Eurobot (UK) 2012… Done!


After an intensive week of testing on the competition table at Middlesex University (our only time with the table) our team, “R.Me.R.T”, placed 5th overall which, although not taking us to the world finals in France, was an excellent result considering the timescale of the build. The robot passed the approval phase in time to take part in all four qualification matches. Continue reading

The importance of proportional simplicity in competition robotics: Reflection on my past Eurobot experiences


This year will be the 3rd time that I have entered Eurobot as a serious competitor (Last year, in 2011, I attempted to throw an entry together the night before the UK competition for a bit of fun and never really had time to write the software). I’ve spent a lot of time of late reflecting on my experiences in the competition, and it has become apparent that there are several reasons why people enter the competition:

  • Small-budget entrants, who are in the competition to see how far they can go.
  • ‘Work-in-progress’ teams, who are using the competition as a focus to develop a particular algorithm or technology. These teams are in the competition for the learning potential rather than the winning potential, but are in the competition to demonstrate what they are capable of.
  • Large team, large budget entries seem to be the most successful overall. Often, these teams have entered for several years and know the competition inside out. They are serious competitors, who aim to develop a sickeningly impressive machine with the resources available to them.

My previous entries have fallen into the first category, which is arguably the most challenging position to be in. Continue reading

Eurobot 2012: Initial thoughts


After being away from the competition for a year, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on how things can be improved and drawn out some draft objectives for this year’s competition:

  • Systematic development of a time-triggered architecture for an accurate drive platform with portable localisation algorithms to be reused in future competitions.
    • My previous 2 entries have both been pretty much ground-up builds. I’d like to build a framework that can be reused and built upon in the future.
  • Ability to keep track of (x,y) coordinates on the table to a reasonable accuracy and report these to a PC during testing.
    • I have discovered that in order to be successful, I need to remove as much of the guess-work from the process as possible. If the robot thinks that it’s in a completely different place than it is, I need to know exactly where it’s gone wrong to improve future reliability.
  • Score a reasonable amount of game points reliably to allow progression to the world finals.
    • This is currently a 3-man team so I’m not expecting to beat the likes of RCVA. However my success in the 2010 competition with a scruffy MDF box proves that simplicity with high reliability will always win over complexity with low reliability.
More information on our progress will be available soon (without giving too much away!)

Eurobot 2010: Feed the World


Following the mixed success from the previous year, Darren Lewis and I returned to Eurobot in 2010. This time the competition was to collect various objects from the table;

Tomatoes – lightweight juggling balls positioned at known points on the table

Corn – plastic rods located in holes on the table, also at known positions, but with unmovable black corn placed in random positions within the pattern.

Oranges – heavyweight juggling balls positioned on ‘trees’ at the top of a ramp at the back of the table.

Once the items were collected, they were to be taken to the corner diagonally opposite the starting zone and deposited in the bin. The team with the greatest weight of items at the end won. Continue reading