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Fw: Robothon 2001

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  • Howard
    ... From: bill harrison To: howvin@home.com Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001 1:06 PM Subject: Robothon 2001 Hi all, Robothon 2001 was truly *AWESOME*!!! Robothon
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2001
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001 1:06 PM
      Subject: Robothon 2001

      Hi all,

              Robothon 2001 was truly *AWESOME*!!!

              Robothon 2001 is this years array of robotics related activities
      that the Seattle Robotics Society http://www.seattlerobotics.org puts on
      each year.  This year they moved their event from the Fall to The
      Spring, and did a Robot Sumo contest on their own for the first time (I
      ran my contest within Robothon in the past).
              There was a huge center area in the Seattle Center house, at the
      Seattle Center, in which quite a few display tables were set up.  Even
      Sony came and set up an Aibo table.  Besides Robot Sumo, Robothon had
      Line Maze, Grand Maze, and Fire Fighting.  There was a whole slew of
      Robot demonstrations as well as talks and many robot related activities.

              Besides a quick look around, in sheer amazement, I spent most of
      my time being a contestant in the Robot Sumo Contest.

              This was a treat for me as well as all the local Robot Sumo
      Enthusiasts:  This was the first time I actually got to compete in a
      Robot Sumo contest in the Northwest.  Since I wasn't part of running the
      contest, I could compete. Before this, I was always the one that ran
      Robot Sumo, since I  started it in the Northwest.  I got a lot of, "we
      never actually saw your robots in action, how do we know they are as
      good as you say?", in a fun spirited tone.  By competing, I not only get
      to be a competitor here, but all my local friends get to see my robots
      in action.
              Turned out that there was a whole lot of robots that came, that
      were a treat to see in action.  It is wonderful after all my work to get
      Robot Sumo going in the USA, to just be "one of the competitors".  There
      are some amazing Robot Sumo builders out there, and it's truly an honor
      to be amongst them.

              Robothon Mini Robot Sumo had  about 30 robots compete!
      (autonomous only, Robothon doesn't do remote control). Among these were
      some very well built and functional machines.  It is obviously no longer
      a contest of just making a robot move and stay on the ring.  Robot Sumo
      in the USA has evolved into a "better do something about that robot
      coming at you".   Not only have the opponent detect sensors gotten
      better, I see tire traction technology improvements.  Arms are getting
      more common, and attractive bodies that fit over the mechanics are
      becoming popular.  I liked the pink one with a big grin and two huge
      eyes, like something you might see on Sesame Street.
              The very low profile RAM won the first place in Mini Robot
      Sumo.  Results can be found on the SRS web page
      http://www.seattlerobotics.org  (for more detail).  Ram had a home made
      gear box and cast silicon tires.  I won the second spot with Sidewinder,
      a Basic Stamp robot, using a stock Marvin Slyder base kit, and just one
      Sharp distance measuring sensor (yes, and no edge detect or any other
      sensors).  The unusual part is that I pointed the sensor directly
      sideways to the robots movement.  There are those that think I'm  crazy
      and it's not good to point the only sensor in a direction the robot
      doesn't move, but Second place is hard to argue with :  )  (RAM was so
      low, my sensor didn't see it till it was so close it was too late).  My
      antique (over 3 years old) RA won the third place.  It's a pretty much
      stock Marvin Slyder (with the Marvin Slyder controller board, not yet

              There was Six 3 Kg Robot Sumo competing.  This was just enough
      to make an exciting elimination. The numbers of these larger machines
      are increasing slowly, but I'm noticing that their ability is also
      getting better.  Speed seems to be one big improvement, along with more
      traction.  So the action is more "furious" than it was before.  These
      robots are now much more powerful than the average audience member is
      aware of (in the past they were about as strong as one might imagine).
              I barely won a first place in the 3 Kg class with my "Broken
      Rib" Robot Sumo.  I had stayed up till 5:00 AM in the morning trying to
      get some rear and side view sensors online, but had given up in order to
      get at least a couple of hours sleep.  This was Broken Rib's weakness,
      it was totally blind from the sides and rear, and no mechanical
      protection either.  Broken Rib did pretty well against all but one
      robot:  Goliath, and I got lucky in the last match, and beat it for a
      First.  Goliath was just the robot to take advantage of Broken Rib's
      weakness (but not next year ;-)  )
              Goliath won the second place in the 3 Kg class.  That is amazing
      enough, but when you consider Goliath is a 500 gram Mini Robot Sumo!!!
      Wow,  is all I can say.  Goliath had to beat out several robots to get
      to the second place, and almost got a championship.  (I'm going to force
      you to go to the SRS page to check out the builder of Goliath.  If you
      know the robots this builder builds, it isn't too surprising he was able
      to pull this off).  I think his robot should be called "David".
              Woody won the third place.  Woody was made primarily out of
      wood, as one might guess from the name.  Woody is the champion from the
      Northwest Robot Sumo Tournament a week before.

              A very interesting lesson showed up at this show:  I've always
      said that Robot Sumo is a little like that childhood game: "paper
      scissors rock".  Each has a power over another, but a weakness to
      another at the same time.  The robots at this year's Robothon Robot Sumo
      showed just this.
              Goliath that almost beat out all the 3 Kg Robot Sumos, but
      didn't even place in the Mini class (which it ran and lost).  The robots
      that took out Goliath in the Mini class (like my RA) would not have had
      a chance in the 3 Kg class.  My "Old Tech" has an easy time beating my
      third placing RA, which had an easy time beating Goliath, which had an
      easy time beating the 3 Kg robots, but Old Tech didn't even place in the
      Mini Sumo class.
              The lesson to be learned here:  Don't expect to maximize
      something to be an undisputed champion.  Someone can easily come up with
      something different that can beat it.  But then someone can come up with
      something to beat the other thing too.  This keeps us all designing and
      the spectators not knowing for sure who will come out ahead.  This makes
      for a wonderful contest, and Robothon really brought this out.

                      Bill Harrison
                      Head Northwest Robot Sumo
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