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120Re: [sfrsa] Annual Robot Games

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  • Joe Miller
    Jul 23, 2000
      I agree... about everything!
      We should have a robot show and tell floor exercise open program. Perhaps as
      a filler between heats. But like I said, we've always done that but not
      officially.
      I'm glad your enthusiastic about making all the fixtures for this event. It
      would be good to establish and document an official format so that when you
      no longer care to present this event in future games that it can be
      recreated easily by someone that has been assigned to it a month before the
      show - it happens (beentheredonethat). Oh ya, and be prepared to provide
      storage this setup in for eternity. So something with a handle and wheels
      would be handy.
      Very good ideas about the customized arena

      A selected clipping from your message:
      > and feedback. Is it unrealistic to attempt a modifiable arena if this is
      > only a one-day event? How many participants should be anticipated?
      Should
      > we try to get an advance estimate by e-mail polling or pre-registration?
      > Auto clubs are doing this now for inter and intra-club race events. Are
      > all the events running sequentially or concurrently? So let's hear from
      > those of you with some experience. I've only attended one robot event:

      Exactly! How many? But few people respond, but will complain if not informed
      with due time.

      I hope I don't come across sarcastic. I don't mean to be. I am just
      communicating my experiences. I too want to improve the event. I am very
      enthusiastic about it. But I have learned that you can't push rope. So I
      have taken the initiative on several items, of as much as I think can handle
      (a known quantity) and will see it through. I think the key is to be
      organized, documented and to have good PR. All this well in advanced of the
      event. Talk is cheap so I try to spend a lot of it at the meetings and this
      listgroup. I put as much spare energy into it as I feel a can afford for my
      own enjoyment and hope that someday others with like passion will join in.


      Joe



      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Jeanette Eya-Zeissig <jzeissig@...>
      To: <sfrsa@egroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2000 6:53 PM
      Subject: Re: [sfrsa] Annual Robot Games


      > For my proposed event at the Robot Games, I think I would like to take on
      > all comers that don't compete in the Sumo, Lego, or other win-lose events.
      > There has been mention of some of the concerns that I brought up in my
      > previous post on the Seattle Robot Society discussion group. I hadn't
      been
      > aware of these when I did the post.
      >
      > The S.R.S. list of events for Robothon 2001 shows a floor exercise event
      > which is just a 10' square enclosed arena with a smooth floor.
      > Participants can launch their 'bots for 5 min. sessions to show what they
      > can do. The emphasis is on autonomous robots, but they are not
      restricting
      > participation to that category. This would certainly be easy to
      implement.
      >
      > I think we could spice this up by providing some portable/adjustable
      > accessories that participants could use to customize the arena. What I
      > have in mind is:
      >
      > a) an adjustable-slope ramp to test climbing ability and traction
      >
      > b) a section of carpet or astroturf
      >
      > c) an adjustable step height staircase
      >
      > d) a gravel/rock/or sand pan
      >
      > e) a shallow water hazard/pan
      >
      > f) a set of moveable block/post obstacles
      >
      > g) a section of corrugated roofing panel
      >
      > h) anything else that a participant wants to lug to the arena as
      > long as
      > they are willing to take it away again upon request. (Tall grass is
      > a wonderfully amusing challenge for my walker, but I can't think of
      > any way to incorporate it in this context.)
      >
      > Most of these are things that I've been meaning to make anyway to
      calibrate
      > 'bot performance when making mechanical or software changes, so it would
      be
      > a good opportunity to quit procrastinating. Some, like the corrugated
      > panel and carpeting, are just junk that I have laying around.
      >
      > The point of this event is to maximize participation. I've gone back and
      > looked over the postings on last year's robot games. I think Cliff
      pointed
      > out that the obstacle course looked hokey because people were throwing
      > shoes and socks in the arena. Stan didn't participate because the rules
      > weren't posted clearly and well in advance. These are points well taken.
      >
      > Although my 'bot was fully functional, and I had planned to attend, I
      > didn't; because when the rules were finally posted, the stair climbing
      > portion of the obstacle course seemed to call for a 2" leg lift, and my
      > 'bot couldn't make it without hours of rework. I figured it would be a
      > DNF. That was a mistake: I should have participated anyway. The point
      is
      > that if you make the rules too precise you exclude participants; hence an
      > adjustable stair climb that can accommodate the legginess of the 'bot. Or
      > no stair climb at all if the 'bot doesn't do stair climbs. I would rather
      > err a little bit on the side of hokiness if we could attract a participant
      > with a 'bot that could wander the arena using dead-reckoning and wind up
      > anywhere near its starting point. On the other hand, we would have some
      > toys handy so the shoes and socks wouldn't be necessary if somebody wanted
      > to show off their 'bot's obstacle avoidance prowess.
      >
      > My biggest worry in all of this is how to ensure that the maximum
      > participation is achieved while simultaneously making sure that all the
      > 'bots get a satisfying workout. This is where I'll really need some help
      > and feedback. Is it unrealistic to attempt a modifiable arena if this is
      > only a one-day event? How many participants should be anticipated?
      Should
      > we try to get an advance estimate by e-mail polling or pre-registration?
      > Auto clubs are doing this now for inter and intra-club race events. Are
      > all the events running sequentially or concurrently? So let's hear from
      > those of you with some experience. I've only attended one robot event:
      > the Japanese Sumo Challenge. This was a straightforward elimination event
      > that only took a couple of hours, including some pre-demonstrations and
      > some exciting 'bot free-for-alls and 'bot-human shoving matches after the
      > main event.
      >
      > Finally, what is the reason I want to do this event? I've been working on
      > my robot for years. I started out with only CMOS logic gates for control
      > and actually achieved some things that could only be accomplished by
      > somebody who didn't know any better. I've had to completely start over
      > when my surplus supplier of linear stepper-motors went out of business:
      > new mechanical design, new electronics, the works. I think I started the
      > whole thing in 1993. Anyway, in all that time, I never saw a real, honest
      > 'bot in the round until I went to a Home-Brew Robotics Society meeting
      > sometime in '98. What I saw there was about as far along as what I was
      > working on at the time. I've seen a few more at S.F.R.S.A. meetings. I
      > saw maybe two dozen 'bots at the Sumo event, and they resembled my 'bot
      > about as much as a bulldozer resembles a cockroach. I was really excited
      > that the Alan Alda TV special was showing a "robo-roach," and was
      > incredulous when it turned out that the damn thing couldn't even stand up,
      > let alone walk. My 'bot could run circles around it. If you listen to
      the
      > news media, you would think that robots are as common as pigeon droppings,
      > but it's not so. Functioning, autonomous robots are very, very, very thin
      > on the ground. My wife and I joke about the family 'bot and the
      > neighborhood 'bot; but really, we don't know any other family or
      > neighborhood that has a 'bot, and I suspect ours is the only one in town.
      > If you have one, you are about 3+ standard deviations out there on some
      > scale that psychometrics has yet to identify. But I know those 'bots are
      > lurking somewhere. Maybe they're all up in Seattle, I don't know. What I
      > do know is that I want to see them in action, and it looks like the
      easiest
      > way to do that is to host this event.
      >
      > John Zeissig
      >
      > <http://home.att.net/~jZeissig>
      >
      > <mailto:jZeissig@...>
      >
      >
      > To see an older version of the 'bot
      <http://home.att.net/~jZeissig/Bot.html>
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Be sure to visit our web site at http://www.robots.org
      >
      >
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