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Balancing Robot Race Rules

Name of Event: Balancer Race
Robots per Event: One
Length of Event: 3 minutes
Robot Weight Range: 23 kg
Robot Dimensions: 1m x 1m x 1m
Arena Specifications: Straight line course, 6m long by 1m wide.
Robot Control: Remote Controlled or autonomous
Engineering Principles: Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science
Event Summary: Segway-style,balancing robots must quickly run a race without falling over.

The objective of this competition is to complete the course in the shortest period of time, while staying balanced.

A balancing robot is a robot that is statically unstable: the robot will remain upright under its own power, but it will fall over if power is removed. Examples of a balancing robot include:

  • A two-wheel robot where the center of gravity is above the axis of the wheels
  • A one-wheel robot
  • A robot that balances on a ball
The robot must not be constructed in such a way as to damage the environment or other robots. See "Safety" for other restrictions.
The robot must weigh less than 50 pounds. It must not use a combustion engine. The robot must fit inside a 3'x3'x3' cube for the entire duration of its run.

The robot may be either remote controlled or autonomous. Both types of robots will compete against each other. Course:
Robots start behind a white starting line. Finish lines are approximately 6 meters from the starting line. There are two white finish lines, placed approximately 60cm apart. The timer starts when the robot crosses the starting line. The timer stops when the robot remains stationary with its wheels between the two finish lines.

Obstacles may be placed on the course, at the discretion of the robot owner. Each obstacle successfully traversed will apply a scoring multiplier to the robot's time. See "Scoring" for more details.

Course boundaries will be determined prior to race. Robots that stray outside of the course boundaries will have 2X the time outside the boundary added to their score.

Each robot will have a maximum of 3 minutes to complete the course.

Robots will receive a score equivalent to the number of seconds from start to finish.

If a robot falls over, a penalty of 10 seconds will be assessed. The robot may be set upright and continue from the point where is fell over.

Obstacles are assigned a scoring multiplier between 0.1 and 0.9 and will reflect the difficulty of traversing the obstacle.

Approved obstacles include:

  • Ramps (up and down)
  • Road Cones (drive around or slalom)
  • Uneven surfaces (carpet scraps, Astroturf)
  • Speed bumps (dowel pieces placed on the ground)
If the robot falls over as a result of encountering an obstacle, the scoring multiplier will not be applied.

Each robot is given 3 attempts to complete the course. The best score out of the three attempts will be used as the final score.

Scoring will be at the sole discretion of the judges.

One or more judges will officiate the contest. They will ensure the spirit of these rules are followed and impose scoring penalties or remove a robot from competition if the robot is operating in an unsafe manner or not complying with the spirit of these rules. The decisions of the judges are final.

The robot must be constructed so that is does not damage the course or pose a danger to spectators.

Each robot weighing more than 5 pounds must demonstrate a suitable fail-safe stop mechanism before it will be allowed to compete. The robot builder is responsible for devising the safety stop mechanism. Some possibilities include:

  • A wireless mechanism operated by the handler.
  • Wired tether operated by the handler walking alongside the robot.
  • Some other mechanism, with prior permission from the judges.
The safety stop switch must be fail-safe: The robot handler must demonstrate that by dropping, or letting go of the stop mechanism the robot comes to an immediate stop. The stop mechanism does not need to cut primary power as long as it can be demonstrated that the robot reliably comes to a complete halt.

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