Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Robo Games, Part 2. Catching the Pig

The LegoLand competition is a big event. For my school, since I’m in the Robotics class, if I don’t go to the competition, my grade will be impacted in a big way. We have to be at LegoLand at 8:30 in the morning (the competition starts at 9) so I had to get up at 5:30 to drive to LegoLand to be there on time. The whole competition lasts until 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon. We can't really go on the LegoLand rides either because we only have 10 minute breaks in between each competition. It sucks. On top of that it was raining so hard the day we went, most of the rides were closed, and whenever we walked from the theater to the pit (where we prepare our robots) we get drenched in water.
Me and a teammate in our pink t-shirt. Judge behind in farm hat.
     Before the actual competition, there were judges who walked around to interview us. (They all wore farm hats to match the farm theme so you could tell them apart from the rest of the crowd.) They asked us to show them our programs, describe how we tackled our missions, and scribbled our responses on a clipboard. Then they thanked us and walked away.

The actual competition and theater is pretty scary because the competition is projected on a giant screen behind the stage. That means everyone can see if you make one mistake. My team was very easy to spot because our t-shirt was bright pink with my design in black. We had two and a half minutes to try and fit in as many missions as we can to earn the most possible points. Then we leave, go back to the pit for 10 minutes, fix our robot, and go back on stage. We get to do this three times to try to improve our score. Each time mine got so close, even pulled the lever but failed to accomplish the mission. Our scores for the three times were 150, 200, and 75.

Exhausting right? So we get a break after that and get to eat lunch and go on rides? No. We  have to go do the On-the-Spot mission. This year, the mission involved letting loose a Lego pig that's strapped onto a robot that moves in circles and we have to program our robot to catch the pig without damaging the robot. Another catch. We start on one half of the table and a competitor starts on the other side. We have to compete to see who gets the pig first. And it must be knocked onto our side of the table. If we knock the pig onto our opponent’s side of the table they win. So, we get 30 minutes (that's why it's called the on the spot mission) to practice our program. This may seem like a lot of time, but it takes a long time designing attachments for the robot and programming it to run the way you want it to.

To find out how we did, see our next blog: The Robo  Games. Part 3. Victory.

No comments:

Post a Comment