Figure 3. During the 2 1/2 hour build period, teams design and
build their SuGO bots. Many teams are family groups with moms
or dads learning alongside their kids. It’s amazing how many times
we hear the mantra: “I wish we had LEGOs like this when I was a
incorrectly plugged into the line sensor input can make for
a very erratic Sumo bot. Before any robot can compete, it
needs to “see” the Mechanic. I have laminated cards (see
Figure 1) to show how to connect up the devices and what
each step of the test program does so the kids can prep
their own robot.
We run SuGO events on the first Sunday of each
month, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Construction starts right
at 1:00 pm and the competitions follow at 3: 30 pm. We
run free community event announcements on the radio and
in the local paper during the week leading up to game day.
The local Chamber of Commerce is a great asset in getting
the word out, and if we include a photo from the last event
the paper will usually print that, as well.
The venue is a county-owned facility, made available by
the Garrett Engineering And Robotics Society (GEARS). We
The SuGO website includes a set of SuGO rules and
specifications, a how-to guide, building instructions for a
simple SuGO robot, and online event registration.
Pictures from our first event.
Garrett Engineering And Robotics Society, Inc.
The product page for DROD40 infrared sensors.
Brickx Command Center.
Not Quite C.
Figure 4. Once building is complete, play moves out into the arena
area. GEARS also hosts the county’s FIRST Robotics Competition
Team 1629 so we run our SuGO matches at one end of the FRC
practice field. Team 1629 members take full advantage of the
audience and demonstrate the operation of past FRC robots.
2006 and 2005 robots can be seen behind the SuGO rings, as well
as the “Rack” from the 2006 competition.
have a 1,000 sq foot room where we set up a 4’x8’ table
for all the LEGO parts, and then a bunch of folding tables
for construction (see Figures 2 & 3). The actual competition
is run in the arena section of the GEARS building (see
Figures 4 & 5). We run each competition as a very informal
event, as many of the teams are actually family groups. We
do have a weigh-in and an official sizing box, but beyond
that it’s all about the fun of learning what works and what
doesn’t. I think the most anticipated part of the day is
when we have our free-for-all when up to eight robots play
at once and it’s all about the last bot standing.
Anyone who’s a serious Sumo bot competitor will
recognize that our SuGO format embraces the joy of
building and doesn’t get much into game strategy or
software. I’m hoping that as our players get more
experience and reach the limits of my canned programs,
they will want to start an Advanced SuGO competition,
where each player programs their own robot. As it is, I’m
still waiting for someone to use the part of my program
that turns on the third motor when the opponent is directly
in front. Can you say flipper? SV
Figure 5. A dad helps a young participant to get a SuGO match
under way. Notice that the competition is not all about function.
Aesthetic design is also important. Everyone joins in with the
starting chant: Ready, Set, SuGO!
SERVO 11.2008 59