Let's Make Robots!

Search and Rescue

This challenge is inspired by a local event, where kids are remote controlling robots through a maze like course to find a small Teddy bear, grab it (with velcro) and drag it to the start point. But is this possible to do autonomously? I'm sure it is! 

So here is the challenge: build an autonomous robot that is capable to drive through a maze like environment, find a small Teddy bear, grab it by what ever means and bring it to the starting point. The maze can be made out of card boxes, books, whatever you have handy and it should have at least 4 turns before the position of the bear and the hallways width should be at least 12". The robot shloud be smaller than 12" and can't look over the walls. You can build a 2 wheels, 4 wheels rover, biped, quad, hexapod... anything you like. No remote processing is allowed, that means no link to an external computer is allowed. You can't moddify or add anything to the Teddy bear to make it easier detectable, but you can wrap around it a velcro collar so the robot may grab it easier. Make a video of your robot rescueing the Teddy bear and post a link to it here.

The winner will be decided by a community vote, still need to figure that out how's going to happen, a poll might work, but I don't see a way to add it to the challenge.

There will be prizes available:

- a µBotino V3 kit and a USB-serial cable

- a Robot Builder's Arduino kit and a USB-serial cable

- a Robot Builder's Shield V3 kit and a mini Breadboard


Update, Sept. 26th, 2011:

Since no robot was entered by September 22nd, I have granted an extension of the end date to September 25th. Only one robot was completed by this time, by Sebathorus, so I declare it winner of the First Place. But, since there were others who expressed interest in participating, I am going to make a second extension, until the end of the month. I hope at least 2 more robots to be entered. Come on people! I've got some kits to give!


Update, Oct. 1st, 2011:

The main reason behind this challenge was the old robot builder's dream: robot, fetch me a beer. I thought to bring it to you guys step by step. First, build a robot that is able to find an object and retrieve it. Best built is with a gripper and sensors that scan left-right and look for the object. After you did wall following, try to add encoders and remember your path and after you got the object, get back on the shortest path (maze solving). Build the gripper strong enough so it can pick up a beer can as the retrieved object. Add a voice recognition module and say the magic words: Robot, fetch, a beer! My MiniEric robot can almost do that (can lift only an empty can, not a full one). Can yours?

I removed the end date for this challenge, it will be still ON until the first robot that is able to fetch a (full) beer can left on the floor is demonstrated. No maze required, just house navigating, have the beer on the floor in front of the refrigerator in the kitchen and start the robot in front of the living room couch. The robot must find it's way through house clutter. Post the video and code for the robot in your robot page here on LMR. Prize? I don't know yet, but it's going to be something in the $100 range. Perhaps something you need to have for your robots... Oh, voice recognition module is not actually required, you can just press a button on the robot. In this case, you can win a voice command module (I have 2 of them).

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You're welcomed to participate! Use any method to catch/grab the toy and get it out of to safety.



I finished my robot just this evening,


Good entry! Your robot looks cool, navigates the maze perfectly, grabs the toy and continues navigating the maze. One thing you should add is a method to detect when the toy was grabbed so the robot can turn around and head back to the entrance. Kind of what Sebathorus did. The idea is go in, find the toy, grab it and get it back to the entrance. Your robot does that, but without knowing it really did good or not. So, since the general goal is achieved, you are a winner! Please send me a PM with your choice for a prize. Sebathorus chose a uServotino, since I gave him a uBotino when he visited me in Toronto this summer.

Thanks heaps,

I agree that turning around would have been better. But I was in a big rush to get it finished in time.

Thanks again,

I've updated the challenge. The quest for a beer fetcher robot continues...

Can we have the beer on a platform? or does it just have to be the beer on the ground with nothing around, attached or under it?

Actually, you can have the beer anywhere you like, just make sure the robot gets it to you :D

Yes, the beer can be placed to be grabbed by the robot anywhere in it's range. If you want to simulate the beer being on a shelf in a fridge you're even encouraged to do that. If you can make the robot get the beer out from a fridge (be it a drink cooler or mini fridge) you get extra forum creed. This should be the next step of evolution, but if you can do it, go for it!

Is it still open now? Are you still gnna give away a ubotino V3 or Robot Builder's R-duino?

Yes, I'll give out a kit for any successful maze entries. But only the first one that brings the beer will be the grand winner.