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robodork
10-14-2009, 07:28 PM
Everyone here would agree that robots make for a very expensive hobby. Add to that the costs of flying across the country or around the world to showcase your achievements, and you're talking about a serious investment. I would love to say that my main hobby is building robots for competitions, but that just isn't true. Personally, I just cannot justify the expense.

In many different types of competitive shooting sports, a neat little idea called "Postal Matches" exists. In such matches, there is a proctor or an official who records you score and sends it in to the governing body of whichever shooting event you are participating in. You can shoot at your local range and not have to drive or fly across the country to measure you abilities against the top competitors. On a couple of forums, informal postal competitions have led to phenomenal participation rates.

So I have a question/suggestion/proposition.

Could we, and should we, develop an informal postal competition for rovers (and other types of robots for that matter)? The only proctors necessary would be our video cameras. While this wouldn't garner the same sort of respect and reverence that the formal competitions do, it would give tinkerers of all skill levels a place to test the waters. More importantly, it would give more people a chance to participate. Every participant could have a voice in the development of each different type of competition. There are many possibilities for timed events or those that test the abilities of a given robot against the best robots out there. Our robots wouldn't be able to race against each other on the same track or shoot at each other, but we could devise some way to make everything fun and competitive.

So if anyone else out there thinks that this would be a good idea, let the rest of us know. I think that something similar to Mech Warfare would be fun with a rover and static, reactive targets. You could concentrate more on engagement and maneuvers rather than buying $2,000 worth of servos and concentrating on power conservation. Just my $0.02. Thanks for your time.

ooops
10-19-2009, 07:48 AM
So I have a question/suggestion/proposition.


RD, Great idea. Something like this usually requires the foresight of one individual to get started. My thought if you have the vision for what you are suggesting, then you are the right person to get things rolling. Devise a completion, jot down some rules, provide the first entry to "set the bar" and challenge the rest of the community to better your achievement. Start small, keep it simple and try and make it a fun type event. Good luck!

Suicidal.Banana
10-19-2009, 11:50 AM
Good idea, though (dont get me wrong here) you would still need a few hundreds or more to build the robot? depends on what servos u buy ofc, but if half the people enter the contest with say ax-12's it would be unfair to the people who cant afford those?

lnxfergy
10-19-2009, 11:54 AM
Money is always everything when it comes to robots. Crater was my entry to the 2009 Trinity Fire Fighting competition, it won 1st place in the senior division, with a grand total of $119 in parts. Many entires, including my other bot GMR, run $600-1000+. I find that most of the time, with autonomous bots, the limiting factor is the software.

-Fergs

darkback2
10-19-2009, 12:01 PM
Is it maybe time for another round of junkbots?

DB

Suicidal.Banana
10-19-2009, 12:54 PM
that would be cool too (tho i myself wouldn't be able to participate, not nearly enough 'junk', but thats okay ill wait till the next)

nagmier
10-19-2009, 12:56 PM
remember if $$$ were the determining factor Tybs would have won Mech Warfare easily!

ooops
10-19-2009, 03:53 PM
if half the people enter the contest with say ax-12's it would be unfair to the people who cant afford those?


It would depend on the competition, but that said, I think the idea was to promote friendly competition across the forum. Not so much a cut throat, win at all costs sort of thing. The Junkbots are cool because it is about finding clever ways to use what you already have, and that is by no means a level playing Field, some people have more and better junk than others, some people are just clever in finding brilliant uses for their junk.

xdream
10-19-2009, 05:19 PM
How about this: Most interesting/complex/entertaining junk bot behavior? Junk bots could be below a certain total parts cost...IE...cap dollars spent..but allowe surplus and off the shelf parts..

mannyr7
10-19-2009, 05:41 PM
How about this: Most interesting/complex/entertaining junk bot behavior? Junk bots could be below a certain total parts cost...IE...cap dollars spent..but allowe surplus and off the shelf parts..

Sounds good, but MSRP should be a consideration as well, ie. "I just have happen to have 20 RX64's laying in the parts bin...which I got for free..." Also, most interesting, entertaining, etc, is very subjective judging criteria, even when put to an open vote. Better to set a goal based on quantitative data. But that's just my two cents...

xdream
10-19-2009, 05:49 PM
I agree...just trying to think of ways to get new people with tight budgets into it and foster interesting behaviors/ideas that have not been done before....new people ofen bring fresh ideas to the table..

This is not a competition I would likely enter. Good feedbac..
mark

sam
10-19-2009, 06:07 PM
The more I think about this idea, the more I like it. It would be a change from working on other stuff.

Ohh, gotta go

Sam

darkback2
10-19-2009, 06:11 PM
Ok...so junkbots...

The way its worked in the past was through user voting. As in...the forum votes on the winner. I'm looking around for something that I won't mind aprting with to give up as a prize...so I'll come up with something.

Ok...how is this...

money limit $50...not including the arena. ( I'll get to that later)

Arena = 3'*3' square plane. Painted white or white paper with a 1'*1' black square in the middle with a 1 inch diameter hole in the center. 1 corner has a box 6" * 6" open top.

Robot has to lift up a tennis ball positioned in the center hole and put it in the box. It can be done as creatively as possible, and less than 20% of the wait of the bot can be a purpose built kit.

Rules? Robot has to work...complete the task...and look cool doing it.

Any other suggestions?

The prize? let me look around and I'll come up with something of mine I won't mind parting with...probably worth about $50.

I'll post it officially under a new thread if no one minds.

DB

sam
10-19-2009, 06:19 PM
I thought that it was more Mech Warfare style with rovers? Like shooting at targets and what not.

Sam

xdream
10-19-2009, 06:28 PM
$50 means it will have to be a BEAM type robot with no microcontroller right?

darkback2
10-19-2009, 06:38 PM
Ok...I'll post it under a new thread tonight, but the idea is you can use:

Things/parts you already have laying around
Junk you find, beg, borrow, or steal (just kidding on the steal part)
or things you buy, but the total purchase cost cannot exceed $50. So if you already have a laptop and want to make a tethered robot using stuff you have laying around, then go for it...the cost of the laptop does not count against you.

a lot of this is simple honesty...

Sam? I was just throwing out this as an idea for a competition...we could have the robot shoot the ball before it picks it up.

Extra points for style.

DB

ooops
10-20-2009, 07:15 AM
Maybe a "history lesson" would be a good thing. Check out the previous junkbot challenges:
http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=1876&highlight=junkbot

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=2472&highlight=junkbot

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=2804&highlight=junkbot

The winner from the first competition was: http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=2213
A true testament for making something out of nothing.

robodork
10-21-2009, 01:11 PM
Thanks for all of the replies. I'm going to take someone's advice here:


RD, Great idea. Something like this usually requires the foresight of one individual to get started. My thought if you have the vision for what you are suggesting, then you are the right person to get things rolling. Devise a completion, jot down some rules, provide the first entry to "set the bar" and challenge the rest of the community to better your achievement. Start small, keep it simple and try and make it a fun type event. Good luck!

I will give everything a test run first and then post the results and propose a competition. I just wanted something to do with all of the components I have laying around and my free time.


Good idea, though (dont get me wrong here) you would still need a few hundreds or more to build the robot? depends on what servos u buy ofc, but if half the people enter the contest with say ax-12's it would be unfair to the people who cant afford those?

As far as I can tell, this robot would need exactly two servos. The requisite strength of each one would be very little, so having AX-12 servos would not be advantageous. That's why I wanted to try this with a rover. Obviously, if someone wanted to build on of these from scratch, it would cost several hundred dollars. I already have everything except suitable wheels tires in my office. If I wanted to make it autonomous, I would have to buy a Pico ITX or similar PC, and probably better cameras, but I'll cross that road when I get there. The point is that if you had 2-4 motors, some wheels or tracks, an MCU, a camera, an airsoft gun, and the means to build your frame/chassis, you could probably destroy the legged bots. An excellent, simple design will beat a good, expensive design almost every time.

In my last year of college, our $5,000+ robot lost to a $250 robot that was orders of magnitude simpler. Our "microcontroller" was an custom ITX PC with 4 GB of RAM. We needed that to handle the computer vision needs (three cameras and pretty hardcore computer vision software). It had a custom (I built it from scratch) 7 DOF arm that was used to pick up objects. To power all of this, we needed four 14.4 V 5000mAh lithium polymer batteries. A team showed up with a robot that would reliably do a search algorithm; very reliably actually. It was as dumb as you could make it, but it worked well. They finished one place above us.

Like I said earlier, I'll just try to built what I envisioned and post it here. I'll be out of town for a few weeks here and there, but I'll work on it when I can. I hope to be able to get something together by the end of the year. Again, thanks for all of the ideas.