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2 Upcoming Competitions

Okay so the main reason for this new website/blog (for the time being) is to chronicle the build of a super sumo style robot for Sparkfun's RoboJoust competition on December 6, 2009. As I'm currently at my childhood home in nowhere's-ville Kansas I'm near enough to the competition site (Boulder, CO) to actually participate. I'm looking forward to touring Sparkfun's building and meet other robotics folks. Info on the competition is here. The basic idea is to have two robots start at opposite ends of the track (below) , meet in the middle, undergo epic battle conditions and finally limp to the opponents starting point.
First prize for the event is $100 so I'm considering that to be my budget for materials. With that budget in mind I'll be trying to locate old cordless drill motors (for locomotion and weaponization).
For now I'm still sketching and brain storming, but due to the budget I'm going to be keeping things very simple:
  • heavy - (battery/motor) weight will likely be the only defensive* element (to keep it from being knocked off track)
  • power - drill motors should be easy enough to locate in pawn shops/auctions/craigslist and if they put me over budget they are likely to survive battle and be reusable.
  • sticky wheels - going to have to keep my eyes open for this...
  • the electronics (other than a motor drive IC) I already have in abundance.
  • The simplest approach I think will be a line-following juggernaut. Line following is something I've had to program/test/perfect many times, so it shouldn't be to much of an issue.
*I wont be revealing offensive elements until closer to the competition date. :) Sparkfun is also hosting a second event later next year in April which is bound to have some steep competition. I'm hoping to enter into this competition as well, but it's too far out to actually purchase a spot (I may have moved away or closer by then). This second competition has an active forum thread here.
The idea with this is an autonomous robot race around the Sparkfun premises. Teams closer to the location have already started to collect data on the building, gps readings, etc. Last year's winner (in the ground vehicle class) circumnavigated the building in just 92 seconds. Map and some gps data of the course courtesy of [macoklein/Viliam].
I would link to the original but it is likely to be inaccessible after November 15...
My initial thoughts on this are a nitro RC vehicle hacked to make it automated. Because of the competition I think that will be my best shot. I won't be attempting the UAV class (though I did have a notion to automate a model rocket...2 sec lap + diving for cover...) because I don't have the budget for crash testing a model plane. Well that's long enough for a first post, next few will probably be filler on robots I've already built...