Transfusion Confusion 2003

In the same vein as Fantastic Voyage….comes a game with robots that shrink to traverse the human blood vessels and separate the good red and white blood cells from diseased cells. A medical miracle….ahead of its time….but really fun to play! Arteries, capillaries, cell savers, and ROBOTS!

In 2003, the San Antonio BEST hub produced one of the funnest challenges in BEST Robotics’ history. It challenged the dexterity of the BEST robots as the blood cells were fragile. It introduced MOVING game pieces on the field; they were literally floating randomly in a container. And it emphasized both offensive AND defensive strategies as one of the game pieces could be used to nullify another team’s score. Here is a description of the objectives for the Transfusion Confusion challenge.

The objective of the game is for teams to use their remote-controlled machines to collect blood cells (balloons) from various areas on the field and deposit the cells into the team’s scoring area in the cell saver. The blood cells are initially contained in three arteries (fan driven containers that churn the balloons) and four capillaries (smaller, static balloon containers). The capillaries each contain four blue blood cells. The arteries each contain five red blood cells, and three white blood cells. In addition, the outer two arteries each contain a single green diseased blood cell. 

The normal blood cells are scored in the cell saver as detailed in the following table: 

Blood Cell Type 
Lower Area
Point Value 
Upper Area
 Point Value 
Blue (1 point)12
Red (2 points)24
White (3 points)36

The position of the center of the cell at the end of the match determines the point value for the cell and for which team the cell scores.

Wrestling a white blood cell from an artery

There are two ways of using the green diseased blood cells: the cell scores when it is removed from the sterile field (i.e., deposited outside of the playing field), or the cell nullifies the score in the specific zone of the cell saver where it is located. Each diseased blood cell removed from the field scores 8 points for all teams participating in the match. To nullify a zone of the cell saver (e.g., the upper scoring area of the yellow team), the diseased blood cell must be located within that zone. The diseased blood cell does not affect the blood cells contained in any of the other zones of the cell saver.

Activating the decontamination switch (a paddle with a light on top) scores 3 points for the team assigned to the switch; however, the switch only scores points the first time it is activated. The order in which the decontamination switches are activated is used to resolve ties. The decontamination switch must be used by any teams involved in damaging a disease cell, and by a team that touches outside the sterile field.

Teams will be disqualified for intentionally damaging cells; accidental damage to cells will result in a 4-point or 10-point penalty, depending on if the cell is in a non-scoring, or scoring position, respectively, at the time that it is damaged. Stealing cells from another team is legal; however, cells that are in a scoring position when they are damaged will still be scored if they are damaged by another team.

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