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Science and Mathematics Education Institute (SMEI)
Fort Hays State University
600 Park Street
Custer Hall 241
Phone: 785-628-5449

Staff Contact Information

Science and Mathematics Education Institute


Please check back for the 2019 Lego Robotics Competition!

Lego Robotics


ATTN: Teachers - Very Important!

Lego FAQs 2018


Line Follower
This event is a combination of a line-following race and obstacle detection. The goal is to follow the track (0.75 in. wide black electrical tape placed on a white board) as rapidly as possible. Robots must leave the start area and traverse the line course. The line forks into two lines. The fork is symmetric with an angle value of 90°. Once the robot reaches the fork in the road, it should choose the direction towards an obstacle box (17 oz Honey Nut Cheerios box, unopened), which is placed 6 in. beyond the end of the line. The distance between the fork and the box will be less than or equal to 24 in. No other obstacles will be present within a 48 in. range from the fork. The robot should follow the line towards the box, then turn around at the end of the tape without touching the box and go back to the start position. Teams may only use one light or color sensor, and one ultrasonic sensor. An example line following course is depicted at the right. When a team is ready to begin (just before pressing their robot’s start button) the judges will randomly place the Cheerios box at one of the two possible end-of-fork positions. 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.

Sorting Colors
A color sensor will be used to detect and sort colors of M&M chocolate candies (oblate spheroid shapes). Red and blue M&M candies will be used on an 8.5 in. wide white mat (letter paper, with several taped together for additional length). The mat will be divided into two equal halves with a piece of 0.75 in. wide black electrical tape. Ten candies will be placed (centered) on the tape in random-color order, at least 5 cm (center-to-center) apart from one another. Robots start outside of the mat (but the illuminated sensor area may be just on the mat) moving along the electric tape. The task is to sort (move) three blue candies to the left side of the tape and all other candies to the right side (from the robot’s perspective). Candies should not leave the mat, and also must not be on the black tape to qualify as correctly sorted. Time will be stopped when the color sensor illumination area reaches the end of the tape. The robot’s travel time will be recorded with a stopwatch from the beginning till completion of the exercise. Teams may use 4 motors or less and only one color sensor. Teams which correctly sort all candies will be ranked by shortest time; fastest gets 1st place with 5 points, the next quickest gets 2nd place with 4 points, etc.

The goal of this event is to traverse a series of whoops 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 up to four motors. The whoops will be “ladder” rungs made from nominal 3/4 in. white pvc pipe, supported at the ends by pvc tees. The “ladder” will be laid flat on the ballroom floor (waxed wood surface). Note that the bottom of the ¾ in. pipe rungs will not be touching the floor due their ends being inserted into tees (which are touching the floor). There will be a total of six rungs in the “ladder”. The center-to-center distance between ladder rungs will be 12 in., and the rung lengths will be 12 in. Teams can position their robot anywhere in front of the first rung (the robot cannot be touching the rung). The judges will start their timers when the robot starts, and stop their timers with the robot comes off of the last ladder rung to rest completely on the floor. Judges will hold the “ladder” down during the run so that it does not slide on the floor. If a team’s robot doesn't 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) 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. The footprint of the robot must not exceed 8.5 x 11 in. (standard letter paper size), and the robot cannot have deployable arms or parts that exceed this footprint after starting the competition. Three 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 three 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 in. 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 an 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 white area in the center is surrounded by a 4” wide black 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. Note that “back-to-back” implies that the robot’s initial motion may only be to spin (rotate), or move in the direction opposite the enemy robot. 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. Parts from multiple kits 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 rounds will determine 1st and 2nd place). First place gets 5 points, 2nd place gets 4 points, etc.

Dr. Paul Adams
(785) 628-5866

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