EGR 200 Students' Designs Compete in Robot Sumo Competition
The Lobby of the Business-Engineering Complex will be the site of a robot battle royale this week, as engineering students pit their specially designed robots against each other in the sumo ring.
The robots, known in competition as sumobots, were built by teams of students as part of the EGR 200 and EGR 111 (honors section) classes. Each team had five weeks to plan, design, and build the robots.
"This project requires students to apply the engineering knowledge they have gained in class, as well as utilize the tools that are available to them in the engineering design lab," says engineering professor Rosalia Scripa, Ph.D. "So while they are learning basic engineering skills, they also are gaining experience with 3-D printing and programming that are on the cutting edge of engineering technology."
Professor Doug Ross, who mentored the project, selected sumobots because it allowed students to experience a wide range of technologies.
"Many unique robots were designed within the constraints," says Ross. "Each group designed their own robot geometry that was then manufactured utilizing the design lab's 3-D printers. The students program their robots to respond to sensor input for individualized behavior."
While size and strength are obvious advantages in sumo contests, the challenges for sumobots go beyond mechanical power. The competitors first must find their opponents, so students equip them with infra-red or ultra-sonic sensors. The sumobots must also stay within the ring, so students must equip them with technology that allows them to identify the limits of the playing area.
The requirements for the robots are based on the unified sumo robot rules for the mini size. The sumobot cannot be any larger than 100x100mm, with mass no more than 500grams, and it must be autonomous. "Some of the equipment was standardized," Ross explains. "All robots employ continuous rotation RC servo motors for motion, infra-red sensors for boundary detection, ultrasonic sensors for opponent detection and Arduino Uno's for control."
And while some of the rules of combat are obvious (no flaming devices), others require a certain degree of sophistication; for example, tires and other components must not be able to pick up and hold a standard 3x5 index card for more than two seconds, thereby assuring that the sumobot isn't using illegal substances for better traction.