DPRG List  

[DPRG] Re: Robo-magellan

Subject: [DPRG] Re: Robo-magellan
From: David P. Anderson dpa at io.isem.smu.edu
Date: Tue Sep 28 23:12:58 CDT 2004

Hi Pete,

It does sound like it was a lot of fun.  I mean no disrespect.
I think what you guys are trying to do is really important and
also somewhat of a thankless task wink-wink-nudge-nudge-say-no-more.

I did not make it to Robothon this year but the times I've been in
previous years were inspiring and valuable experiences and I'm
very grateful that you go to all the trouble it takes to make it

I especially like the RoboMagellan event.  I believe it, like all
creations of man, is capable of being improved.  This is after all
just the alpha version, as Karl put it.

But getting the robots outdoors is a really great thing, and a
"whole new world" as it were.  Bravo to you and Doug and Larry
and Tom and whoever else lent a hand in bringing this event to

best regards,

>This was a fun contest.  Far more robots competed than we ever anticipated.
>TI didn't get a chance to see it.  I was too busy trying to find a "lost" hand cart for the Seattle Center.
>TThis event definately showed that there is significant interest in having more challenging contests than the traditional
>Tones we have.
>TI would have to say, we really never thought about any form of criteria for determining first, second or third, other
>Tthan who completed the course  We offered $1000 for the fasted robot to complete the course.  No robot completed the
>Tcourse, so no one received the prize.  Out of habit, we made 1st, 2nd, and 3 place plaques for the contest.  Then when
>Tthe contest started we soon realized we really didn't have a way to differentiate a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place when no robot
>Tcompletes the course.  We were more focused on how to determine the winner when more than one robot completing the
>Tcourse.  This was a big oversight on our part.  (we have a similar problem with Line Maze, how do you figure out 1st,
>T2nd, 3rd when no one completes the course).
>TThe easiest thing to do was to say, "well no one completed the course, so see ya next year", and pitch the plaques into
>Tthe garbage, or we come up with someway to award the robots that showed up for their performance.  We decided to award
>Tthe robots anyways.  Unfortunately, not everyone aggreed with the decision.  Well, we slipped down that slippery slope,
>Tand it is deffinately one area that needs to be addressed in the rules.  Hopefully next year, there will be more than 3
>Trobots finishing the course, so that this problem will never come up again.
>TGPS coordinates will be given out again next year.  One idea that was being considered was not to provide GPS
>Tcoordinates to the bonus cones.
>T----- Original Message -----
>TFrom: "David P. Anderson" <dpa at io.isem.smu.edu>
>To: "Ted Larson" <ted at larsonland.com>
>Cc: <dprglist at dprg.org>
>Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 2:41 PM
>Subject: Re: [DPRG] Re: Robo-magellan
> Hi Ted,
> Congratulations!  (Also very cool looking bot!)
> Thanks for the recap.
> So, it seems like GPS did not turn out to be too useful on this small of
> a scale?  That's interesting to know.  I think that I read that Doug
> is considering not even giving out GPS coordinates for next year's event,
> if I understood correctly.
> It does seem like the navigation contest, as it was orignally styled,
> became a cone-touching contest, (as I analyzed to no avail in the original
> request for comments, see SRS message #18121 and #18142).  And then, when
> nobody actually touched any cones, there was no objective method left to
> measure and rank the robots' actual navigation abilities, not surprisingly.
> Is than an accurate description?
> So at that point it became a subjective contest, with the judges having
> to make up unpublished criteria on the spot for a speculative conclusion
> as to who had the greatest chance of success:  "Most Likely to Succeed."
> Seems like a slipperly slope.
> Oh well, congratulations once again to you and Doug and Larry and to Servo
> Magazine and everyone who worked so hard to produce this event.  I think its
> a huge step in the direction of getting our experimental robots off their
> specialized contest courses and out into the real world.  Most cool.
> best,
> dpa
> Here's some links to the original observations on the Request for Comments,
> for folks not on the SRS email list:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SeattleRobotics/message/18121
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SeattleRobotics/message/18142
> > It was an amazing event.  There were four cones laid out in the Seattle
> > center.  Three of them were bonus cones.  To win the $1000 prize, you had to
> > navigate to the final cone from the starting point faster than anyone else,
> > which was about 500 feet away, with many obstacles in the way...trees,
> > rocks, park benches, outdoor trash cans, decorative sculptures...a whole
> > bunch of 

More information about the DPRG mailing list