Please review the following information carefully from start to finish. In addition to reading it yourself, if possible you should arrange to sit down with your team mates to go through it together. We are aware that many teams are putting in an awful lot of hard work in the lead up to the competition, so we’re anxious that teams shouldn’t get any nasty surprises on the big day!
Tournament time and location
The tournament will take place at 2pm on Wednesday 22nd April 2015 in room KEB-034 in the basement of the main building in Kevin St. Two competition arenas (sumo tables) will operate in parallel in the same room.
The exact duration of the tournament remains to be seen, but we aim to complete everything by 5pm. To ensure that the tournament proceeds efficiently, teams must comply with the instructions of the referee(s) without dispute at all times. From 2pm onwards, teams should be present and ready to compete at a moment’s notice when summoned to an arena. If a team is not ready when they are due to compete in a bout, their opponent will be granted a walkover in that bout.
DIT tournament rules
The RoboSumo tournament rules are those of the Robot Challenge “Mini” class, mostly as described in the Robot Challenge rules PDF document. However, those rules make provision for tournament organisers to introduce local rule changes as appropriate.
The following rule variations are followed in the DIT RoboSumo tournament:
- No infrared starting devices are used. Instead, teams position and start their robots manually at the beginning of each bout, as instructed by the referee. Following manual starting, each robot must remain still for at least 2 seconds. (In most cases, this will simply require the inclusion of a 2-second delay in the robot’s microcontroller program.)
- The duration of each bout is limited to 60 seconds. At the discretion of the referee(s), the bout duration may be reduced further to speed the progress of the tournament.
- If both robots remain in the arena at the conclusion of a bout, the referee will decide the winner based on each robot’s distance from the centre of the table (the closer the better), robot activity/behaviour during the bout, attitude/behaviour of each team during the bout, and/or other criteria at his/her own discretion. The referee may explain the criteria upon which the winner of a bout was chosen, but is not required to do so.
- When a bout fails to produce a clear winner, the referee may, at his/her own discretion, order the bout to be replayed.
- During most phases of the competition, matches will consist of a single bout. However, in the latter (knockout) stages of the competition the number of bouts in each match may be increased (e.g. best of 3 or best of 5).
- The dimensions of each arena will be similar to those described in the Robot Challenge rules (77cm diameter with a 2.5cm white border), but may deviate slightly from them. However, the white border will not be less than 2.5cm in width.
- A robot which displays no responsiveness to its opponent or its surroundings for a significant period of time may, at the referee’s discretion, be disqualified from a bout. In particular, please note that robots which simply spin on the spot will be viewed very unfavourably by the referees unless they exhibit other behaviour which provides evidence that the spinning forms part of a meaningful control strategy.
- Each team’s robot spending limit is €70. This figure must include the cost of all components included in the final robot, as it is presented for the tournament validation process. It does not include the cost of components or materials purchased but not used in the final robot. It does not include any cost incurred for postage and packing. Most recycled materials which are obtained free of charge do not need to be accounted for in the robot budget, but specialised components which would not be available to other teams through normal scavenging (e.g. remote control servos) may need to be represented by an indicative cost. The referees will not systematically verify the cost of every robot, but where a specific dispute arises or it is suspected that a robot may be in breach of this rule, a team may be asked to provide evidence of their total spending (e.g. by providing receipts or showing where each component used can be purchased for the claimed price). Where a team is suspected to be in breach of this rule and cannot prove otherwise, the referees may apply a penalty of some kind or even disqualify a robot from the tournament.
Important note: Every effort has been made to compose the rules of each bout and the structure of the tournament as a whole in a way that is fair and consistent, but since it is impossible to anticipate every eventuality, the referee(s) must have ultimate discretion to overrule any regulation or introduce a rule change at any time.
The tournament is divided into two main phases – a sorting phase and a knockout phase. Each team must also complete a validation process prior to competing in their first match.
The validation process ensures that each robot complies with the restrictions on size and mass imposed by the Mini class rules. Teams who do not successfully complete the validation process are not eligible to compete in the RoboSumo tournament. Teams who are unable to field a compliant robot may still be asked to compete in one or more exhibition bouts for assessment purposes, but they cannot progress in the tournament.
- The mass of the robot, including batteries and all parts which will be attached to the robot during a bout, must not exceed 500 grams.
- The footprint of the robot must not exceed 10cm by 10cm. Specifically, the entire robot and all parts attached to it, must fit within a cuboid (with vertical sides) of 10cm width and 10cm depth. Height is not specifically restricted. Note that robots are permitted to expand beyond their 10cm by 10cm footprint after the start of a bout, as described in the Robot Challenge rules.
Following validation, if a team makes any change to their robot which increases its size or mass, they must repeat the validation process prior to competing in a match.
Based on the initial ranking (determined by the Race to the Wall competition) teams will be dividied into two groups.
- Group A will contain those teams with an odd numbered ranking. Group A will compete in Arena A during the sorting phase.
- Group B will contain those teams with an even numbered ranking. Group B will compete in Arena B during the sorting phase.
The ranking within each group will be consistent with the order of the initial overall ranking. The objective of the sorting phase is to select the top 8 teams from each group. A bubble sort pattern will be followed for the majority of the sorting phase. However, the referee of each arena may deviate from this pattern at his/her own discretion to resolve any ranking issues or anomalies.
In each group, the sorting phase will conclude when the referee is satisfied that he/she has identified which 8 teams should progress to the knockout phase of the tournament.
The 8 top-ranked teams from each group (A1, A2, A3…A8 and B1, B2, B3…B8) will proceed to the knockout phase of the tournament. When a team loses a match in this phase, they are eliminated from the tournament. The referees will decide the number of bouts per match in each stage of the knockout phase.
The matches in this phase of the tournament are as follows:
- 8 Last-16 Matches: A1 v B8, A2 v B7, A3 v B6, A4 v B5, A5 v B4, A6 v B3, A7 v B2, A8 v B1
- 4 Quarter Finals: A1/B8 v A5/B4, A2/B7 v A6/B3, A3/B6 v A7/B2, A4/B5 v A8/B1
- 2 Semi Finals: A1/B8/A5/B4 v A3/B6/A7/B2, A2/B7/A6/B3 v A4/B5/A8/B1
- 1 Final: A1/B8/A5/B4/A3/B6/A7/B2 v A2/B7/A6/B3/A4/B5/A8/B1
Laboratory and workshop access on Wednesday
- Laboratory access will be provided prior to the normal scheduled RoboSumo class time on Wednesday. In particular, rooms KEG-003 and KEG-036 will be made available from not later than 12:00 noon until 2pm for teams to work on their robots. One or more RoboSumo tutors may also be available during these hours, but bear in mind that they are likely to be in high demand, so if you know in advance that you have major difficulties getting your robot working it may be wise to contact your group’s tutor well in advance.
- If you wish to access a laboratory outside of the above hours, I suggest that you contact your group’s tutor directly to enquire about other options.
- There will be no RoboSumo lecture from 2-3pm on Wednesday. Instead, teams will proceed directly to their group’s normal lab at 2pm.
- It is hoped that the workshop in Church Lane will be available from 2-4pm on Wednesday, but bear in mind that the number of students who can access this facility at any one time is quite limited. It is therefore desirable to get as many mission critical functions of your robot working prior to Wednesday. Relying on workshop access on Wednesday to get basic robot functionality working (e.g. motors driving wheels, robot actually moving around) is not advisable.
- The normal lab facilities will remain open from 4-6pm, to facilitate teams who wish to carry out repairs or adjustments to their robots. However, bear in mind that if the referee summons you to a match and you are not present, your opponent will be granted a walkover victory.
Competitor check list
Inevitably, many teams will face technical issues on the day of the tournament, and it’s impossible to foresee every problem. However, there are certain issues which we see every year:
- PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ensure that your robot is compliant with the size and mass restrictions. Yes, 101mm is too much! And yes, 501 grams is too much! To avoid problems on the day, please leave some margin for error. We need to be absolutely strict about these limits and butchering your carefully crafted robot at the last minute to reduce its size or weight can be a heartbreaking experience.
- If you haven’t already tested your robot actually driving around, please do so BEFORE Wednesday. Bizarrely, every year we see teams who leave it until the very last minute to attach the wheels to their motors for the first time. Unfortunately, many of them discover at that point that their gearing is totally inappropriate and the robot cannot actually move.
- Focus on the basics. This means moving around and responding to the white border of the arena so that you don’t accidentally drive out of it. Even if you don’t get the rangefinder working properly, with luck you can win a few bouts just by staying mobile and staying on the table.
- Speaking of which… don’t be too reliant on the rangefinder. It’s far from a perfect sensor and can sometimes completely fail to detect an opponent, depending on its shape and material. Design your code so that the robot will still do something intelligent if the rangefinder fails to detect the opponent.
- Make sure your robot doesn’t simply spin around the spot for the entire bout. This behaviour will be viewed very unfavourably by the referee.
- Make sure you bring plenty of spare batteries.
Finally, remember to get plenty of photos and videos of your robot (and team) in the run up to and during the tournament. Of all the evidence you will provide on your blog, photos and videos are some of the easiest to create, and they can really help to tell the story of your project.