Robot Parade

I went to my first RoboGames event. It's kinda like a monster truck rally for geeks. The San Francisco State University campus had events going on in three different venues around the campus. There were folks who worked on NASA's robotics shoulder to shoulder with the Coors Light crowd. I went on March 26th, 2005 to join about 300 or so other hobbiests, academics and plain old hackers for some competition, gawking and jeering. The educational programs were cool! I doubt I'll be enrolling in Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Program but I really like the idea of Botball, teaching kids about engineering challenges and creative problem solving with robots sounds great! I think I'll be playing with their Interactive C toolkit, though I'm curious about the suitability of using Java toolkits like Robocode for learning about this stuff.
A samurai robot that is capable of many intricate movements. It's remote controlled.
Maybe it's not a samurai, maybe it's a baseball playing robot.
The boy was definitely impressed. He wants one.
This was part of the 3kg autonomous sumo competition. These bots aren't remote controlled, their instructions are to keep themselves from crossing the white circular perimeter and to push other things that are inside the circle out.
The advantage was definitely demonstrated for the smaller, faster robot. The taller one may have weighed a little more (I don't know) but the shorter one was more agile and better able to position itself to push its opponent out of the ring.
The smaller class of autonomous robots were the 500g "mini sumos". They had a smaller ring to work within but a similar set of instructions.
The organizers of RobotGames really should have planned how the audience would see the competitions a little better. In this case, the room didn't have amphitheater style seating so everyone had to just kinda crowd around and put the kids up front.
A bunch of the "mini sumos" seemed to based on the Parallax SumoBot, when they faced off against each other it appeared as though the only advantage one had over another was in the traction the wheels had. Go with the BF Goodrich.
There was another style of "mini sumo" that regularly crushed the SumoBots. They were faster and stronger, even if their owner's tatoos weren't as good.
This bot wandered around the campus guided by its camera, a GPS unit and some pre-programmed waypoints. On one leg of it's journey it was headed right for some nicely landscaped flowerbed but at last instant, it seemed to recognize that it needed to around, not through, the obstacle and course corrected itself. Cool!
Close up of the wandering bot.
No family household is complete without a robotic dog. But even a domesticated bundle of servos and chips needs a little recreation so there was a Aibo soccer match.
The midfield press is on... the ball breaks away... they're setting up the shot... and GOAL!!!!!
In a future time, children will work together to build a giant cyborg.
Robot Parade
They Might Be Giants
  • wedge shaped chassis'
  • carbide blades
  • motors
  • remote controls
  • mayhem
Combat Robots are soooo Metal!
That was totally wicked! I'm trying to figure out if the best way to get started with basic robotics and get kids involved is to go with LEGO MindStorms or perhaps that's a dead end. Spare time isn't something I have a lot of but I'll have to research this with a low priority thread.