Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
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Official Q&A: VRC 2023-2024: Over Under

Usage Guidelines All Questions

Headset for Non-Communication Purposes


<G8> States that Only Drivers, and only in the Alliance Station. During a Match, each Team may have up to three (3) Drive Team Members in their Alliance Station, and all Drive Team Members must remain in their Alliance Station for the duration of the Match.

a. Drive Team Members are prohibited from any of the following actions during a Match:

b. Bringing/using any sort of communication devices into the Alliance Station. Devices with communication features turned off (e.g., a phone in airplane mode) are allowed.

We would like clarification on what devices are actually allowed as we have come across discrepancies in its interpretation at different events. Below are a few device options we would like to confirm if they are legal for the drive team to use during matches:

  1. Cell phone with airplane mode engaged paired with a wireless headset (e.g. airpods)

  2. Cell phone with airplane mode engaged paired with a wired headset

  3. MP3 player without communication functions connected to a wireless headset

  4. MP3 player without communication functions connected to a wired headset

Our intention is not to use it as a communication device but a way to play music softly (still hear referees and team members, one ear only) as a personal calming measure that's very important for some.

Thank you.

Answered by committee

Note: The game manual update on April 2nd specifies that powered headphones, earbuds, and passive earpieces connected to electronic devices cannot be worn/used in the Alliance Station except as required by an officially approved accommodation request. The answer below does not apply to matches at the VEX Robotics World Championship.

The primary intent of <G8> is to prohibit these "coaching" communications from outside the Alliance Station. Provided that any communication features are disabled (e.g. phone in airplane mode), there is no rule prohibiting wired or wireless headphones used for personal music.

However, as noted in your question, this allowance assumes that proper measures are being taken to avoid any risks to safety or gameplay. For example, a Head Referee may ask that a student remove their headphones if they cannot hear verbal calls or warnings during a Match (as an application of rules <T1> / <G1> / <S1> / <G3>). Since there could also potentially be non-gameplay implications involved, it would also be within an Event Partner's purview (under <T4>) to place restrictions on personal headphone usage for all Teams.