Science and Mathematics Education Institute

LEGO Robotics Competition -


The 10th Annual LEGO Robotics competition will be held on Friday, April 24, 2015.
Details about competition events will be available in January of 2015. Please check back.


Frequently asked questions (FAQ's)

ATTN: Teachers - Very Important!

Be sure to download the Detailed Description of Events with the COMPLETE set of rules and detailed instructions for each event.

This year there will be a total of 5 different Robotics events:(registrants may participate in as many events as they want to)

Line Follower
This event is a line-following race. The goal is to follow a black track (0.75” wide black electrical tape placed on a white board) as rapidly as possible. Robots must leave the start area, traverse the line course, turn around at the dead end, and follow the line back to finish at the start area. Robots must follow the line; lost/wandering robots will be disqualified (turning around at the half-way dead end mark is permitted and not counted as “wandering” off the line). Teams may only use one sensor (light or color) and will have time to calibrate it if they wish before the start. An example line following course is depicted at the right. The robot that traverses the course in the least amount of time will be awarded first place. Point scores for the first five teams will be given; 1st place (quickest robot) gets 5 points, 2nd place gets 4 points, etc.

Counting Colors
A color sensor will be used to detect the colors of M&M’s chocolate candies (oblate spheroid shapes). Brown, blue, green, yellow, and red M&M candies will be used (no orange). White paper (letter size) will be placed near the edge of a wooden box (same box as used in the Number Crunching event). The candies will be placed on the paper exactly 4.25” (10.8 cm) away (half-way on the paper) from the inside edge of the wooden box. The robot is allowed to touch the box edge with a special wheel or pulley to help with straight line guidance. Ten M&Ms of random color will be placed approximately 5.5 cm apart along an imaginary line 4.5” away from the edge. There will be no M&M’s placed along the first or last 12” of this line. The robots will be started so that their front-most part is 10” away from the back edge of the box. They will then be started and drive along the row of candies. The robot’s travel time will be recorded with a stop watch (from start of button press till it bumps the far box edge. A judge will then pick up the robot and examine its display. The display must clearly show the 5 colors and an associated count number for each color (see example below). The robot with the correct color counts and shortest travel time will win the event. Robots with incorrect color counts will not get any points. The students must place the robot at the start position before the colors are randomly chosen, and then they are only allowed to push the orange button to start. Point scores for the first five teams will be given; 1st place gets 5 points, 2nd place gets 4 points, etc.

Maze Madness
The goal of this event is to traverse a maze (with wooden walls) as quickly as possible. The physical characteristics of the maze are shown in the figure below. The event will be timed; each robot will be given a total of 3 minutes to solve the maze. The robot which transverses the maze from start to finish in the shortest amount of time wins. Bumping into the maze walls is permitted; they are sturdy and will not give way. Teams will position their robots at the start such that the back of the robot is within 1” of the wall. To finish, the robot must make physical contact with the final dead end wall (it does not have to stop; the judges will stop their stopwatches when they see contact). If a team’s robot does not reach the finish line before 3 minutes is up, it will be disqualified. Point scores for the first five teams will be given; 1st place (quickest robot) gets 5 points, 2nd place gets 4 points, etc.

Number Crunching
Four gaming dice (16 mm side length) will be used in this event. The dice will be placed in a wooden box (43.5” x 43.5”), and the center of each die will be placed 12” away from both box walls (see the figure below). Competitors will be allowed to control their robots wirelessly (or with wires) using Bluetooth from their laptops, cell phones, or another NXT brick (e.g. for laptop control try this software: The goal is to direct the robot to roll the dice such that they all show “1” (one dot on top face) as quickly as possible. The original orientation of the die will be the same for all competitors (see figure below). The event will be timed; each robot will be given a total of 3 minutes to roll the dice. The robot will be started at the center of the box and the contestants can initially point the robot towards any direction they desire. It does not matter where the dice end up, as long as they all show a “1”. Teams are encouraged to design a die rolling attachment for their robot and are allowed to attach rubber bands to their robots for this event (to provide grip or act as tripwires, etc.). Point scores for the first five teams will be given; 1st place (fastest team to correctly orient all the dice) gets 5 points, 2nd place gets 4 points, etc.

Sumo Bots
Two robots (from opposing teams) will face off in an elimination style Sumo match! The robots must be autonomous (not externally controlled). The robots will be placed on a painted wood regular octagon (see figure below). The black area in the center is surrounded by a 4” wide white strip, or “danger zone”. Teams will probably want to make use of light (or light/color) sensors (for making sure the robot avoids the “danger zone”) and the ultrasonic sensor (for finding the enemy robot). The robots will start back to back (with 14” between them), and they must be programmed to start moving 5 seconds after pressing the orange button. Any robots starting before 5 seconds has elapsed will be disqualified! Robots can only be constructed with parts from one standard NXT kit (with the exception that up to two light/color sensors may be used). Robots with a mass greater than 1 kg (weight of 2.2 lbs) will be disqualified; the robots will be massed before competing. The robot playing surface will be slightly elevated above the floor; the first robot to fall off the playing surface and touch the floor loses. If both robots are still on the mat after 2 minutes has passed, a coin toss will determine which robot advances to the next match. Point scores for the top four teams will be given; (the losers of the semifinal round will face off to get 3rd and 4th place, while the final round will determine 1st and 2nd place). First place gets 5 points, 2nd place gets 4 points, etc.

Dr. Paul Adams (785) 628-4538
Mallory Smith (785) 628-4168 or Dr. Jack Maseberg (785) 628-4500