robot Skills Challenge field control, a Drive Team Member may elect to start and stop their own Robot Skills Match.
- This V5 Robot Brain, or device running the TM Mobile app, will be used to start the Robot Skills Match (i.e. “enable” the Robot), end their Robot Skills Match (i.e. “disable” the Robot), and display the official Skills Stop Time to be recorded.
- At events which do not have a V5 Robot Brain or TM Mobile available for Robot Skills Challenge field control, Drive Team Members and field staff must agree prior to the Match on the signal that will be used to end the Match early.
- As noted in the definition of Skills Stop Time, the moment when the Match ends early is defined as the moment when the Robot is “disabled” by the field control system.
Which, if either, of the following would be acceptable for facilitating the Skills Stop Time?
Given that any method(s) ruled here to be legal, if selected by an Event Partner, would be both clearly communicated to Teams and made equally available to all Teams at all fields on which Robot Skills Matches are played.
A device that can unambiguously indicate to field staff when a Team wishes to end early.
For example, a simple circuit consisting of a latching push‑button which, when pressed, turns on an easily visible indicator light.
This system could be used as an unambiguous alternative to hand signals, verbal cues, and other signals highly susceptible to human interpretation. This could also allow Tournament Manager‑based field control and a field timer display in cases where TM Mobile is not available, if the indicator light is placed in view of the TM operator.
A discrete physical device that can directly start and stop the Robot Skills Match.
For example, a momentary push‑button connected to an Arduino Leonardo (or similar) such that, when the button is pressed, the mouse on a computer running Tournament Manager clicks the respective “Start Match” or “End Early” button.
This solution is mainly proposed as a way to allow Teams to start and stop their own Robot Skills Matches with a contact surface that is trivially easy to clean (the head of a large, mushroom-style, waterproof button) as opposed to the touchscreen of a V5 Robot Brain or TM Mobile tablet. This solution would allow myself and other EPs to provide the best possible experience for Teams without sacrificing hygiene standards which are crucial to hosting safe tournaments this season.
If the GDC rules that such a solution is not legal within the current rules, I strongly urge the GDC to reconsider this ruling, for the reasons listed above, as part of a future manual update.