Micromouse In The Mountains

Although as a robot competition "Micromouse" originated in the US, it hasn't been very popular nor is it well known outside of a small group of dedicated fans. However, in Japan the micromouse competitions have been staged consistently for 27 years in a row. The top competitors return, year after year, and keep polishing and sometimes radically improving their robot designs.

The competition isn't limited to just Japanese. It's not unusual to have quite a few entries from overseas including the US, Korea, Singapore, and other countries. And you might be surprised to learn that for the past several years the Singapore micromouse builders have dominated the competition here in Japan.

Normally, when the event is held in the Tokyo area, we always attend and take lots of photos and videos. This year the event was staged in Nagai, a somewhat remote rural area about 4 hours by train one way, and unfortunately we just couldn't fit the time into our schedule.

Thankfully Japan Arcadia Network, the local ISP and network in the area, has sponsored an excellent "27th All Japan Micromouse Competition in Nagai" website reporting the competition details along with streaming videos of the top robots and interviews with their builders.

When you visit the site, and we strongly encourage you to make the time to at least watch a few of the robot videos (you'll be amazed), look for a button that looks like this:


If you click on that, it will take you to the Expert Class final results page, that looks like this:


Clicking on the 'OnDemand' buttons in the right hand column on that page will start the streaming video.

Most of the maze search runs are surprisingly fast. MIN4A, for example, does its search run faster than a lot of its competitors did their speed runs. The robot speed run times were really amazing, with the top 5 competitors blazing their way to the center of the maze in under 10 seconds.

Rank # Robot Name Competitor Time
1 21 MIN4A Ng Beng Kiat 00;07;344
2 22 COOL Y+ SIEW PENG SHORN 00;07;430
3 19 Mizuho Nakashima 00;08;574
4 18 Micromouse 3 Itani 00;09;271
5 16 Silf-NS3 Itoh 00;09;604

For those that aren't already familiar with the micromouse events, the Technology Innovation Centre (UCE Birmingham in the UK) has a very good English language micromouse guidemicromouse history page, and micromouse competition rules.


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