Robot Olympics--opportunity?

[Martin Taylor 920904 19:00]

Here's a forwarded posting from a local Toronto newsgroup. Some handy CSG-er
might want to follow it up.



An update on:

   The Second BEAM Robot Olympics and Micromouse Competition:

                      Ontario Science Centre,
                     Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
                        Apr 22 - 25, 1993

                          Sponsored by:
  IEEE Canada, VSPANS Robotics, and the University of Waterloo.

The BEAM Robot Olympics is not so much a series of technological
competitions as a chance for robot enthusiasts to present their
designs to each other, the press, and the public. It is also
an open forum for anyone who wants to get started in the field to
compete and compare. Any and every robot will be considered so
long as it does not come exclusively from a kit or store. Robots
of similar ability will be pitted against each other in simple
competitions, but generally robots will be judged on sophistica-
tion of behavior, novelty of design, efficiency of power source,
and quality of hardware innovation.

Basically, if you built it, we'd like to see it.

The BEAM Olympics main events are (but not limited to) the fol-

      SOLAROLLER: A self-starting robot dragster race.
      PHOTOVORE: Robots face a closed "world" and each other.
      HIGH JUMP:Robot creature leaps, lands on feet.
      ROPE CLIMBING: First up, first down, self-starting.
      LEGGED RACE: Walking creatures run for the money.
      INNOVATION MACHINES: Electronic chopsticks, for example.
      ROBOART/MODIFICATION: Mechanical/electronic aesthetics that move.
      ROBOT SUMO: Push/Bash an opponent out of a ring.
      LIMBO RACE: How low can you build?
      NANOMOUSE: A smaller and simpler form of the...
      MICROMOUSE: Where metal mice race for aluminum cheese.
      AEROBOT: 3D robot flying challenges.

The Robot Olympics thus features eleven formal competitions
which range in difficulty from simple to complex. To this end,
there is a guide available which contains competition rules,
"get-started" instructions, discussion into the new science of
Artificial Life (Alife), and full information for anybody who
might want to run their own BEAM Robotic Games.

Fresh copies of the Guide are available now at a cost of $10.00
Cdn, $15 American [US funds], and $20 international [US funds]
for cost of copying and postage. Please make cheques or
money-orders payable to BEAM Robotics Inc. Competitors are
asked to register and fill out a "behavior sheet" for their
robot(s) and more competitions will be run based on the variety
of robots who do show up. Those in a class by themselves are
still eligible for major awards, and everybody will be
included in the subsequent BEAM Olympic portfolio, documentaries,
and videos.

All venues are open to the interested, young or old, so grab your
soldering iron, raid the junk pile, and we'll see you there.

For more information on the BEAM Robot Olympics, other robotic
competitions, and weird robotics in general, contact:

               BEAM Robot Olympics
               c/o: Mark W. Tilden
               MFCF, University of Waterloo
               Ontario, Canada
               (519)885-1211 x2454


The rest of this article concentrates on general competitor
guidelines and the entrance form. If you want to be put on the
real-mail list, please complete and send in the entrance form by
real-mail. If possible, include a picture of your competitor.
Updates and further details will be posted to this and other
relevant newsgroups as they become available.


Rules and General Guidelines:

These are the rules and guidelines for the Second BEAM Robot
Olympic Games. Although the spirit of these Olympics stress few
formal restrictions, these are some guidelines which every com-
petitor should follow. If a design does not fit these parameters
or may but you're not sure, please contact the organizers for a
ruling. Consideration will be given to very innovative or ima-
ginative designs. The BEAM Olympics is meant as an informal
meeting of mind and robo-critter with the public and the media.
It is hoped that everyone will abide by this spirit.

All those wishing to compete should fill out and send in a regis-
tration form for all robotic competitor(s) before Monday, April
5, 1993 to be included in the show dossier. Entries will be
allowed after that, but they will not make that years dossier. A
copy of the registration form is included at the back of this
post. All who register will be put on a mailing list and kept
informed of upcoming events.


- All robotic devices must be either entirely custom built or a
heavily modified toy. No commercial, store bought or kit robots
will be allowed without heavy physical modification (modified or
improved software is not sufficient modification). "Heavy"
defined as permanent structural/electronic additions which
extend, replace or enhance a functional aspect of the device (ie:
replace batteries with solar engine, add functional arms, inter-
face a unique touch/vision system, etc.). Any devices made from
commercial construction kits (ie: Lego, Mecanno, etc.) must also
feature obviously non-commercial, custom elements to indicate
sufficient intent of innovation.

- All robotic entries should be self-contained or have an option
where they can execute behavior without human intervention.
Tele-operated mechanisms are allowable only if it is obvious they
have been designed around some BEAM competition guidelines, or
are for some autonomous task-oriented purpose (ie: tele-operated
moon rover with retrieval claw). Commercial radio controlled kit
models will not be allowed unless they have undergone severe
technical modifications. Devices which do not feature some auto-
nomous ability are allowed, but will loose critical style points.

- Any robotic entry may be disqualified if too large (ie: bigger
than a standard upright refrigerator). The sole reason for this
is that display space, access doors, and power are limited.
Exceptions may be granted for exceptional, self-powered entries.
Please contact the organizers for a ruling.

- Any robotic competitor which is obviously of mass-produced,
commercial manufacture and/or performs an obviously commercial
task shall be disqualified as a competitor. We don't want this
to be a blatant advertising opportunity for major corporations,
that's what trade shows are for. Corporate research and design
prototypes are the exception but they must be represented by
their designer at the competition, not by the corporation. How-
ever, robotics companies are allowed to hand out cards, flyers,
posters, and device specifications.

- If a robotic entry must use wall current, it can use only one
plug at a nominal amperage (120 VAC, 3 Amps maximum drain). Any
robot which uses a combustion process will be discouraged for
safety reasons, and will not be allowed to run inside the com-
petition auditorium.

- For the most part, no "violent" robotic competitors will be
allowed; that is, no competitor may have a functionally destruc-
tive capacity (ie: drills, cutters, soldering iron, flame-
thrower, chainsaw, etc.) although decorative or whimsical
elements along this line are allowed (ie: waterpistols). Like-
wise, any robotic competitor which may damage the competition
courses, other robot competitors, organizers or audience will be
disqualified. Robotic competitors may interfere with each
other during the course of simultaneous runs (where rules per-
mit) so long as they do not violate the "no damage" rule.
Anybody who justly feels his/her device could be damaged by
another entrant will not suffer penalties for not competing
in that trail. Likewise, entrants who accept that their designs
could suffer major damage will also be respected (ie:
No-holds-barred Robosumo). BEAM Robotics and affiliates take
no responsibility for damage incurred by or afflicted on
robotic devices, persons, or reputations during the course of

- No robotic competitors can employ biological components (rats,
chickens, lemon/potato batteries, jello, etc.) except by special
permission from the organizers. Even then, no devices will be
allowed which harm biologics in any way.

- Multitalented robotic competitors are encouraged, however such
capabilities must be declared ahead of time on the registration
form as part of the robot's behavior description.

- Partially finished robotic competitors are allowed (even
encouraged) to compete so long as there is some function they can
exhibit to show what they may eventually be capable of.

Again, if you are in doubt as to the validity of your entry,
please contact the organizers directly at the University of
Waterloo. Exceptions will be made for particularly imaginative

Is all.

Mark Tilden: _-_-_-__--__--_ /(glitch!) M.F.C.F Hardware Design Lab.
-_-___ | \ /\/ U of Waterloo. Ont. Can, N2L-3G1
     >__-_-_-| \/ (519)885-1211 ext. 2454