At seven PM, Dave opened the envelope with the maze from Gerardo Molina and like a typical Gerardo design, it was a challenging maze. Gerardo’s mazes have long straightways and they always get my mice.
The first mouse up was Tzong Yong’s mouse and it ran very well. It is great to start off the contest with a good mouse because it sucks the audience in. Eric’s mouse ran very well but there was a spot on the maze which was directly under an overhead lamp and the mouse crashed there every time.
There was a Lego mouse built by a high school team and it was impressive to watch because this was the first time it had been in a maze and it actually went down the straights quite well. It had an error recovery routine which unfortunately had to be invoked often.
Peter ran Decimus 1 and it ran well but at one point got confused and didn’t recover.
Next up Dave ran MITee 12. It ran well but Dave had been having problems with the back sensor. M12 is a symmetrical mouse, so uturns are a matter of flipping some bits and running the mouse “backwards”. However, to get around the sensor problem, he had added an inplace 180 deg. turn and M12 was able to get some good runs in.
When it was our turn, I put ZV into the maze and it started off well but after 13 cells or so, it made a uturn and turned on the “maze has no solution” LED and came back to the start cell. I’ve been racking my brains trying to come up with what could have caused the problem but no ideas so far. So, I reset the mouse and this time around, it ran quite well. It made it to the center and was able to do a few speed runs.
Peter ran Decimus 2 and it got to the middle. I can’t remember the overall result.
Eric’s student Cheng-Yu ran Racoon and it ran well. It is a very capable mouse and I look forward to its performance improving even further.
Tzong Yong ran another two mice and both his mice performed incredibly well. Then it was Kato-san’s turn and Tetra ran incredibly very well too.
In the end, the best score prize went to Tzong Yong and the fastest run to Kato-san. Tetra’s run was 10.2xx seconds whereas Excel 8a’s run was 10.4xx seconds. Later, Tzong Yong mentioned that Tetra hadn’t fully explored the maze so it didn’t find the optimal path through the maze. So, after the contest, Kato-san re-ran Tetra and this time it took the same path as Excel and its time was 9.2xx seconds!
With the contest over, the contestants took apart the maze and helped Dave pack it up. All in all, it was a great contest – definitely one of the most enjoyable ones for me.