The 1st Wonderful Robot Carnival, held just one year ago, was an absolute blast. Free of the stress and high pressure environment that's built up around the ROBO-ONE competitions, the Carnival participants could just relax and have a ball playing with their robots in events that were specifically designed to generate the most fun possible. It immediately became our favorite robot competition in the Kanto area.
But, what do you do for an encore? How do you keep a robot competition fresh and exciting, yet keep the rules fairly stable so that entrants don't have to completely rebuild their robots for each event? It can be a major headache, but thankfully Ishikawa-san, the founder and guiding spirit behind the Carnival, was up to the challenge.
For the first two Carnivals, the lead-off event was a 2 meter dash where the robots competed in sets of two, but the scoring was against the clock. To keep the event interesting, and to be able to accommodate the over 40 entries, Ishikawa-san converted the Dash 2000 event into a one meter out, one meter back dash around a pylon (see video below).
Ishikawa-san seems to be able to come up with an endless supply of event props like the miniature orange construction cones. He must have some sort of magic Doraemon bag.
Sprinting is hard enough for a humanoid robot, but adding the requirement that they make their turn around the pylons made it doubly tough.
What does it take to win? Character! This robot's personalization only included a face and two hands, yet it had a very distinctive, and memorable, personality.
As you might have predicted, some of the fastest times were turned in by entries that had also been regularly participating in some of the robot soccer competitions.
Here's what they looked like in action yesterday:
Wonderful Robot Carnival Website (Japanese)
More on the Wonderful Robot Carnival (English)