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Laundry Quandary

(Compliments of SA BEST)

The objective is to design and build a remotely controlled device to retrieve “dry” laundry from clotheslines and place “wet” laundry on clotheslines within the 3-minute time limit.

The field consists of the central gazebo structure that is surrounded by four backyards each containing four clotheslines of varying height. Along the outer border there are four back porches that are isolated from the yard areas with doors that swing out into the yard and close automatically. the start of the match machines are positioned on each back porch. The spotter is responsible for loading up to 12 pieces of the wet laundry (red, blue, green or yellow colored bandanas) onto the machine. All loading must be completed prior to the machine entering the yard area through the saloon-style back doors. Switches on the back doors determine the order in which teams entered the yard area and are used as a tie-breaker. Once the machine enters the yard, it cannot return to the porch and cannot receive any more wet laundry.

Once in the yard, teams can score points by removing dry laundry (black, black paisley and red paisley bandanas) from clotheslines and placing it in their basket and by placing their wet laundry on the clotheslines. The position of the wet laundry at the end of the match is used to determine the point value of the laundry; so, pieces that fall from the line prior to the end of the match do not score. Multiple pieces of wet laundry in contact with each other only count as a single piece; there must be some separation between the wet laundry pieces. Contact between wet and dry laundry only matters in the basket, and only at the end of the match. At that time, any dry laundry in contact with wet laundry does not score. Points for dry laundry placed in the basket are based on the following table.


Initial Location

 Number of Pieces

 Points per Piece


Backyard Line



Black Paisley




Red Paisley

Center of Gazebo 



Points for wet laundry placed on the clotheslines are based on the following table.

Scoring Location  

 Points per Piece

Lower Backyard Lines


Upper Backyard Lines


Gazebo Line 


Teams that score at least one piece of wet laundry and one piece of dry laundry receive a 50-point bonus. In addition, teams can receive another bonus score by placing their wet laundry in multiple back yard areas as detailed by the following table.

Number of Yard Areas
 with Wet Laundry

Bonus Score






Teams are not allowed to steal laundry from other teams (since that’s just not neighborly). Laundry that touches the ground during the match becomes dirty and does not score.