develop algorithms and programs to have a pre-built Lego Mindstorms robot clear
an area of "trash".|
encourage and demonstrate creativity, algorithmic thinking, simple programming,
of up to six|
Supplied by the Judges
A Lego Mindstorms
kit provided to the participants. This will consist of a robot pre-built for the
designated task and an infrared tower used to beam programs to the robot.
- A CD containing the Robotics Invention System software used to write programs
for the robots. This will be provided to the participants as well.
computer used to program the robot. This will need to be a PC running Microsoft
Windows, with USB support to connect to the infrared tower.
Lego bricks and materials for building a simple arena (this can be as simple as
large sheets of paper connected together with black magic markers used to mark
off areas to be cleared of bricks by each competing robot). These materials will
be assembled and provided on site by the time the participants arrive. A stop-watch
is also required for time keeping purposes.
by the Teams
of participants will be competing against one another, either with two teams at
a time, or four teams at a time. Sheets of paper will be connected together to
form an arena, which is then divided into two or four areas with black lines,
depending on the number of competing robots. Each area must be of the same size.
With two teams, the areas are side-by-side; with four teams, it is best to arrange
the arena as a square divided into four smaller sub-squares. The judge will then
distribute an equal number of Lego bricks across each team's area. The goal of
each team is to program a robot that will clear its own area of Lego bricks. A
light sensor is to be used to ensure that the robots stay within their own part
of the arena. Note that it legal for a robot to clear its bricks either out of
the arena, or into a neighbouring robot's area. Each team will be given the chance
to test their robot before being placed into competition. The competition will
consist of multiple rounds, each of a fixed length. The robot that either totally
clears its area first, or has the fewest blocks left when time expires, wins the
round. The number of rounds depends on the time available for the event.
Judging is based on the number of rounds won by each team. If there is a tie
after the completion of the selected number of rounds, a tie-breaker is held to
select the winner.
Katchabaw, Department of Computer Science, The University of Western Ontario
Lego Mindstorms Web Site: http://mindstorms.lego.com/
details on system requirements can be found at:
and other similar events have been successfully held by the Outreach committee
of the Department of Computer Science.. They can accommodate a wide range of age
groups and experience among participants. Typically, a brief tutorial is required
before each event to teach participants about the basics of programming the Lego
robots. The programming environment is graphical, and much like building Lego
in itself, where programs are built by connecting together blocks that carry out
different actions. The tutorial usually takes between 10-15 minutes of time.
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