121Re: [sfrsa] Annual Robot Games
- Jul 30, 2000One way to structure contest rules is to give points for each of the
tasks... if a robot can not do a particular task... is misses those points,
but can still score with the things it can do.
Paul F. Grayson - Chief Engineer
AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL MAGIC
1892 Pinewood Ave.
Traverse City, MI 49684-9022
(231) 946-0187, FAX (231) 946-1122
----- Original Message -----
From: Jeanette Eya-Zeissig <jzeissig@...>
Sent: Monday, July 31, 2000 1:53 AM
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
> 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
> participation to that category. This would certainly be easy to
> 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
> 'bot performance when making mechanical or software changes, so it would
> 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
> 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
> 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?
> 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
> 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
> way to do that is to host this event.
> John Zeissig
> To see an older version of the 'bot
> Be sure to visit our web site at http://www.robots.org
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