On the morning of May 13th, the Dallas Makerspace bustled with the excitement of competitors in the 22th annual Roborama. Activities started with a tour of the makerspace. Many of the competitors and their guests had never seen a makerspace and the creative possibilities displayed by the work of various makers was a real eye opener.
Each competitor or team was assigned a table area in the pit room where they fussed with final robot adjustments while checking in. At check in, robots were measured, weighted, and inspected to insure that they passed competition rules. By the time check in was finished, everyone was very excited.
In the Plastic Fastener Sumo contest, the quality of the robots was good. The impact of the learning from the Sumo/Line Following workshop, held a week before Roborama, was clearly evident. The competitors that had attended the workshop had taken to heart the best practices they had learned. As always the competition was fierce with several of the matches not decided until a final push by the winner.
The Line Following contest, the second part of the student portion of the of the competition, also showed improvement over past contests, with the winning robots achieving higher speeds. The contest doesn’t require the robots to be made from plastic fasteners, however all student competitors used them.
After the student portion of Roborama concluded, prizes were rewarded to the winners of the student portion of the competition. Each winner received a DPRG trophy and choice of a complete robot kit or a gift certificate provided by our sponsors. Kits and certificates were provided by Pololu, Parallax, REV Robotics, Tanners Electronics, RoboRealm. and Richard Neveau.
The unrestricted participation part of Roborama consisted of the contests Big Table Top 2 and Can Can Soccer. In Big Table Top 2, a robot must complete 4 tasks. The tasks are: return a can to the starting zone, knock a can off the table, place a can into an overhanging box on the side of the table, and use the two remaining cans to form a line with the can in the starting zone that a yard stick can lay over (cans must be at least 8 inches apart). The top prize for Big Table Top 2 was won by a visitor to Roborama from Vancouver Canada, Markus Lampert. His robot, Freddie, achieved a perfect score with a hitchless performance on the 1st attempt. Freddie has a hand crafted frame made of jig sawed plywood, a very tight design that incorporates several IR sensors, and a unique fin style grabber using flexible 3d printed claws. Markus is a member of the Vancouver Robotics Club (www. vancouverroboticsclub.org). Second place was taken by Doug Paradis with his robot, Little Andy.
Freddie dropping can over edge Freddie placing cans in a line
Can Can Soccer, where two robots go head to head in an non-aggressive test to collect cans, becomes more competitive and exciting with each repetition of the contest. The winner this year was Doug Paradis and his robot VEX Navigator. Vex Navigator is built with the VEX IQ system. It incorporates a CMUCAM5 Pixy to identify cans. The Pixy is connected via a TI MSP430 LaunchPad board, using the techniques published by James Pearson, in his documentation of the VEX IQ Sensor Reference. Second and third places were won by Ray Casler and Scott Gibson. Ray’s robot, Rainman, sported several new modifications. The modifications included a beacon system to allow determination of location after a collusion event. Scott’s robot, Can Man, usually a truly strong contender, suffered from a flurry of undetermined problems that hampered performance. Markus Lampert’s robot, Freddie, also participated. Fredde made a good show, but did not place. The final bout pitted VEX Navigator versus Rainman. In the ending moments of the bout, Rainman and VEX Navigator targeted the same can. Time ended with Rainman trying to catch VEX Navigator as Navigator snatched the can and placed the winning can into the goal.
Big Table Top 2 Winners Can Can Soccer Winners
Trophies and prizes were handed out by DPRG President Steve Edwards.
Steve Edwards, David Ackley, and Richard Neveau were the judges for the event.