The audience is thrilled,
shocked, and awed
“Sewer Snake” knocks
out of the ring.
Team Brazil’s hockey
bots wait for the start
of the match.
Photo Credits: Daniel Craig, Alan Musselman,
Dave Schumaker, and Magnus Wurzer.
autonomous competition where robots traverse about 100
yards and touch an orange cone. Out of 11 entries, seven
showed up and four ran the course. All four robots that ran
the course managed to touch the goal cone as compared
to four years ago when no one actually touched the cone
at all. Of course, the meadow was full of kids flying kites.
However, when we finally started the event around 1 pm,
for some strange reason the park miraculously cleared
of people. (Although there was one kite/string issue on
“A3’s” first run).
“A3” created by HBRC members Jim McGuffin and
Doug Corl took gold touching both bonus cones (which
decreases a robot’s runtime) and the goal cone on all three
runs. As for the kite/string incident, A3 took approximately
one minute to unravel a kite string from his robot about 10
feet from the goal. Didn’t matter though, the next two runs
were faster and the lowest score counts.
“Beaver II” by Brian Mok and Tony Wu from Pasadena,
CA won silver. The beav touched the second bonus cone
and the goal on both of its last two runs. “Red Dwarf 2” by
Allister Lundberg and Evan Anderson managed to reach the
goal cone in three minutes — enough for bronze. One of
my heroes —“FieldNav 2.0” by Robert Casey — used three
Propeller chips. FieldNav is my hero because I’m attempting
to upgrade “Rusty” my RoboMagellen `bot from Stamps to
If you’re looking for a great event that will get you off
of the tabletop and actually do something potentially
practical, consider RoboMagellan. But beware, you’re likely
not to finish this project in one year; so the sooner you
start, the sooner you finish.
RoboGames is world famous for combat. This year’s
rematch of “Original Sin” and “Last Rites” was destruction
beyond belief. Never have I seen so many parts, sparks, and
wheels flying everywhere over a 30 or 40 second time
period. It was scary! However, I think the coolest thing at
RoboGames this year was the middle-weight humanoids.
They stood about two feet tall and walked, kicked, and
fought their way to RoboGame bling.
Also new was Mech-Warfare where 12” tall battle-mechs shoot it out with Airsoft projectile and Nerf missiles.
The contestants cannot view the battles directly but must
“pilot” them virtually with a first person POV camera
mounted in the center of the robot. It was fun to watch
them stomp around the small mock buildings, actually
going gripper-to-gripper in some cases.
There’s plenty of video out there. Check out Youtube
“robogames 2009.” If you’re going to build for a contest at
the 2010 event, get started now! You might be surprised
how motivating a forced deadline can be.
After two days of roboindulgence, the party was over
and it was time to call it a night. As we packed our stuff
and deplored the fact that there should be robots for this,
we laughed —”who’s the master us or the machines?”
Seriously, I’ve got some good ideas for next year; you
know, this thing just gets better and better.
Someday the world will wonder how we got along
without these marvelous machines and where do you think
they will come from? The answer not only has to do with
the continued integration of hardware, electronics, and
software, but in the blood, toil, tears, and sweat of the
competitive builder. SV
SERVO 08.2009 63