A team from China posted questions in Chinese on WeChat. I will attempt to translate it here and answer it, as the questions are good and all teams interested in MISSION 8 will want to follow this. (as an aside, questions concerning the IARC need to be posted here in the IARC forums-- don't send personal E-MAILs, use WeChat, or some other platform as we need to give rules interpretations in a single place where all teams (and prospective teams) can view the same information. This set of questions is being proactively answered here because the questions elicit responses that are cogent to all teams but we will not make it a practice to answer questions that are not submitted directly to the Forums).
WHAT IS BEING ASKED:
1 & 2. Can voice commands be transmitted from the team player in the arena to off-board intelligence (computer not carried by the drone) for processing and then relayed to the drone electronically? If the team player has an electronic device (perhaps an iPad) that can locally receive the voice commands (rather than screaming them to the drone(s)), could that electronic device be used as a receiver of voice commands, or does the drone have to "hear" the voice?
3. Can the "Healing" laser beam be "on" continuously, or must it be commanded to turn on and off? Also what is the wavelength and power of the "Healing" laser beam?
4. What are the characteristics and size of the box in the arena, the characteristics and size of the "Critical Object" that must be retrieved?
1 & 2. Onboard processing is of course desirable, but off-board computing is allowable. This has always been the case for all IARC missions. The reason for this is that the IARC is concerned with "Aerial Robotic BEHAVIOR", not the air vehicles themselves. If the required behaviors can be demonstrated using off-board computing, then it is only a matter expense to miniaturize that off-board intelligence so that it can fly onboard the aerial robot.
Therefore, if the team player is carrying an electronic device that allows his Helper drones to communicate the bin combinations to him, he can also speak to that device to command his drones. The device can relay that voice input (NOTE: "voice input", not digital input) to an external computer for voice recognition or other processing which can then be relayed to the drones. We want to emphasize here that the allowable input to such an electronic device is "VOICE INPUT" only. Drawing a path on the screen with one's finger is not considered a "gesture". The player could not click on a check box to indicate that he is speaking to "Helper No. 3" and then start speaking. He must be able to address the Helpers by name so as to differentiate commands (e.g., "Helper Number 3: move forward 2 meters"), or perhaps, "All Helpers return to me").
Gestures must been seen by the individual Helper drones and not relayed through a camera on anything carried by the Team player.
The intent is that the Team player speak commands which are heard by the "system" (either the drone itself or something that is in communication with the drone), and that gestures be seen by the drones themselves. Drones can relay what they see back to an off-board computer for processing, but the gestures of the Team player must be captured by an onboard Helper drone camera.
3. The Healing laser beam can be on continuously, or commanded by voice or gesture to turn on when needed. The healing beam will be a visible RED laser of sufficient power to illuminate the helmet sensors on the Team player while remaining eye-safe. If the Team player can see the beam, the helmet will see the beam. Creating a vertical laser sheet by scanning or optical means is recommended so as not to have to precisely aim the laser beam. The Healing laser will need to be 100% modulated at a frequency of 15 kHz to be recognized by the Team player's helmet electronics. The strategy as to when to deploy the Healing beam must be considered since it is only effective for a limited number of "healings". If there have been Zero "hits" by a Sentry's laser, then the hit count would be zero. Deploying the Healing laser from a Helper drone would be wasted as the hit count will not go "negative", but the available Healing beam count would register one less healing opportunity. For this reason, leaving the Healing beams ON continuously at the beginning of a run before any Sentry hits have been sustained, would be wasteful.
4. The dimensions of the bins in the arena are not stated in the Official Rules and are not critical to mission success. The bins will be rectangular with a lid that opens on the top. The "combination displays" will be located on the bin lid. Similarly, the Critical Object distributed among the bins is not specified, and could change from year to year until MISSION 8 is demonstrated. The Critical Object will be revealed to the teams at both venues prior to any given years' runs. See the Team Resource pages of the IARC website for more information about the arena and its components.
Questions about the competition rules
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