Let's Make Robots!

Ideas for competition/giveaway

G'day again fellow LMR'ians.

I've created this forum topic today to basically engage in a brain storming session with you all. To celebrate 2000 subscribers on my YouTube channel I wish to celebrate by holding either a competition or giveaway of some kind.

I have always enjoyed teaching and I can't believe how easy YouTube makes it for me to teach thousands of people! Better yet, the feedback on my videos has been great and for that I am truly in debt to my 'students' and followers.

Ok, back to business. Here's what I am thinking. I can have either a competition or a giveaway.


As many of my viewers are getting into the robotics world and don't have much experience with the advanced processes or access to many parts the competition would have to be simple. I would also like to encourage the use of household items in the contruction aspect of the robot. A coaster bot challenge comes to mind, but that is, I believe, to be an over used and un-imaginative goal. I saw that OddBot had a challenge a little while back where the bots had to be made out of cardboard, this idea I like. So in summary I am thinking something like 'Recycle Challenge' - Build a robot that is primarly contructed of recyclabe household items (milk bottles, soda caps etc.) The Prize should be something that they can then use to add to their robot arsenal, like a robot chassis or sensor pack I am thinking.



I always like to hear back from people that my videos have helped them in some way and they have made a robot or something else as a result. For the giveaway I am primarly thinking this could be for people who are looking to get into robotics but don't yet have a microcontroller or parts. My idea is that people could send me a maximum 5 minute video about their experience with robotics and how my videos have helped them. I would then give an arduino starter pack away to the person that I think is most deserving.


Like I said these are just basic ideas and I am not really sure how to go with it. I am still very much in the idea stage of this and any input would be greatly appreciated. As to prizes the good folks at Core-Electronics are happy to supply them.

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How about a slightly different spin on your scrap bin challenge? 

Robotic Scrap Bin Dance Competition - best dancing robot made from items in scrap bins

Robotic Art Scrap Bin Competition - most "artistic" robot that can work autonomously but must be made from things found in a scap bin -

Scrap Bin Robotic Jumping Bean - best jumping robot from items in scrap bin

Robotic Woody Competition - best robot made out of wood - based partly on looks (25% or so), but also what the bot can do

Scrap Bin Missile Launching Robot - robot must be mobile, made from items in scrap bin and can launch a missile at a target

Scrap Bin Animal Robot - robot from scrap bin must look somewhat like and behave like an animal - a dog will wag its tail, a cat give you attitude etc.

Anyways, just a few ideas I thought up last night as I drove home from work.



You no doubt have a very broad audience, so in my opinion a contest in which an aesthetical pleasing robot that should be build from common (recycled) house hold items would be a good idea. Humanoid like robots, a dog or even a robot kangaroo for that matter, as long as it looks more or less like it. That way creativity plays a key role and thus those with limited knowledge about microcontrollers etc. and/or limited funds have an equal change to win the contest.

What ChickenParmi eventually did with these ideas became the Scrapbin Challenge, one of 2013's most interesting and involved LMR events. The prizes were pretty impressive (donated by Core Electronics) and Cevinius took top honors with his very impressive C-Zero (You should really check it out.)

While LMR challenges technically never expire, there have to be time limitations on the awards given out (for example, as I write this Yahmez's Microbot Challenge deadline is striking in my time zone.). This doesn't mean you can't still rise to the challenge-just that if you do it after this point that it won't be "juried" or eligible for the prizes in the challenge.

Keep these factors in mind when "issuing" a challenge. You don't have to offer prizes (or a single "x-prize" style reward) and it's my understanding that the physical prize trend is a kind of recent one. Challenges were originally more of a community means of soliciting a variety of solutions to given propositions and encouraging creative thinking than competitive contests, per se. From the Challenges list page:
There does not have to be a (large) price, and you can take up a challenge even if it is old, or already won by someone else. In general; Although the competition can be harsh, the prizes be real, please do not take this for more than it is; A chance to be game master, and a chance to get inspired or win a competition for fun. :)

I was in the kitchen cooking dinner last week, and my 15 year old son was in our living room on his computer.  I hear from the livingroom, an Aussie voice, "Hello, this is chickenparmi..."  It was the one you did on servos.  I thought you did a great job on it. 

The biggest impediment my son has to building robots is that he doesn't have enough skills with tools to be able to put together pieces to build things.  Forcing him to go to the recycling and use his imagination would be great.

Please keep it up!  He is at the stage where I can't tell him anything so having a 3rd person to do it is great. 






That's awesome! :D Thank you very much!

That's exactly what I was thinking. A lot of my younger viewers ask me questions like 'Where do I find acrylic?' and I often stress that you don't need those types of materials to make bots, often cardboard will suffice. Not sure if you have seen but I even opted for cardboard over anything else for my tea maker prototype. Directly saying to them, make a robot out of cardboard or anything else you can find sparks the creative spark inside kids to problem solve using the limitations they are given.

Thank you so much, you cannot comprehend how much that means to me.

I just checked it out your tea maker on youtube.  That is great! lol

I had never been to your youtube site before.  I know it is obvious, but wow, you have done a lot of videos.  I will definitely pass this onto my son so he can go back to it.  I know you will inspire him and get him fired up about robotics since you are just a few years older than he is and have done some very cool stuff. 

So, thank you again for your efforts. 












It looks like you have a few concepts to reconcile as far as the mechanisms and intended competitor-ship of the contest go but that you have a laudable goal here. I especially like the idea of encouraging the use household objects in creative/imaginative ways. Our mixing-bowl bots were a lot of fun for me, for example, and didn't Chopsticks use real chopsticks for legs?

I suppose both content aspects could be summed up by saying something like "To enter, make a max. 5 minute video featuring your recyclobot and in that video, make sure to say how MY videos have helped you!" The thing is, if I remember right most of your videos are Arduino centric, so you might not find a lot of takers who don't yet have a microcontroller. On the other hand, already having an Arduino never stopped me from entering a contest to win one.

Remember to enter it in the "Challenges" section here once you finalize it.

They were awesome fun those bowl bots! That he did, chopsticks was made out of chopsticks.

I very much like your idea Max! Combining the two sounds like a great way to get more interaction and involvement in the competition. 

I think I will, like you suggested, combine the two together for the YouTube challenge. On LMR I will also create a challenge but change the entry requirements slightly, perhaps even have a different prize. This being because I doubt I have taught any of you as much as you have all taught me, so making a video telling me what you have learnt from me would be a bit difficult I presume.