Fw: Robothon 2001
- ----- Original Message -----From: bill harrisonTo: howvin@...Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001 1:06 PMSubject: Robothon 2001Hi 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
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.
Head Northwest Robot Sumo