We've fallen a little bit behind on posting event reports and videos, and are trying to catch up as quickly as possible since there are more exciting events coming up over the next few weeks. At the same time, we don't want to overlook any of the really important, informative, or really fun, topics in our attempt to get caught up.
As we've mentioned before, the Wonderful Robot Carnival competition is an absolute blast - five to six hours straight of over-the-top robot fun. The most recent Carnival was held here in Tokyo in early January, and included competitions like the Die Shoot, Balloon Survival, and Bottle Traction. The first two depend a lot on strategy and speed, while the Bottle Traction event is really more of a test of the robot's design and the builder's skill.
It seems simple enough. Load up some PET plastic water bottles in a small basket, then have your robot drag or push it down the length of a 2 meter course.
It turns out to be much harder than most people imagine. Some competitors had their robots pull the basket using a looped piece of rope, while others had the robot bend over slightly and try to push the basket.
Even among those using the pulling approach, there was a big difference in how they attached the rope to the robot, and how well it turned out. Of course, the primary challenge is to get sufficient traction with the robots feet while staying balanced.
Points were awarded based on the number of bottles - which ranged from 1 to 5, the time required to complete the 2 meters, or the distance covered for those that couldn't complete the course within the assigned time limit. The top scorer pulled 5 bottles and finished with a total of 1020 points.
Attach the rope too high, or too low, and it's easy for your robot to loose it's balance while trying to pull the basket.
Everyone tried, even when it seemed to be a helpless cause.
Here's what the competition was like:
Wonderful Robot Carnival Website (Japanese)
More on the Wonderful Robot Carnival (English)