At least two autonomous mobile robots will soon fight regularly here one Wednesday night every month. We may even make the fights live via a webcam interface and Yahoo's Messenger service conferencing. A short version of the winning moves will be downloadable via .avi format.
~Quick Run Down~
Background The Arena Kill Switches Robot Size Weapons No R/C
The original idea was for me to design and build two small mobile fighting robots; and have a live link so anyone and everyone could see them on the web. However, interest grew a bit in TRCY and contest rules were made. These rules were created so that members could enter their robots. The rules were also based on other events: robot sumo, robot wars and the like. With the help of members I saw that I was starting to head down the wrong road and so we have changed the format and rules of the fights to make this a more intelligent project. It was turning into a bot bash, and that's not what this is about. It's about testing new limits of what robots can do. Like the days of old when amateurs were building and test new aircraft on there own. Robotics is still like that today. There are still a lot of uncharted avenues yet to find.
My real goal from all of this for myself is to one day create robots that are capable
of capturing and holding territory in the field of combat. To do so I want to develop two
classes of robots, Predators and Defenders; because defending and attacking are two
totally different objectives. Which create different positives and negatives as far as
what does goes into successfully accomplishing either one effectively. So in effect I get
to play war on a smaller scale.
The Predators will be designed to capture and the Defenders will be designed to defend. Each type eventually working together in teams to capture and hold objectives, like a recharging station for the bots. This will be an on going project that will only halt when I make two teams of robots that can capture and hold my house and defend it from the opposite team. There are many small steps in this endeavor. Starting with simple and small robots their abilities will grow and so will their size and range in which they duel.
Incorporated into all robots will be contact areas made with for the purpose of making it possible for the robots to fight. These areas must allow for cut off to power of drive motors, thus making the robot dead. This is how the robots will fight. This gets rid of the bot bash part yet allows for interesting matches. I hope others will build fighters along with me so we can all learn and discover new things together! =)
How the Robot will fight each other:
Now if other members do want to enter a robot in these fights, away of doing so still needs to be ironed out. So far robots entering the contest are being sent via mail to the fights then returned. For anyone wondering the fights are taking place at my home around Cincinnati Ohio, USA.
The robots will fight rounds that will last up to four minutes in an 8x8-foot arena. Two robots one predator and one defender will always be ready to dual, with each fight you will see new updates as time goes on in these robots. The fights will go into two categories over time. Tag matches between two robots where the goal is hit the opposing robot's contact area. And team contests where robots will need to work together. As well as possibly disable enemy recharging units. Members of this club are also invited to build their own fighting robots for the show. Robots will be built by the rules below and will need to be mailed to me in order to be in the show. The rules are for the tag matches only for now, but robot's in the team matches will have the same rules with possible additions that should not effect the over all construction of any tag match robot. As I said this is an on going project with lots to learn and the team matches are still down the road.
The rules of the fights are as follows and are open for debate by fellow members:
1. The arena shall be an 8x8 foot squared area, as pictured below in Figure-1. Anything outside the lines is out of bounds. If your robot is pushed out of bounds by another robot or by wondering out on it's own then your robot has lost the fight. I should point out that out of bounds is having half your robot's mass over the line, or totally in the line. Out of bounds will be determined by a judge. If your robot becomes pined or disabled your robot will lose the fight. A robot is considered disabled if it has fallen over or has technical difficulties. And finally if your robot is turned off by another robot during the fight it also loses. My own fighting arena may change over time and will differ in small ways for the purpose appearance. A drive way or garage floor would be a good area to have your own robots fight or practice. For now we do not need the different colored area (Figure-2) as there are no team matches, so an area marked out on a floor with black electrical tape would work fine for members wanting to follow along.
Figure-1 Tag match arena.
Figure-2 Team match arena. The circles indicate where recharging stations would go.
Note: The pictures have been grayed out to better show the lines. All gray areas will be white and the outside borders will be about an inch to two inches thick.
2. Your robot must have one contact area as a motor shut off switches being 2x2 inches in size. This contact area must be on the outer body so that other robots may try to hit them to shut your robot off. The sensor must be centered on the front of your robot and placed at the height of 6 inches, so as the middle of the sensor is placed at about the 6-inch mark. This sensor may not be placed more than 2 inches inward from the front of your robot. Such sensors will be on the fighting robot design area so you can incorporate them into your designs. The sensor must in some way cut power to all drive motors but are not required to be the same as mine. They must only perform the same function. If you choose to use different sensors, such sensors can not require excessive force to sense contact from other opponents. Sensors differing from the suggested design will be open for judgment by an official. As a rule of thumb, excessive force is an amount over that of using slight pressure from your index finger to trip the sensor.
3. Your robot may not be bigger then 1 cubic foot. You may have weapons that reach beyond this but they must be able to contract to fit in a 1x1x1-foot area. There was a weight limit, but for now there is no weight limit for the robots, only the size limits. Robots must come close to this size limit; an inch here or there may be over looked as this is for fun and exploration of robotic applications.
4. You may not use electrical jamming devices. You may not use anything that will be damaging to other robots. You may make arms that hit the contact areas of other robots. You make moveable shields to protect these areas, but such shields cannot stay fixed in place over contact areas. Such a shield may not cover or block a contact area for more than 10 seconds at a time and may not block the same sensor for at least 10 seconds afterwards. Your robot may use arms to try to pin or push opponents. In the judgment of an official these arms or other devices may not be over powered such that they would cause a high risk of damage to other robots. Shooting weapons may be used to try to hit contact area so long as they are not over powered to the point that they cause risk to robots that would be hit. The motor shut off sensors suggested does not require a large amount of force to be tripped.
5. Your robot cannot be R/C controlled. Your robot must be able to fight on it's own and be able to engage it's enemy. If your robot does not actively engage the enemy (either defensively or offensively) during the course of the round your robot will lose. Your robot may not be tethered in any way to an external power or control source. An embedded micro-controller is not required but it is recommended. All of the functions required in a good fighter can be made with discrete logic circuits if you desire to not use a micro.
It is important to note that some rules can be changed, such as size of the arena, if you are making robots for your own fights.
The tag match fights will be between two robots at a time, until one winner is left. No award has been set yet. There may be mealy or free for all fight with more than two robots if interest warrants such a contest. In due time there will also be a team event. We will still have the tag matches when we are ready for team events as a lot can still be learned from tag matches, and most robots will be able to compete in both events.
This robotics contest is for learning and as such we are going to be lenient on some of
the rules. The big rules to keep in mind are to have a motor shut off switch placed
at the 6 inch mark and to not make weapons that will cause permanent damage to other
For more information you may contact me (Justin R. Ratliff a.k.a. RoBoJRR) at: Weyoun7@aol.com