In conjunction with iHobby Expo last week, the Chicago Area Robotics Group, better known as Chibots, held its Fall Chibotica competition. From what we've seen in photos and videos from the event, it looks very impressive. Events included humanoids, combat robots, line followers, robot sumo, and much more.
Royce Pipkins, the Chibots president pictured wearing the white lab coat in the photo on the right was kind enough to share a detailed event report with all of us (see below).
I thought I'd send you a note about Chibots experience at iHobby Expo in case you wanted to have some more coverage of the event. I'm afraid I don't have many photos. I never have time to take them.
As you know, Chibots was invited to demonstrate and have it's bi-annual contest at iHobby Expo this year. iHobby Expo presents a fairly unique opportunity for Chibots as it allows us to do two things we enjoy in a very nice venue: 1. reach out the public (to try to get more members) and 2. hold our contests in front of a good audience. As you can see in the photo we have a nice little crowd watching our mini-sumo.
Two of the four days of iHobby Expo are actually trade-only days where retailers, channel distributors and manufacturers all meet and large business deals are swung. iHobby Expo is a non-profit arm of the Hobby Manufacturers Association and a major purpose of the show is to facilitate trade between HMA members and inform HMA members about emerging trends. That is where Chibots fits in. Part of our 'job' at the show is to talk to the other exhibitors and give them a sense of what we, as actual robot hobbyists, are up to. Let me tell you that hobby companies, retailers in particular, are plenty interested in what robot hobbyists are up to!
We spoke to retailers who were as large as folks like Horizon Hobby down to a one-man train store in Kansas City. Its communities and coverage like Robots Dreams and all the other publications that have captured the imaginations of these retailers and is helping bring ever more attention, money and new products to the hobby robotics field. The future for our hobby looks bright, keep up the great work!
Fall Chibotica itself was held on the last day of iHobby Expo. We had a great turn out. Line following robots blazed around our course at speeds exceeding 1 meter per a second, numerous sumo wrestlers of the Mini and LEGO variety went head-to-head and of course humanoid robots were on the scene. Mike Overstreet made the trek all the way from Kansas city to bring his RoboNova, Boomer, and Matt Bauer came from Ohio to bring Rook's Pawn III and NovaPrime. Mike, in addition to Scotty, took a number of great videos that can be found on his YouTube page: http://youtube.com/moverstreet .
I brought my RoboNova, TrossenRobotics entered a Futaba RBT1 and the folks behind RoboPhilo were kind enough to enter RoboPhilo. The RoboPhilo was actually an impressive little bot for its price. Its low price, open architecture and familiar ATmega32 brains are sure to land it a place in many a roboticist's home. RoboPhilo took third place in the demonstration competition.
This was also the first time I had seen a Futuba RBT1 up close. Its a small but tough little bot. It took first place in wrestling competition beating out its larger opponents! A good time was had by all and I'm hoping to see even more robot and humanoid robots next year!
On a less happy note Matt Bauer was not able to compete with us due to a bad throat illness that cropped up on Sunday morning. He headed home to recover. I hope those who know Matt will join me in sending him a get-well-soon note. His contact info is at his website: http://www.bauerindependents.com/