Science and Mathematics Education Institute

LEGO Robotics Competition -

The 10th Annual LEGO Robotics competition will be held on Friday, April 24, 2015.


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 an out-and-back line-following race with an obstacle. 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. There will be an obstacle box (17 oz Honey Nut Cheerios box, unopened) somewhere along the course (upright, centered and perpendicular to the line) that the robots will need to navigate around. Robots are allowed to touch the box, but not move the base or tip it over. Robots must follow the line till just before and just after the obstacle box (within 14 inches as measured between the box and the light sensor’s illuminated spot); 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 light or color sensor, one ultrasonic sensor, and one touch sensor. 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 board (at least 3.5” tall). The center of 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 board. The robot is allowed to touch the board edge with a 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 4.25” 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.

The goal of this event is to traverse a slalom as quickly as possible. The event will be timed; each robot will be given a total of 90 seconds to traverse the course. The robot which transverses the course from start to finish in the shortest amount of time wins. Robots are allowed to have one ultrasonic sensor, one light or color sensor, up to three touch sensors, and up to three motors. Bumping into the slalom poles or grabbing them is permitted; they are sturdy and will not give way. Slalom poles will be constructed from 1” white pvc pipe (the tops will be attached with tees and elbows to the lengthwise sections. The center to center distance between poles will be 12 inches, and there will be 10 inches of vertical clearance under the top rail. Robots are not allowed to touch the top rail, but can observe it with the ultrasonic sensor. Teams will position their robots at the start such that the front most part of the robot is behind the first slalom pole. Robots can traverse the slalom beginning in a right- or left-handed fashion, but must go around the slalom poles in traditional alternating directions. To finish, the robot must touch the final (sixth) slalom pole (it does not have to stop; the judges will stop their stopwatches when they see contact and the teams can then retrieve their robots). Judges may be holding the slalom 2 feet from the starting and ending poles, so care should be taken if using the ultrasonic sensor to not trigger on distances greater than ~2 ft. If a team’s robot does complete the course before 90 seconds 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.

Clear the Field
The goal of this event is to remove open-end-down plastic cups (16 oz Solo brand) from a square white mat (with an electrical tape border). Robots are allowed to use one light or color sensor, 3 motors, and one ultrasonic sensor. Seven cups will be placed around the mat (the same arrangement for every team) and the robot can spend up to 90 seconds clearing the field. The robot that clears all seven cups off the field first wins! A cup will be considered clear of the field if it is on the black tape but cannot be breaking the vertical plane between the inside tape edge and the white mat. The mat will be square, with 36 inches between opposite inside tape borders. Robots will be started in the center of the mat, oriented in a direction of the team’s choosing. There will be a taped off empty field extending one meter beyond the black tape border where people will not be allowed to stand (so that the ultrasonic sensor is not as confused). Point scores for the first five teams will be given; 1st place (fastest team to completely clear the field) 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! Up to two light/color sensors may be used on a robot, but only one ultrasonic sensor may be used. Up to three motors may be used. Robots with a mass greater than 907.2 g (weight of 2.000 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. Also, if any piece of a robot detaches and hits the floor first, that robot loses the match. If both robots are still on the mat after 90 seconds have passed, the robot with the smaller mass will advance. 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

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