UK Micromouse at Techfest 2019

By | June 3, 2019

The UK Micromouse contest took place on Jun 1st at the Techfest 2019 event. I am happy to report that, from a personal perspective, it was almost entirely without drama.

[update: full results are here: https://ukmars.org/index.php/TechFest_2019 ]

There was a worrisome moment when the program would not build on the new laptop but that was just unfamiliarity with the process having done it differently for a good few years.

The maze had quite a long path – I took the magenta route which was a little over 14m long.

UK Micromouse 2019 – final maze.

And my final time was 6.37 seconds – an average of about 2.2m/s. It felt like it should have been quicker but there were no long straights. The top speed reached was only 3.9 m/s. 

The first speed run took about 8.2 seconds – I don’t have the detailed timing data yet. The last run was performed at the maximum available speed setting and there were no visible errors. The penultimate run clipped a post. I heard it but saw no sign of disturbance.

There were 33 turns and 17 straights in the path. The search took a while and the battery voltage was down to 7.5 Volts at the start of the first fast run and just 7.14 Volts at the start of the last fast run. That will have limited the top speed a little.

We did not have a huge entry list this year but here are the fastest times:

UK Micromouse 2019 final times.

Schools Micromouse at Techfest 2019

By | June 2, 2019

On Saturday 1st June the 2019 National Schools and Colleges Micromouse Competition was held by the UKMARS organisation and hosted by Birmingham City University as part of the annual City Centre Campus TechFest event.

As usual three events were run: The Drag Race – a 6 metre sprint following a white line; the Line Follower – a circuit of straights and curves of varying radii, again following a white line and the Wall Follower – finding a route from the start cell to a target cell in a maze by following the left-hand wall.

A total of 20 mice were entered.  Many of them were capable of, with a change of sensors and wheels, competing in all three events. There were kit mice and scratch built mice on show.  The lightest weighed 97 grams and the heaviest 330 grams.

New to the competition this year were Kesgrave High School, Ipswich who had been working on their designs since October 2018.  They are an after-school club formed by retired teachers Simon Clapson and John Fisher, both stalwarts of Micromouse who previously enjoyed great success in this competition with their former school.  Schools are desperately keen to get STEM ambassadors to run robotics clubs but are generally very inflexible regarding using school computers to run suitable programming software. John and Simon were very limited in the choice of microprocessor for their students’ robots and had to abandon their tried and tested Picaxe programs, eventually settling for Crumble, an icon based software system similar to Scratch.

Several clubs and schools from Buckinghamshire were again represented and there was one entry from a primary school pupil, Maxwell Bayliss from Pershore Junior.  Unusually there were four entrants who were veterans of the 2018 competition making a return appearance: Kaviyashree Damodaran, Nathesa Sivakumaran, Lahari Ballina and Bethan Edwards.

Bethan Edwards was the stand-out performer on the day.  Her mouse “Jerry” came first in the Line Follower (beating her brother Owain into second place by 0.05 seconds), second in the Wall Follower and third in the Drag Race.

Medals were on offer for any competitor who completed a successful timed run in each of the three events.  There were also trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed mice in each event.  Grateful thanks are due to Duncan Louttit of Swallow Systems who donated all the Schools awards and was Chief Judge on the day.  Thanks are also due to Chris Evans and the BCU team and Ian Butterworth, Chairman of UKMARS for providing us with excellent facilities.  Last, but by no means least, we would like to thank the parents and teachers who supported the competitors and saw their charges fully focused and highly competitive perhaps for the first time.

Summary of Results

Lightest Mouse:  97.12g “Jerry”, Bethan Edwards, Wycombe Warriors.

Best Recorded Mouse: “Thanos”, Lekha Ballina, Wycombe High School.

Judges Award: “Wally”, Kyle Baker, Kesgrave High School, Ipswich.

Kyle wrote the program for his mouse in just three after school sessions.  His entry completed the wall follower event successfully – an outstanding achievement.

DRAG RACE

1st Place: “Sivan”, Nathesa Sivakumaran, Beaconsfield High. (2.304s)

2nd Place: “Mozzarella”, Kaviyashree Damodaran, Beaconsfield High. (2.419s)

3rd Place: “Jerry”, Bethan Edwards, Wycombe Warriors. (2.462s)

LINE FOLLOWER

1st Place: “Jerry”, Bethan Edwards, Wycombe Warriors. (10.411s)

2nd Place: “Idea”, Owain Edwards, Wycombe Warriors. (10.461s)

3rd Place: “Sivan”, Nathesa Sivakumaran, Beaconsfield High. (10.798s)

WALL FOLLOWER

1st Place: “Human Being”, Abigail Robinson, Wycombe High School. (34.06s)

2nd Place: “Jerry”, Bethan Edwards, Wycombe Warriors. (34.50s)

3rd Place: “Maze Finder”, Maanya Shankar, Wycombe High School. (34.85s)

UK contest rules change

By | April 21, 2019

At the 2019 Minos conference in April, the UK Micromouse and Robotics Society (UKMARS) agreed revisions to the rules governing its contests. Many of these changes were minor, to reflect the common practice that has been observed for several years. Some were more significant and are intended to bring the event up to date.

The most significant changes are for the UK Micromouse contest. This affects both the full size (classic) contest and the half-size contest. For these, UKMARS have decided to adopt a translation of the current Japanese rules for these events. There are minor changes to some details but, for practical purposes, the scoring for both contests is the same. There will no longer be a search penalty and the scoring is based only on the fastest run of each robot.

You can see all the current rule sets here:

https://ukmars.org/index.php/UK_Micromouse_Classic_Rules
https://ukmars.org/index.php/UK_Micromouse_Half_Size_Rules
https://ukmars.org/index.php/UK_Line_Follower_Rules
https://ukmars.org/index.php/UK_Drag_Race_Rules
https://ukmars.org/index.php/UK_Time_Trials_Rules
https://ukmars.org/index.php/UK_Wall_Follower_Rules


Otley Big Day Out – 2019

By | March 28, 2019

All MicroMouse builders & fans are welcome to come and visit Easton & Otley College (Otley Suffolk) where we will have our test 11×11 maze available to demonstrate MicroMouse to the visitors of the College’s “Big Day Out”. There is no competition as such, just an opportunity to test mice within a larger maze, and let members of the public see what MicroMousing is all about.

Date: 15th June 2019

Location: Easton & Otley College (Otley Campus, Suffolk). IP6 9EY.

Maze: 11×11 test maze (full size), example of half-size modular maze and walls

Contact: David Churchyard (david.churchyard@eastonotley.ac.uk)

Micromouse Symposium 2019

By | March 12, 2019

The 1st Micromouse Symposium 27 April 2019, Gondomar, Portugal Micromouse Symposium 2019, the 1st International Symposium on Micromouse, will be held in Gondomar, Portugal, 27th April 2019. Industry experts, researchers and academics are expected to gather together to share ideas and experiences surrounding frontier technologies, breakthroughs, innovative solutions, research results, as well as initiatives related to the Micromouse Robotic Contest. Micromouse Symposium 2019 offers you a conference with wonderful experience in Gondomar – Porto.  

Submission of Papers
The working language of the conference is English. Prospective authors are requested to submit full papers (6 pages max) following the guidelines available on the conference website. Accepted papers will be included in Symposium open archive. Each accepted paper should be presented at the conference by one of the authors.  

Submission Schedule:
Submission of Full Papers: Feb. 15, 2019, Mar. 15, 2019 (extended)
Acceptance notifications: Mar. 15, 2019, Mar. 29, 2019 (extended)
Submission of Paper Final Version: Apr. 15, 2019
Early Bird Registration: Apr.15, 2019
Micromouse Symposium 2019: 27 April 2019

Minos 2019

By | January 22, 2019

The 19th conference takes place on 6th and 7th April 2019 at the Quality Hotel in Coventry, U.K.

Papers are requested on all aspects of Micromouse and small autonomous robot design and use. Maze solving, wall following, line following and drag racing are the main contexts in both full-size and half-size formats. There will be an opportunity to demonstrate robots in a 16 by 16 maze in both full- and half-sizes as well as a line following course.

Keynote speakers include Peter Harrison, UK solver champion, with his international contest roundup and Duncan Louttit, chairman of UKMARS on the effect of rule changes on mouse design.

We are looking for speakers on any subject related to small robot and robot contests.

If you have suggestions for content or papers to offer, please contact : minos@ukmars.org

Keep your eye on the UKMARS web site for additional information

Micromouse maze solving performance

By | October 28, 2018

For many people, the task of solving the maze is central to the micromouse robot problem. After a while they come to realise that it is secondary to actually making the robot move quickly and reliably through the maze. Even so, the maze has to be solved. My micromouse software expects to be able to test the maze for a complete solution every time it enters a cell while exploring. Not everyone does this but, if they do, how long does it take? I benchmarked my software to find out. Continue reading