The 16th ROBO-ONE Competition is on the calendar for the weekend of September 26th in Toyama, about half a day's journey by train northwest of Tokyo.
The ROBO-ONE comittee has often made it a practice to stage the Fall competitions, usually held in September, in one of the more remote, and sometimes rural areas to try and stimulate interest in robots and manufacturing/design as a career choice.
Last fall however they deviated from the norm and combined the competition with the Robo-Japan exhibition in Yokohama in a brave attempt to relight public interest in robotics in the face of severe economic challenges. So it's good to see them return to their older, and we believe more appropriate/pragmatic practice.
Another move that we definitely welcome is the re-instatement of the two day format with the first day dedicated to the builders putting on two minute autonomous demonstrations of their robots skill and their own personal talent and know-how,
Each demonstration is scored by an expert panel of judges, and only the top scoring robots can earn the right to return on the second day to duke it out in the ring for the prize money, championship belt, a raft of other prizes donates by the event sponsors, and of course the glory and media attention that is always showered on the winner.
Put it on your calendar now, and plan to attend if possible. We'll definitely be there (with bells on) and will look forward to buying a beer (or other beverage of your choice) after the first days competitin while we compare notes and prepare for the next day's final matches. And if for some reason you can't make it, then be sure to watch for our reports of the action directly from the venue,
Who knows, maybe this time around we might even see some budding US builders show up to give the Japanese champions a real run fir their money.
We won't mention any names because we don't want them to feel any uncomfortable pressure or embarassment if they happen to decline for some reason, but their company name does start with the letters F-A-R-R-E-... and includes "Robotics" in there someplace.