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Robothon 97' Results

Written up by Kevin Ross

On May 17th, 1997, the Seattle Robotics Society held its annual Robothon event. In all, we had between 80 and 100 visitors and contestants. The 5 hour event was held at the Renton Technical College, and was free to anyone who wanted to attend.

Spectators watching the line following event

Highlights of the event included a Sumo robot contest, a line following contest, the Grand Maze contest, the robot art contest, and of course the floor exercise. For a more detailed description of these events, check out our Robothon rules page.

Line Following:


Gary Teachouts winning line follower

There were several contestants in the line following category. The robot to beat again this time around was Gary Teachout's amazingly fast one chip wonder. This fine machine is built using a single flipflop for its control. It is amazingly fast, running the line following maze in 8 seconds.


Second place in this contest went to Tom Dickens, who turn in a respectable 16 second finish.

Tom Dickens prepares his line follower


This years Sumo competition had quite a few contestants. Bill Harrison of SineRobotics did a fine job organizing and running the competition. As usual, the Sumo contest is a great attraction full of excitment. There were three classes of Sumo this time around.

Heavyweight class

The family feud is alive between Leo and Blackbird

These are the full sized Sumo robots. Tom Dickens (sr) won a first in the regular (heavy-weight) robot Sumo class with Leo. Thomas Dickens (jr) won a second in this class with Blackbird.

Pictured to the left is the father and son duel between the Leo and Blackbird built by the Dickens Duo.


Lightweight class

Albert Verheiden won a first in the light-weight class with Dynotrack. There was no second in this class due to lack of entrants. Seen here is the Dynotrack in a qualifying round with a placebo block.

Albert is also the youngest participant at 11 years old. Albert teamed up with Bill Harrision to complete this light-weight monster.

Mini-sumo class

Tom Dickens running Teddy against Marvin Greens victorious Katy on the mini ring.

The Mini-sumo competition, which was the brainchild of Robert Jorgenson, drew the most competitors. Note the smaller ring sitting atop the main Sumo ring.

The first in the mini-Sumo class was a *real* battle. There was a three way tie between Marvin, Tom, and Robert. We did a rematch and again there was a three way tie. So we had to do a "maylay" (sp?), all three of them in a once only last one standing match. One was eliminated (Robert), but the time limit ran out and the other two were still going so we had to run overtime till another one dropped out. So this class was pretty well matched. As an interesting note, this was the first time Robert's didn't get a first (over a couple of years, he even won a second in the light-weight class in San Francisco) with his mini.

Marvin Green won a first in the mini-Sumo class with Katy. Tom Dickens (sr) won the second place with Teddy.

The Grand Maze

Lance Keisers Murphy navigates the maze

The Grand Maze is a maze contest in a 12' x 12' maze with passages on 2' centers. This year had three great contestants, include Lance Keisers 1980 vintage Murphy. Murphy was great to watch, but didn't do well on the time.

Gary Teachout's 'LC' won the contest with a first run of 1:54, and a second and third run of 0:37 and 0:34 respectively. Garys robot remembers the previous successful path to achieve these times.

Tom Dickens came through with Wizzard 1 and a time of 2:06, 1:26, and a DNF to secure the second position.

Murphy was award the Miss Congeniality award for the robot everyone wanted to root for!

Robotic Artist Contest

Isa Harrisons award winning robot

The Robotic Artist award was taken by Isa Harrison, who is the youngest competitor at Robothon this year. Isas robot used a set of pens mounted on a spinning disk to create a fine 'spirograph' creation on the page. Judged by popular applause, second place was given to Gary Teachout, and third place to Tom Dickens.

Gary Teachouts precision machine

Tom Dickens multi-crayon artist

Floor Exercise

The Floor Exercise contest gives everyone a chance to show off their machines, working or not, to the audience. The goal is to demonstrate what ideas are in the works, and how our technology can be applied to different problems. I didn't get enough pictures to show everyones robots, so I selected two robots to show off. Everyone did a great job on the floor exercise and should be congratulated on their efforts.

This years Rookie of the Year award goes to Jeff Bullock, who has created Dinobot. Jeff is still working on getting Dinobot completed. His goal and interest is in creating a machine that interacts with the audience in a lifelike manner. When completed, Dinobot will sport a latex skin complete with eyelids. Dinobot has an articulated neck, as seen in the picture below. Each of the 3 vertabrae is created from 4" PVC pipe and supports 2 degrees of freedom (up/down and left/right). Each is independently controlled, giving the head 9 degrees of freedom! In addition, the face has controllable eyes with lid control and pupils that dialate. Jeff intends to add sonar and infrared detection to sense the presence of specators. This is a great project!

You can see the eyes, and can makeout the wire frames for the eyelids.

Tom Dickens is showing off one of his creations, Robocat. This is a walking robot using 4 legs. Notable features to this robot are Toms 4 processor 68HC11 board, which uses the SPI port of the 68HC11 to implement a fast interprocesser network.

Next years contest

The Seattle Robotics Society will be holding another event soon, probably in November of 1997. Stay tuned with the SRS to find out more details.