The 25th annual All Japan Micromouse Contest is coming up in about a week. The events run from Friday afternoon (November 19th) through Sunday afternoon (November 21st) at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Tokyo. The competitions include a micromouse contest, microclipper contest, and a robotrace contest. I'm sure the attendance will be great, and I'm hoping that there will be a lot of vendors and technology exhibits as well.
I haven't given much thought to entering robot competitions myself, though the idea is intriguing. More than anything I want to see "what it's all about" - to view what's going on first hand rather than watching it on the Discovery Channel or the 7:00 NHK News. I suspect that the level of energy and excitement will be palpable. It may change many of my arbitrary and uneducated biases as well. If that happens I will welcome it with open arms. For example, my gut feeling is that line tracing is kind of pointless and that maze solving is much more interesting. But I realize that my 'gut feelings' have no practical experience base underlying them, and therefore may be totally out of sync with reality. The only way to test and modify them is to go out into the real world and see if they are valid or not.
As it turns out, the Japan International Cycle Show 2004 is taking place the same weekend just a few train stops away. My current thinking, subject to change of course, is to visit the cycle show on Saturday morning and then head over to the micromouse event. A lot of the Saturday micromouse events are preliminary competitions with the finals taking place on Sunday. So if it's interesting enough I might end up going back to see more on Sunday especially since the microclipper contest only takes place that day. I'll take my camera (as usual) and may also bring along my video camera and try to shoot some footage of the events.