Archive for the ‘Competitions / Contests’ Category

Trossen Robotics Community Lounge @ Robogames 2009

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

We had a blast at Robogames 2009 and had quite a few of our Community members show up and hang out in our lounge. Robots were battled, discussed, and otherwise shared! We cannot wait until next year, and we hope to see more of you there. Here is a quick highlight video showing some of the lounge and the attending members, as well as some of our member’s robots interacting with the crowd.

Initial Mech Warfare Coverage

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

We want to apologize for being so quiet, but Robogames and the subsequent chaos of getting caught up has taken us all by a storm. We’ll be making up for it by posting a ton of content in the next few days.

Year 1 of Mech Warfare turned out great, better than expected for a first year competition. We came, we conquered, and more than anything we learned a LOT. Seven robots total showed up, though Murphy’s Law was in full effect and we only had 4 running consistently. That said, everyone involved still had a ton of fun, and Botjunkie and Society of Robots were there covering the action. Here are two quick highlight videos they put together, stay tuned for the official Mech Warfare coverage video from multiple in-arena cameras in the near future!

Video coverage from Botjunkie:

And video coverage from Society of Robots:

Wait, did you say “Flamethrower”?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Wait, did you say “Flamethrower”? – The Robogames Combat Robots

Our friends over at Geeks are Sexy posted up a great video which examines the builders and their robots in modern Combat Robotics. Footage was taken at last year’s Maker Faire in Austin Texas. It showcases some of the fight highlights as well as talking a bit of shop with some of the builders. This raises our excitement for the upcoming Robogames 2009, and we hope to see you there!

What’s interesting, however, is how 11 years of robot evolution have affected the sport. Back in 2002, the spinners ruled the day. But today’s robots are meaner than ever; and the sport’s fans just as obsessed. Why do they do it? Because for three glorious minutes, the world melts away.

Via Geeksaresexy.net

Want to win a Bioloid? Announcing the TRC Tutorial Contest!

Friday, March 27th, 2009
Time flies! It’s that time again to officially announce the next round of the Trossen Robotics Community (TRC) Contest. We had quite a bit of success with our previous Project Contests and a lot of very cool entries, however we are going to mix things up this time.
This round is going to be a Tutorial Contest , and is quite a bit different from our previous contests. Think of it as an ‘Instructables meets How Stuff Works’ style contest: We want you to submit entries in the form of a detailed step by step ‘How-To’ or Informative Tutorials.
We’re going to be asking a lot more of our participants this round, so we have raised the stakes and are giving away our biggest prizes yet! Without further ado here are the prizes being offered for this round!
1st place

bioloid


Bioloid Comprehensive Kit:


2nd place



Bioloid Beginner Kit:


3rd place


ollo


Robotis Ollo Bug Kit
:

  • New Beginner Robotics Kit from Robotis!
  • Reconfigurable, modular design
  • Tons of parts to build with!
  • Instructions to build 4 different robots included
  • Remote controlled
  • Highly descriptive well documented instructions


You’re probably asking: “Well what’s the catch?” We won’t lie, we’re going to make you work for it and put your knowledge to the test!

Here are some examples of what types of tutorials we’re looking for:

  • What is a gyroscope/accelerometer/analog or digital signal?
  • How do servos/DC Motors/Batteries work? (explain inner workings, control, show example code, etc)
  • Choosing the right (Microcontroller/DC Motor/Sensor) for the job.
  • How to setup an Arduino/Xbee Communication/Basic Stamp. (basic projects with example code, videos, etc)
  • How to control a robot wirelessly. (many different methods of going about this, pick one and elaborate!)
  • Theory of Inverse Kinematics, Dead Reckoning, Spacial Mapping, etc.
We’re looking for well written, detailed entries that a beginner could read through and learn from. The emphasis on this is creating valuable tutorials and FAQs that the community as a whole can benefit from. Diagrams, pictures, source code, practical applications, text references and examples are welcomed and strongly encouraged. Plagiarism will not be tolerated, please cite any reference materials used. We are not looking for build articles during this round.
Entries will also be judged in a different manner than before: Contestants are encouraged to post as many tutorials as they like; in fact, the more tutorials submitted, the more points they receive towards their final score. Now that said, quality is greatly valued over quantity. One detailed, well written tutorial will hold more weight than five mediocre ones, but if you post numerous well written tutorials you’re going to be in very good shape.

Previous project submissions were based out of our Project Showcase forum, but this time all submissions must be entered into the Tutorial section.

Please visit our Project Contest Page to learn more about the contest, how to enter and for the official rules and guidelines. Somebody is going to be a proud new owner of a Bioloid Comprehensive Kit, Bioloid Beginner Kit, or Ollo Bug Kit, will it be you?

Lynxmotion Robot Project Contest!

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
Our friends over at Lynxmotion are hosting their first ever Project Contest! Do you have an awesomely customized Johnny 5 kit you want to show off? How about a suped-up Phoenix? Head over to the Lynxmotion forums and submit a detailed write-up of your project, complete with pictures and videos for a chance to win some very generous gift cards. Here is the official posting:

We are happy to announce our first Robot Project Contest. People have been building awesome robots from our kits and parts for 15 years. We want to do a better job of recognizing and rewarding these efforts. The contest will have two categories.

The first category can be any project that is based on a Lynxmotion robot kit. This can be anything from a Robotic Arm or Rover to a Johnny 5 or 3DOF Hexapod. We’re looking for anything that has been added or modified to improve the aesthetics or the functionality of the robot. Your take on your favorite movie robot, or your version of a Mars Rover would be cool. Submitting a stock build is not likely to draw much attention.

The second category can be anything created with our Servo Erector Set series of brackets and components. For this category we are looking for something unique, interesting and different. It must use the SES components as the primary construction material.

The entries must be posted here in this section of the forum. Even if the robot has been posted in other sections of the website. The first post is the submission, so you should edit it to keep it up to date. The entry must have quality higher resolution images and clear video as a minimum. We will also require a full write up of the parts used, the problems solved, or the inspiration for the project, etc. We need details. At the time of this writing we do not have the ability to host the images or video. You will need to find a place to host them for now. You are encouraged to post what you have as soon as possible. You will have time to edit your post to fulfill the contest requirements as you require.

The contest time frame is three months, ending on May 31st. The awards are as follows:

Kit Robot Contest
1st Place = $350.00 gift certificate
2nd Place = $200.00 gift certificate
3rd Place = $100.00 gift certificate

SES Robot Contest
1st Place = $350.00 gift certificate
2nd Place = $200.00 gift certificate
3rd Place = $100.00 gift certificate

Our own custom Pico-ITX based Johnny 5 will be cheering from the sidelines! Go get em guys!

February ’09 Contest Winners Announced!

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

The time of reckoning is nigh! The contest winners for this round of the TRC Project Contest have been decided and we’ve got some awesome prizes to give away!

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Runners-Up:

Plinter Roving Servobot

Project: Roving Servo Bot
Creator: Pinter75
Prize: $25 Gift Card to the Trossen Robotics Store

This bot went back to the basics. Base board? Check. Super Glue? Check. Zip ties? Check. Ingenious scratch built onboard controller? Check! Throw all of these items together and you have a great wheeled platform with a fully functioning arm. complete with a .NET interface over Bluetooth. The craftsmanship on this bot is superb, so much so that when we first saw it we thought it had been cut from a 3D printer. Pinter75 has taken the project a step further and will be offering it in kit form in the near future, something we are very excited to see come to life.

Charlie

Project: Charlie
Creator: Darkback2
Prize: $25 Gift Card to the Trossen Robotics Store

Quadrapods have been around long enough that it usually takes something really special to perk our eyebrows, which is exactly what Charlie the Quadrapod did. Was it the onboard PC that impressed us? The rugged raw metal look? Perhaps the fact that Charlie wields a fully automatic airsoft gun on its back? While all of that is very cool, what amazed us most of all was the fact that Charlie was built by hand, using only simple power tools. No CNC machine, no computer CAD drawings; the brackets and frame were literally cut and bent by guide of hand alone. Anybody who has built parts by hand knows how much patience and skill goes into making identical parts without the guidance of a computer controlled blade. Look for this bot competing in the upcoming Mech Warfare competition at Robogames 2009!

Lego WALL-E by Bizmarc

Project: Autonomous LEGO Wall-E
Creator: Bazmarc
Prize: $25 Gift Card to the Trossen Robotics Store

Building a Wall-E robot? Awesome. Building it out of LEGOs? Even more awesome! LEGOs sure have come a long way in their lifetime, evolving into the amazing robotics prototyping tool they are today and invoking nostalgia in tinkerers abroad (I mean, who didn’t play with Legos growing up?) Forum member Bazmarc blew us all away when he debuted his LEGO NXT Autonomous Wall-E project, sparking “LEGO-skill” envy unanimously across the forums. Not only did he perfectly capture the look and feel of everyone’s favorite trash bot, he brought it to life with an autonomous navigation system. We can’t to see what Bizmarc comes up with next!

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Third Place:

animatronic Head from Willettfx

Project: My Animatronic Project

What happens when a professional dental tech with a knack for animatronics is mentored by Hollywood special effects legend Dick Smith? A very creepy and very realistic animatronic robot is born. Gary Willett (aka Willettfx) has a true passion for his work, spending hundreds of hours adding the finest details to truly bring his monstrous inventions to life. He shared with us hours of video showing the fine artwork and dedication that goes into building Hollywood quality animatronics, and we ate up every minute! If you’re looking to get into animatronics yourself, he also offers a 3 disc DVD set showcasing every step on how he built his outstanding project!

Second Place:

Robotic Marionette by Sunithaya

The Robotic Marionette project literally reads out like a story. Forum member “Sunithaya” joined us after he had already completed his Marionette project of two years, however he started from the beginning in chronicling the lengthy steps made during the design, building, and final performances. Each post is titled appropriately – as if a chapter in a book, and detailed thoroughly with the thought process that went into each artistic design decision. Tons of photos were taken throughout the life of the project, and it all pays off with a performance video of the Robotic Marionette autonomously dancing. This project thread is a true gem that we’re lucky to have on our forums. We highly recommend a complete read-through to everyone interested in learning more.

First Place:

k9 by DJsures

DJSures pulled down some serious ‘geek cred’ by creating his own K-9 robotic dog. I mean, what self respecting geek doesn’t want their own robotic pet to do their evil bidding? Sure it doesn’t have “omniflexible hyperlink facilities” or the ability to teleport, but this loveable Dr. Who tribute still boasts some impressive features. Onboard 3D mapping capabilities, real time occupancy grids, speech synthesis, adaptable personality levels depending upon the amount of human interaction, obstacle avoidance, an LCD screen for diagnostics, and even the ability to follow people around! Now get this: the entire robot was scratch built. This project is a perfect example of how it doesn’t take four dozen servos, onboard PCs, or complex vision processing to win our contests. Ingenuity, creativity, and the overall presentation of your project are a huge factor in our judging decisions. Watching this little bot go from pieces of plastic and circuitry to a seemingly free willed artificial being is what won DJSures the first place prize in the latest round of our contest!

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The Trossen Robotics crew would like to personally thank everyone who has participated in our contests as well as those who have helped other projects along. What started out as a great way to encourage grassroots engineering and the sharing of knowledge has evolved into a community of hobbyists and professionals who exhibit a passion for their work unlike any we have ever seen. Innovation is viral, and watching builders literally feed off of the excitement fueling these projects is a great thing to experience on a daily basis. We invite anyone looking to get started in robotics, as well as the veterans who have many of bots under their belt, to join the Trossen Robotics Community. We encourage you to jump in head first, if you’ve got an idea- discuss it, if you have a question- ask it, and if you’ve got a project- enter it in our contest. We look forward to seeing you and your projects in the next round of the Trossen Robotics Community Project Contest!.

Building for FIRST or Science Olympiad?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

We’ve recently started seeing the flurry of activity that marks when teams building for the upcoming national robotics competitions start shopping. Since we stock a very large selection of robot parts, finding what you need can be a bit daunting at first. To assist builders, we’ve launched our FIRST Starter Page to help get people pointed in the right direction. Within it we’ve listed the most popular items we see flying off the shelves every competition season, laid out in an easy to navigate manner. If you or someone you know is looking for parts for their competition entry, point ‘em this way!

Mech Warfare Featured in Issue 15 of Robot Magazine!

Friday, January 16th, 2009

The Mech Warfare competition, which was founded right here at the Trossen Robotics Community (TRC), continues to gain momentum as we count down the months until the debut at Robogames 2009 this summer. Our friends over at Robot Magazine had caught word of the competition, as well as the viral excitement of the builders involved, and asked me to write up an article outlining the competition, the rules, and the participants and their Mechs.

For those of you who may not have heard of Mech Warfare yet, it is a robotic competition in which participants construct remotely piloted walking robots armed with airsoft guns and other weapons to duke it out in an urban style arena. Think of it as small scale R/C MechWarrior.

If you’d like to check out the article, you can pick up the current issue of Robot Magazine in most major bookstores or order it online from our store. For more information on the Mech Warfare event, check out the Official Site and the Mech Warfare Forums. We hope to see you and your Mech at Robogames 2009!

Three New VEX Starter Bundles Now Available

Friday, December 12th, 2008

This time of year is very exciting for students and teachers as they ramp up for competitions in the new year. VEX Robotics has been a very popular choice in the Educational Robotics field and has recently expanded their product line!

The baseline kits have been upgraded to the Protobot Robot Kit, which is a versatile wheeled platform and make the perfect starting point for any competition. Around the Protobot three different starter bundles are offered, the Radio Controlled Starter Bundle, the Autonomous Control Starter Bundle, and the Dual Control Starter Bundle. These give students and teachers a headstart by providing all the essentials to get started building for their competitions no matter the type or control method. Trossen Robotics would like to wish all of those participating in this upcoming year’s competitions the best of luck!

Want a free* trip to Japan?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Oh yes, there is always that pesky asterisk. However in this case, what the asterisk implies isn’t too bad.

David Calkins, Robogames founder and co-host of the Revision3 eShow: Systm, is offering a free* all expenses paid trip to Japan. What’s the catch? Well first of all, you have to have a 3kg Sumobot. David’s message below explains the whole deal:

So, The all-Japan 3kg sumo tournament is Dec 21st in Tokyo.

Fujisoft gave me 2 seats to go, all expenses, but Simone is pregnant and due about then, so I’m giving away the tix.

Want ‘em?

You gotta win ‘em.

MAIL me your 3kg sumo (not 500g), so it arrives by the morning of Dec 5th.
Include pre-paid return for the package.  On Dec 6th, I’ll compete them all in a normal sumo bracket.  Don’t have a 3kg sumo?  You can build one in 3 weeks…

The top two robots each get one ticket to Japan.  You will need a passport and time off work to go.  This is going to be totally merit based.  It’s not random.
Best two robots go.

Email me directly for more details: dcalkins@robotics-society.org

-David E. Calkins

SFSU Robotics Engineering and Robotics Outreach President,  RoboGames / Robotics Society of America

How cool is that? Here’s some mini-sumo action!