Every year we design a new game for the next batch of Student Robotics teams. This design process is always tricky, and we’ve learnt considerably from our mistakes in the past. The game has to be well-matched with what the teams can realistically achieve with the resources and time they have. It’s a challenging problem, and the rapidly changing world of cheap hardware that teams can load onto their robots makes it even more interesting.
Since our teams are comprised of 16-18 year-olds, it’s pretty standard for them to leave building their robots until the last few weeks before the competition. This means that we really don’t start to see if we’ve set the game at the right level until right before the competition.
We’re two weeks away from this year’s competition. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve seen some relieving progress from teams. They’re definitely meeting the challenge we’ve set them! I thought I’d share some videos from a few of the teams here.
This video has got to be the best one I’ve seen so far this year. QMC manage to align with and pick up a token, before placing it on a pedestal. I must remind you that these robots are entirely autonomous — there’s no remote control here! In this video, QMC also manage to completely avoid a common failure we see in robot testing; they don’t keep picking up their robot to reorient it towards a token. They leave it to do it’s own thing. Sounds like a reasonably obvious thing to do, but we see this happen so often!
Team MAI have done some similarly impressive work. The video below shows their robot locating a token, and then picking it up using a sucker mounted on top of their awesome scissor lift. Their robot then carries the token over to a target location. Really cool.
So GMR decided to be the first SR team to build and enter a hovercraft into the competition. It’s a very exciting robot and the GMR guys are certainly very motivated to get it to go. Here’s the first time they got it to hover:
A list of this year’s teams can be found on our website.
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