Chibot's RoboMagellan

June 2008 

On June 7th 08, Chibots hosted a  RoboMagellan competition in Chicago.

Here is the Chibots event page

Chibots members & other robot builders that were present:

Pictured: Royce, Eddy, John B, Tony, Steve, Don, Rick, Bryan, Eric, Jeff, Toby, KJohn, Kenneth
(not pictured: Eric G)

The course 

Here's a nice map made by Royce before the event. View Larger Map

We pretty much went with this course.  The general idea was to give robots as many runs on the course as they wanted.  Beyond that, Royce was pretty strict with following the rules, which made it that much more rewarding for the robots that succeeded.  (Thanks Royce)

By my count, there were thirteen robots present that day.  A couple were not designed to run outdoors, but six robot crossed the starting line in autonomous mode.

Robots & Results 

Robot: The Green Monster
Builder: Steve from Team Hassenplug
Result: First Place

My wife took plenty of video of my robots, but not much video of the others...  hmm.

As you can see, this robot uses the LEGO Mindstorms NXT.

Clip #1  shows GM at the start of the course, and navigating around the trees.  It uses GPS to track its location, and uses the Ultra-sonic sensor to avoid trees & other obstacles.

Below these three clips is a map showing where they fit into the course.

Clip #2 shows GM in the middle of the course.  This clip begins in about the same spot clip #1 ends.

After the previous run, I actually extended the back end of GM, to prevent it from flipping forward (like it did at the end of clip #1).  The result was a more stable robot.

GM also watches both the GPS, and the rear wheels to determine if the robot is stalled.  If the GPS speed is 0 (stalled) the robot will just back up and try to ram whatever is causing it to be stuck.  If the rear wheels are not turning, it will attempt to navigate around, using the same routine as when the US sensor sees an object.

Clip #3 picks up in the middle of the run.  After the previous run, I adjusted the waypoints, so the robot had a much wider path to follow, and didn't have to drive up the steep hill, which had really thick, tall grass (which really needed to be mowed.)

The Green Monster was the only robot to successfully navigate the entire course (start to finish) and touch the cone, without any assistance.

It won the event with a time (not that it mattered) of 6 minutes, 45 seconds.

Green Monster Path(s)
This map shows where the robot actually went during each of the above videos

View Larger Map

Robot: Voyager & V2
Builder: John Brost

Result: Second & Third Place

John brough two LEGO NXT robots.  V2 was simply a newer (better?) version of Voyager .

Both Voyager & V2 were designed to pivot & twist in the center joint, giving it a great deal of flexibility.

V2 was able to navigate about 90% of the course, which was good enough for Second Place

Voyager was not as well balanced (too much weight in back) and was only able to navigate about 100', but was still able to finish in Third Place



Recording points:

Both John and I used remote handheld data recording devices (another NXT connected via bluetooth to a GPS) to map out GPS points.  This was done by simply walking the course, and storing points to a file, as we each felt were needed.

Once the points were recorded, the data file was downloaded to the robot via bluetooth.

Builder: Bryan Bonahoom

Result: Tie for Forth Place

Bryan's robot uses two LEGO NXTs.

Here's Bryan trying to figure out why the second NXT isn't working...

Just kidding.  It was actually just running on one NXT (and only three motors).  He was only able to start programming it a few days before the event, and was hoping to simply follow a compass heading for some distance.

In the end, he mostly ran out of time, but was able to achieve a three-way-tie forFourth place by driving a short distance in the correct direction.

Robot: No Name Bot
Builder: Rick

Result: Tie for Forth Place

Rick had one of several very nice looking robots at the event.  He had a remote control for the robot, which could drive the robot, or switch it into autonomous mode.  When this robot is complete, it will clearly challenge for the win in any RoboMagellan event it enters.

This time, Rick used a test-program to let the robot drive a short distance, and tie for Fourth Place .

Rick & Royce talk as "No Name" and "Voyager" look on...

Robot: Green Scorpion
Builder: Steve

Result: Tie for Forth Place

Sorry, I didn't take any pictures of this...  I'll try to take some and post them, later.

It also went the correct direction, a short distance to tie for Fourth Place .

Also appearing...

The rest of the robots that showed up, were not ready to attempt the course.  I was very glad to see them at the event.  It gave us a chance to see what everyone else is working on.

Robot Builders: Team Conehead - Eddy & KJohn

This robot made an apparance late in the day, totally under remote control.  Check out that hard drive.

Robot: Formerly Blue Bot, now NickBot
Builder: Eric G

Eric missed the group picture at the end of the day, because he was still programming his robot.  Unfortunately, he's still not done...  :)

Builder: Kenneth

This monster was a beautifully machined work of art. 

Currently there was not code to run the motors, but the GPS satellite tracking is very cool.


Below, you can get a real idea of the size of the robot.

Another very well machined work of art.  (indoor soccer robot)

Check out Kenneth's other stuff here...

Robot Builder: Jeff

This is one of two creations Jeff brought.  This is a very nice work in progress parked next to John's V2.

Check out Jeff's other stuff here...

Robot: Monster Wheels
Builder: Steve

Yes, I have another robot.  This one I got out of my box to show off once or twice, but never bothered to try to run the course.