Simple Robot Games: Robot Billards (Video)
When it comes to motivating people, espcially kids and those still young at heart, to really excel at robotics, competitive games are one of the most useful tools available. Of course there are many competitions, like ROBO-ONE humanoid wrestling, FIRST, VEX, and others. All of those serve a very useful, and noble, purpose. Still, the level of expertise and investment in both time and money, just to get into the game is not trivial, and is often beyond the means of a novice, especially in small towns or rural areas.
There are, however, simple robot games that can be enjoyed by anyone that can put together even the most basic mobile robot. A good example is Robot Billiards, one of the games frequently played by fans of the popular Wonderful Robot Carnival competitions here.
Define a playing field big enough for the robot to move around a bit. Take 9 paper cups, turn them upside down, and mark the numbers from 1 to 9 on their bottom. Place them around the perimeter of the field in a pattern so the robot has to go back and forth. The challenge is for the robot to knock each one of the cups out of the field in the shortest possible time without falling out itself.
You’d be surprised at how difficult it can be sometimes, and how much fun.