View Full Version : [ANNOUNCE] Rat's Life: robot programming contest

01-14-2008, 08:59 AM
RAT'S LIFE: robot programming contest
call for contest

This contest is organized by the ICEA project to promote research results and stimulate further interest in bio-inspired robotics control. The participation to the contest is open to anyone and free of charge.


Rat's Life is a complete cognitive robotics benchmark that was carefully designed to be easily reproducible in a research lab with limited resources. The real setup relies on two e-puck robots, some LEGO bricks while the simulation setup relies on the Webots robot simulation software. This benchmark is a survival game where two robots compete against each other for resources in an unknown maze. Like the rats in cognitive animal experimentation, the e-puck robots look for feeders which allow them to live longer than their opponent. Once a feeder is reached by a robot, the robot draws energy from it and the feeder becomes unavailable for a while. Hence, the robot has to further explore the maze, searching for other feeders while remembering the way back to the first ones. This allows them to be able to refuel easily again and again and hopefully live longer than their opponent. The e-puck robots are equipped with several several sensors, including a camera, 8 distance sensors and a 3D accelerometer. Developing a robot controller requires basic programming skills in Java language. Different approaches can be investigated and combined with each other, including robot control, image processing, landmark based navigation, self localization and mapping (SLAM), game strategy, autonomy management, AI, learning, etc.


The contest starts on January 7th, 2007 and terminates on June 30th, 2007. During this period, the contest remains open to new competitors. Every business day, a contest round is executed so that every competitor will face at least one opponent and the general ranking is updated accordingly in the hall of fame. All the matches of a round are immediately visible online from the contest web site.


On June 30th, the competitor ranked #1 in the hall of fame will receive the simulation prize of the Rat's Life contest: a license of the Webots PRO software (about EUR 2,000). Then, the top 5 competitors ranked #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5 will be selected for a real world series of 4 rounds. These 4 rounds will executed with two real e-puck robots roaming a real LEGO maze. After this series of 4 rounds, the new #1 will be awarded a real e-puck robot (about EUR 600).


Participation to the Rat's Life contest is totally free of charge and
doesn't require the purchase of any product or service. To enter the contest, you will have to register on the www.ratslife.org (http://www.ratslife.org) web site, download and install the demo version of the Webots software, program your robot controller and submit your code on the contest web site.


Rat's Life: http://www.ratslife.org
IST ICEA project: http://www.iceaproject.eu
Cyberbotics / Webots: http://www.cyberbotics.com
e-puck robot: http://www.e-puck.org

01-14-2008, 04:37 PM
Thanks for the info. I was checking out that E-Puck robot and it looks very cool. It looks like a great tool for teachers in the classroom. I wonder how much it costs?

01-14-2008, 08:16 PM
These guys list it at $775:


- Jon

01-15-2008, 07:49 PM
Holy Shit. When I looked up the specs the other day I knew there would be a price tag on these, but I didn't think THAT much. Thanks for the info. I'll quietly back away out of the room on these guys, LOL.

That sucks though, I really like the concept and the package. If they could be sold for $199 I'd promote the hell out of them.

Ahhhh, robotics, why did I have to choose an emerging technology as a career?????

Thanks for the info Jon.

09-19-2008, 02:13 PM
The ratslife programming competition is up and running long term at www.theprovinggrounds.net
I look forward to seeing you there!