Last weekend we held our first Fifth Sunday Competition and it was a success. I say a qualified success because we have to keep in mind it was our first and it was fairly short notice.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with our Fifth Sunday Competitions, I can’t blame you. It was something I dropped on the membership with less than six weeks notice, which is not a lot of time for folks to get their robots into competition shape. But, nevertheless, I am pleased with the turnout.

In actuality, we had a single competitor. Several of our members tried to have their Raspberry Pi ‘bots, from the workshops, ready for the competition, but didn’t quite make it. Apparently, Michelle experienced failure in three of her four motors. Chip and George just weren’t ready with such short notice, especially because we had covered PID control the weekend prior. So, the fault there is mine. But, next time! Right folks?

Thank you, Mitch, for bringing out your ‘bot for the edge finding contest. After successfully completing the course, Mitch won the coveted kudos from the attendees. Mitch’s solution was pretty impressive. He had taken the edge finding to heart and built a robot with sensors on an arm, offset from the main body. It would approach the edge of the table then, when detected, align itself with the edge and then follow it around the entire table. Very well done.

Mitch also attempted the line following contest. After making some adjustments to the sensors, he placed his ‘bot on the line and let it go. The bot roared forward, promptly lost the line, and headed straight to the edge of the table… which it was no longer configured to detect. Fortunately, Mitch anticipated this and was there to catch it. So, having not actually completing the course, we were unable to award him with the line following win. We don’t do auto-wins… you have to complete the course.

In addition to Mitch’s bot, Michael brought his chess playing Prusa conversion. He has taken a Prusa i3 3D printer, converted the printe head to a grasper, added a camera, and hooked it up to a computer with a chess program. Though it operated a little slowly, it was an impressive conversion. Very well done.

These Fifth Sunday Competitions will occur on every 5th Sunday of the month, naturally. This means they will happen, roughly, four time per year. The next one will be happening on October 29th. This is 12 weeks away, so plenty of time to prep or build a ‘bot to participate. Since we had low participation at this last one, we will be repeating the contests at the next. For more information check out our competition page.