Mini-Robot Sumo From Northern Iowa (Video link)

robot sumo
The University of Northern Iowa just staged a really interesting mini-robot sumo competition between robots designed by 10 students in a 15–week Introduction to Robotics course. The competition video (see link below) includes a wealth of information on mini-robot sumo, design strategies and trade-offs, and the student experiences.

This really unique event utilized technology in a number of different ways. For example, the course itself, taught by UNI physics professor Dale Olson, also included remote lectures, guidance, and support from Randy Dumse who is located in Texas.

The competition also included a ‘ship-in’ entry supplied by Dan Derrick from Indiana. Dan’s entry was shipped in and setup by one of the local staff while Dan watched the competition remotely.   

Robots battle it out sumo-style

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Ten mini robots will compete from 9 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 27, in the Great Reading Room, located in Seerley Hall at the University of Northern Iowa. Nine UNI physics and technology students will compete in a national-level competition during the Mini sumo Robotics Competition.

The event, sponsored by the UNI Physics Department and New Micros, Inc., is open to the public and also will be broadcast live over the Internet. Visit and click on the Mini-sumo Robot Competition link.

During the competition, robots compete one-on-one to push the other out of a circular ring, similar to sumo wrestling.

UNI students enrolled in Introduction to Robotics spent 15 weeks designing, building and programming their robots in the class taught by UNI physics professor Dale Olson. Randy Dumse, a 1975 UNI graduate and president of New Micros, Inc., of Dallas, Texas, has helped with the course and is involved with the competition. New Micros donated microprocessors for each of UNI's robots.

"The course is a blend of electronics, programming and physics," Olson said. "Links to industry experts and the challenge of competition provide a great learning environment and a lot of hands-on experience for the students."

The challenge is creating a mini-sumo robot that sees and responds to its competitor with quick maneuvers. The mini-sumo robots are battery-powered and are independent once they enter the ring, relying on programmed electronic eyes and other sensors to compete.

Related links: click on the “Mini-sumo Robot Competition link”

University of Northern Iowa Press release New Micros, Inc (Randy Dumse) 


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