[ut.ee] BEAM Robot Olympics: Intro, Guidelines and Entrance Form

mwtilden@watmath.waterloo.edu (Mark W. Tilden) (04/20/91)

Hey Ho.  Another robot competition, namely...

The First Annual BEAM Robot Olympics:

Ontario Science Center
October (tentative), 1991

Sponsored by:
IEEE Canada and the University of Waterloo

The  BEAM Robot Olympics is not so much a series of technological
competitions  as  a chance for robot enthusiasts to present their
designs  to  each other, the press, and the public.  It is also a
open  forum  for  anyone who wants to get started in the field to
compete  and  compare.  Any and every robot will be considered so
long  as it does not come from a kit or store.  Robots of similar
ability will be pitted against each other in simple competitions,
but   generally  robots  will  be  judged  on  sophistication  of
behavior, novelty of design and quality of hardware.

Basically, if you built it, we'd like to see it.

One  of  the  main  aims  of  the  Olympics is to get more people
interested  in  practical  robotics (rather than computer simula-
tions).   Thus  BEAM,  which stands for Biology, Electronics, Art
and  Mechanics  is a system founded at the University of Waterloo
which  allows  first time enthusiasts to get started in all these
disciplines.   By  building one or more self-contained creatures,
anyone can gain the confidence and ability to build a wider range
of   robotic  devices.   There  are  already  BEAM  demonstration
creatures for each of the following events:

     SOLAROLLER: Self starting robot dragster race.
     PHOTOVORE: Robots face a closed 'world' and each other.
     HIGH JUMP: Robot creature leaps, lands on feet.
     ROPE CLIMBING: First up, first down, self-starting.
     LEGGED RACE: Walking creatures run for the money.
     INNOVATION MACHINES: Electronic chopsticks, for example.
     ROBOART: Mechanical/electronic aesthetics that move.
     BEST MODIFIED TOY: Build brains into your Barbie.
     ROBOT SUMO: Push an opponent out of a ring.
     NANOMOUSE: A smaller and simpler form of the...
     MICROMOUSE: Where metal mice race for aluminum cheese.

Rules  and  Guidelines  are  available now at a cost of $5.00 for
cost  of copying and postage.  These include pictures and discus-
sion  on  some of the Behavior-Based competitors already finished
or  under construction at this University.  Potential competitors
will  be  asked  to fill out a 'behavior sheet' ahead of time and
competitions  will  be determined based on the number of competi-
tors.   Those  in  a  class by themselves will be given honorable

                          April 17, 1991

                              - 2 -

mention  and everybody will be included in the BEAM Olympic port-

The purpose of these Olympics is to stress innovation rather than
competition.  We don't want solutions to be engineered, rather we
want to test how your robot(s) will perform in a general environ-
ment.   This is in contrast to something like the micromouse com-
petition  where  the mice perform in a very constrained situation
and  under  strict rules.  All venues are open to the interested,
so  grab  your  soldering iron, raid the junk pile, and we'll see
you there.

For  more  information  on  the  BEAM  Robot Olympics, respond by
E-mail or contact:

                    Mark Tilden
                    MFCF, University of Waterloo
                    Ontario, Canada

                    (519)885-1211 x2454

The  rest  of  this  article  concentrates  on general competitor
guidelines  and  the entrance form.  If you want to be put on the
real-mail  list, please complete and send in the entrance form by
real-mail.   Be  sure  to  include  a picture of your competitor.
Updates  will be posted to this and other relevant groups as they
become available.  (This entire  post is a cat of three different 
files.  Sorry if my name appears too often.)

                          April 17, 1991

                              - 3 -

BEAM Robot Olympics:

Competition Rules and General Guidelines

Version 1.1

October, 1991
Ontario Science Center,
Ontario, Canada.

These are the rules and guidelines for the first BEAM Robot Olym-
pics  (not  to  be  confused with the Turing Robot Olympics first
held  in Scotland, 1990).  Although the spirit of the Olympics is
that  there are few rules and thus few formal competitions, these
are  some  guidelines which every competitor should follow.  If a
design  does not fit these parameters or may but you're not sure,
please  contact  the organizers for a ruling.  Consideration will
be  given  to  very  innovative or imaginative designs.  The BEAM
Olympics is meant as an informal meeting of mind and critter with
the  public  and the media.  It is hoped that everyone will abide
by this spirit.

All  entrants  must  fill out and send in a separate registration
form  for each competitor, a copy of which is included at the end
of  this  post.   A  clear  color  or  black and white photograph
(ideally 5"x7") of each competitor is also required for the Olym-
pic  Dossier.   All  photos  become  the property of the Olympics
organizers  and cannot be returned.  All who register will be put
on a mailing list and kept abreast of upcoming events.

Note: You are the Entrant, your robot is the Competitor.

RE: Robotic Competitors:

-  All  devices must be either entirely custom built or a heavily
modified  toy.  No commercial, store bought or kit robots allowed
without heavy physical modification (software re-writes alone are
not  sufficient  modification).   "Heavy" defined in this case as
permanent  structural/electronic  additions which extend, replace
or  enhance  a functional aspect of the device (replace batteries
with  solar  engine,  add  functional  arms,  interface  a unique
touch/vision system, etc.).

- All entries must be self-contained or have an option where they
can  execute  behavior  without  human intervention.  If an entry
must  use  wall  current,  it  can use only one plug at a nominal
amperage (120 VAC, 3 Amps maximum drain).  Any robot which uses a
combustion  process  will  be discouraged for safety reasons, and
will not be allowed to run inside the auditorium.

-  Any  entry may be disqualified if too large (ie: bigger than a
fridge). The sole reason for this is that display space and power

                          April 17, 1991

                              - 4 -

are limited.

-  Any competitor which is obviously of mass-produced, commercial
manufacture  and/or  performs  an obviously commercial task shall
not  be  considered  as  a competitor (we don't want this to be a
free advertising opportunity for anyone).  Corporate research and
design  prototypes are the exception but they must be represented
by their designer at the competition, not by the corporation.

-  Any  devices  made  from  commercial  construction kits (Lego,
Mecanno, etc.) must also feature obviously non-commercial, custom
elements to indicate sufficient intent of innovation.

-  No 'violent' competitors will be allowed; that is, no competi-
tor   may  have  a  functionally  destructive  capacity  (drills,
cutters,  soldering iron, flame-thrower, chainsaw, etc.) although
decorative or whimsical elements along this line are allowed (ie;
waterpistols).   Likewise,  any  competitor  which may damage the
competition  courses  or  other competitors will be disqualified.
Competitors  may  interfere  with each other during the course of
simultaneous  runs so long as they do not violate the 'no damage'
rule.   Any  entrant who justly feels his device could be damaged
by another entrant will be respected.

-  No  competitors can employ biological components (rats, chick-
ens,  lemon/potato batteries, Jello, etc.) except by special per-

- Multitalented competitors are allowed and even encouraged, how-
ever  such  competitors  must have been declared ahead of time in
their behavior description.

-  Partially  finished competitors are allowed to compete so long
as  there is some function they can exhibit to show what they may
eventually be capable of.

Again,  if  you  are  in  doubt as to the validity of your entry,
please  contact  Mark  Tilden  or  Ed  Spike at the University of
Waterloo.   Exceptions  will be made for particularly imaginative
entries.  To be helpful, the following definitions are provided:

                          April 17, 1991

                              - 5 -

     Robot: 1: A multi-purpose mechanical manipulator
     capable of preforming a series of physical tasks.
     2: A self-contained autonomous roving creature
     capable of mimicing aspects of known biological

     BEAM Robotics: 1: A description of what aspects a
     roving robot creature should contain.  BEAM is a
     double anachronism which stands for Biology,
     Electronics, Art and Mechanics, as well as Building,
     Evolution, Anarchy and Modularity.
     2: A research and education organization dedicated
     to promotion and construction of unorthodox, scientific
     robotics for fun and real-world application.

The following pages contain specific rules for those competitions
which  have at least one BEAM competitor already assembled.  Pho-
tographs  of these BEAM devices are enclosed but are not meant to
be  considered  as  defacto  standards.   Please  do not copy our
designs,  they  are  examples,  not  serious  competitors.   BEAM
creatures  shall  be  considered  'Demo' machines and will not be
formally  awarded  any prizes, although they will compete against
all comers.

For registration, information, and Olympic rule updates, contact:

                    Mark Tilden
                    MFCF, University of Waterloo,
                    Ontario, Canada.

                    (519)885-1211 ext.2454 (workdays)

                    E-mail: mwtilden@watmath.waterloo.edu


                    Ed Spike
                    Electrical Engineering,
                    University of Waterloo,
                    Ontario, Canada.

                    (519)885-1211 ext.2454 (workdays)

                    E-mail: spike@sunee.waterloo.edu

                          April 17, 1991

                              - 6 -

A  cover charge of $2.00 is asked for cost of copying and postage
of  future  correspondence.  Copies of this Guideline Booklet are
available  for  $5.00  (North  America)  and  $10.00  (Overseas),
including shipping.  Other articles and discussions are available
from the authors, and, barring difficulties, plans and videos may
soon be available.  All rights reserved.

(Note: as of the time of this writing (April, 1991), details like
exact dates, financial travel assistance and awards have not been
finalized.  We will be trying for a middle week of October, 1991.
Awards  and  assistance  will  depend on sponsorship replies.  An
update  letter will be sent to all those that send in their $2.00
as soon as details are available.

                          April 17, 1991

                              - 7 -

BEAM Robot Olympics:


Fall, 1991.

(NB: You are the Entrant, your machine is the Competitor.)


     Team Name (if applicable): _____________________________________

     Name _________________________________________________ Age _____
     Address: Street/apt/town _______________________________________
                 Country/Zipcode ____________________________________

     Name _________________________________________________ Age _____
     Address: Street/apt/town _______________________________________
                 Country/Zipcode ____________________________________

     Name _________________________________________________ Age _____
     Address: Street/apt/town _______________________________________
                 Country/Zipcode ____________________________________

     (If more team members, please continue on back)

     Institute Name (if any): ________________________________________


     Name __________________________________________________ Age _____

     Behavior (please use point form):________________________________

     Please check which BEAM event your entrant may qualify for:

                         ___  SOLAROLLER
                         ___  PHOTOVORE
                         ___  HIGH JUMP
                         ___  ROPE CLIMBING
                         ___  LEGGED RACE
                         ___  INNOVATION MACHINES
                         ___  ROBOART
                         ___  BEST MODIFIED TOY
                         ___  ROBOT SUMO
                         ___  NANOMICE
                         ___  MICROMOUSE

     If none of the above, please state what skill best describes your
     device: _________________________________________________________

All competitors must have a separate registration form and photo.
A  clear  color  or black and white photograph (ideally 5"x7") of
each competitor is requested for the Olympic Dossier.  All photos
become  the  property  of  the  Olympics organizers and cannot be
returned.   All  who  register  will be put on a mailing list and
kept abreast of upcoming events.

Good luck and hope to see you there.

Please return to:

                         Mark Tilden
                         MFCF, University of Waterloo
                         Ontario, Canada
                         (519)885-1211 x2454

                         Internet: mwtilden@watmath.waterloo.edu

Enclose  $2.00  for  future  mailings, unless you are actively on
Internet,  in  which case, please enclose your electronic mailing

Internet                      E-mail                     Address:

See you there.

Is all.

Mark Tilden: _-_-_-__--__--_      /(glitch!)  M.F.C.F Hardware Design Lab.
-_-___       |              \  /\/            U of Waterloo. Ont. Can, N2L-3G1
     |__-_-_-|               \/               (519) - 885 - 1211 ext.2454,