11 Dec 2006 tbenedict   » (Master)

Robofest 2006 in Hilo, Hawai'i ROOOOOCKED!

There was a Lego line following event for students that went really really well. Most of them built two-sensor robots, a couple built using three or more sensors (these tended to do better.) The line course was styled after a road through a rain forest here on the Big Island of Hawai'i, and included obstacles like "boulders" (pieces of colored paper placed over the line). Some robots coped better than others. Crowd participation was intense!

A number of schools also brought their ROVs from the BIRR/MATE competition, and showed them off in 30" deep dive tanks. I brought my little mini-ROV that I built, and got permission to throw it in one of their tanks. The kids passed the controls around from kid to kid for over an hour, with everyone taking a turn at driving the little one around the tank while the bigger ROVs chased it around, putting it up on their camera screens. The fun only stopped once the batteries died.

A raffle was held at 1pm during which a number of roobt things were given away, including a Mindstorms NXT kit, which went to one of the kids in the audience.

Finally, an open mini-sumo competition was held with nine robots. Third prize went to one of our club members, a nine-year-old with a modified Parallax robot. Second went to my own Shallow Blue, and first place went to my wife's Black Dolphin, a Mark III.

The event was organized by Gary Fujihara, who put in an incredible amount of time and energy to pull it off. It was MC'ed by J.E. Orozco from KBIG's Morning Mojo, who did a fantastic job of getting the audience hyped up and cheering. I put the bulk of the credit for the event's success in their hands.

I had a blast, I met a lot of people on the island who are hard-core into Robotics, and I can't wait for next year's event!

Robofest's URL:

Robofest Website

Tom

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