As I mentioned in my Japan Micromouse post a few days ago, the schedule and venue for this year's competition has been posted on the official website. Since it's just over a month away, I've started to review my notes, photos, and videos from last year's competition, and put together a short video clip below.
The video short is only about 3 minutes long but should give you a feel for the competition starting with how the micromouse (micro-mice?) first explore the maze to map it, then decide on an optimized path and attempt several speed runs - if there's still enough time left on the clock.
The competitors typically adjust their micromouse so that the first speed run is relatively conservative to make sure they establish at least one good time for the record. Then with each successive run they take more and more risks, to the point that they will sometimes loose control and spin like a top.
You can also see from the video, that the six wheeled micromouse (there were several entries using this design) is capable of bi-directional navigation. When it needs to reverse direction it doesn't have to physically turn around, its computer brain just swaps front and back orientations internal, and the mouse doesn't even appear to hesitate or get confused in the process. That particular design also uses a gyro and whips through maze diagonals as if they were straightaways. Pretty awesome.