I could be mistaken but aren't pneumatic devices illegal? The rules state "h. The robot may have devices to remove the opponent from the square except any projectiles tethered or untethered, flames, sharp objects, and magnets. Pneumatic devices are not allowed." A pneumatic device is defined as: of relating to, or using gas (as air or wind). A vacuum is clearly a pneumatic device thus if LASA is really using a vacuum than it is illegal according to the rules that were distributed in August. If I'm missing something then please enlighten me, but otherwise I don't think vacuums should be allowed and anyone using them should be disqualified... of course knowing LASA they'll just build something ten times better anyway
Wikipedia and dictionary.com are not good sources for a deep understanding of engineering terms. Pneumatic devices are generally either closed systems or use blowing air (i.e. compressed air) to move another object (as in pneumatic air drills). Vacuum pumps are NOT the same thing as vacuum cleaner (which, from your descriptions above, is what LASA is essentially using). Vacuum pumps are highly specialized devices designed to remove gas from an enclosed chamber (hence fitting the closed system pneumatic definition above), vacuum cleaners simply move air through a tube open to the larger world. Violating my first line, compare the wikipedia pages for each. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccum_cleaner (which lists specialized pneumatic vacuum cleaners as a separate section) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_pump@Chalker: Do you know why they are allowing vacuums? I’ve double and triple checked every definition I could find for pneumatic devices and here’s what I came up with:
1. Pneumatics is the use of pressurized gas to affect mechanical motion.
2. Any device which generates or is powered by compressed air
3. Any of various tools and instruments that generate and utilize compressed air.
4. A device moved or worked by air pressure.
A vacuum pump clearly fits all of those definitions… Furthermore if you got to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pneumatics and click ‘examples of pneumatic devices’ vacuum pump is clearly listed at the bottom.
That seems rather odd... I spoke with an associate professor at our state college at the begining of the season who said that a vacuum is a pneumatic device so we took it off our robot early on. I'm not going to deny that being allowed to use them peeves me a little... oh well... nothing we can do about it I guess.
The solution here is to not rely on external interpretations of the rules. If you have an idea that you think might be pushing the rules, submit an official rules clarification on it. That's the only way to know if it will be permitted by Science Olympiad or not. Either LASA took a gamble on the rules and got lucky with their device or asked about it earlier in the year.That's still a little frustrating... I'm with Monger on this one. If they didn't mean to outlaw vacuums they shouldn't have blatantly said “No pneumatic devices.” My team really wanted to use vacuums but didn’t because the rules clearly stated it would be illegal.
Even with the standard disclaimer of this not being an official venue for clarifications (nor me being the person to ultimately answer that question for sumo bots), my suspicion is that the answer would be "it depends, bring it to the event supervisor to see." Many of these extreme hypotheticals are just too hard to judge without the physical device in front of you.Oh that makes sense; I guess I was just over thinking it a bit! I do have one last question though, if you’re willing to answer it. Would a dedicated closed system (vacuum pump; more specifically, a diaphragm pump) be illegal? That is, compared to fan units.
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