PARTS Table Top Challenge

DRAFT Rules v0.1, 12/2/2010

- The TTC consists of table-based events that give robots an excuse for their humans to stay inside where it is comfy, warm, and DRY.  The 4 events are staged in increasing order of difficulty.  All events are friendly to newbots but challenging even to sentients.  The format will generally be low-key and flexible, adjusting for number of entries and whatever else is significant on the day of "competition."  The TTC shall be easy to plan and execute, so the club will hold several per year.

The table for each level of the challenge will be one of the rectangular light grey tables present in room 103. Robots and/or their operators are welcome to calibrate their sensors prior to the competition start.

Challenge Event #1 - Stay on the Table

The robot simply needs to stay on the table without falling off. It does need to move, so no cheating by entering a brick. The time period depends on the patience of the audience, but should be on the order of a few minutes.

Challenge Event #2 - Push Off Blocks
Same as event #1, but clear the decks too. Any small wooden blocks (see for cube details) must be pushed off the table.

Challenge Event #3 - Push Block into Goal
Same as event #1, but push the blocks into the designated goals. The goals are two 3" round pieces of colored paper, taped to the table with easy-to-remove double-stick poster tape. The paper will be the red and blue sheets from a pack of Norcom Computer and Craft Paper, Item #78858, available at Fred Meyer.

Challenge Event #4 - Two Robot Faceoff
Same as event #3, except now pairs of robots compete. There are two goals and two blocks; one each of red and blue. When your robot starts, the goal to your robot's right is your goal; your robot must detect which goal is it's goal automatically.

Robots are expected to be fully autonomous.   There are no limits on instrumentation, size, weight or mode of power other than the safe/sane rule.  Note that remote computers are allowed, although not likely practical due to distances and obstacles.  Flying and swimming are not allowed.

Venue - The venue for a PIC event is the Portland State University 4th Avenue Engineering Building (SW 4th Ave & College St.), first floor, in room 103, our regular meeting room.  Hopefully, several TTC's will be held each year.

Safety - Robots must be fundamentally safe and sane.  The head judge has the right to scratch at any time before or during the event any robot deemed risky, unsafe or hazardous.  Robots may have a system that allows the operator and/or judge to halt, disable or change the course of the robot if it is about to get in trouble, but this is not currently required.

Autonomy - All robots must be autonomous while on the table.

Attempts - There is only one attempt or trial allowed per event, with the rare exception noted for events #3 and #4.

Scoring and Awards - Scoring will be determined for each event and overall by robot.  Awards will not likely be $1 million checks, but you can always dream.  At a minimum, scores and rankings will be posted on the club website.  Great achievements will be duely noted in monthly meetings and great achievers will receive public adulation (but will also be required to pontificate at monthly meetings and publish in scholarly journals).  Honorary Certificates of Artificial Achievement will be liberally bestowed on robots that make the effort to show up.

The robot's score for each event is simply a boolean -- did it succeed or not? The overall score is simply the sum of points for all events.  For the purpose of overall score, a robot will receive points for each event not entered equal to the worst score by any robot for that event.

Abuse - No robots will be tortured, humiliated, insulted or stigmatized in the TTC.  They will be closely watched and applauded however.

Liability - Each contestant is fully responsible for any damage to person or property caused directly or indirectly by his or her robot.  The Portland Area Robotics Society, the event organizers, judges and other entrants are not responsible for damage caused by any competing robots.

Whining - Robots are permitted to whine and complain, since after all, they are doing the work.  People are not.  Please keep the event fun and light-hearted for all, including the organizers and humans.

Judges - One or more judges will officiate the contest. Their prime responsibilities will be to determine that a robot has successfully completed the requirements of a specific challenge, to provide measurements of the robot's stopping position for scoring, and to close their ears to whining.  The decisions of the judges are final.


Pete Skeggs 12/2/2010, based on PARTS Outdoor Challenge Rules by Robert F. Scheer 5/20/2008