Design Challenge: Autonomous Combat Robots
Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 5:00 PM - Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 3:30 PM (EDT)
Somerville, United States
Artisan's Asylum is teaming up with the Cambridge Science Festival and MathWorks to bring autonomous combat robots to Boston! If you've ever wanted to design, build, and program your own autonomous robot, this event is for you.
Artisan's Asylum and MathWorks will be hosting a one-week build-a-thon for up to 8 competing teams. We will provide teams with a kit of parts (which includes a fully functional robot base from the get-go, and an example autonomous program), access to a decked -out set of workshops (including machine shops, welding shops, electronics fabrication areas, and more wrapped up into one facility), mentorship from world-class robot builders and programmers, and one week to build 5 to 10 pound autonomous combat robots. The robots will then compete in a public tournament at the end of the Cambridge Science Festival on Sunday, April 21st, at the Arts at the Armory in Somerville, MA.
The robots will be Arduino-based, but will be programmed on Artisan's Asylum computers in a powerful graphical programming environment called Simulink. Simulink enables people who have never programmed before to get a big step up in programming complex systems, and provides people with programming experience with powerful tools for creating advanced control systems quickly.
The competition will be held on a large, circular arena. The arena will be "smart" - MathWorks engineers have designed it to report the location and orientation of both robots to each competitor. The goal will be to autonomously disable your opponent through damage, or shove it out of the arena - whichever robot stops moving first, or gets shoved out of the arena first, loses.
Note: The arena will not be enclosed, and thus no spinning robot weapons are allowed. The minimum age of participants is 14. Anyone under 18 must have parent or guardian accompaniment.
Each member of the first and second place teams will receive the student edition of MATLAB and Simulink, two of the most powerful mathematical analysis and control system development software packages available today. In addition, the first place team will also receive an AeroQuad Arduino-controlled quadcopter, capable of being autonomously programmed by Simulink. All prizes are provided by MathWorks.
No experience is necessary, but teams will have a much easier time if at least one team member has experience in the following:
- Electronics assembly
- Mechanical design
- Metal manufacturing
- Wood manufacturing
Teams are strongly encouraged to register for safety training and/or testing on any equipment they might want to use before the event - safety testing (if a person has experience on a tool and wants to test out) and safety training (2-hour training sessions on individual tools) are required for anyone to use Artisan's Asylum equipment while in the workshops. Training and testing registration can be found on the Artisan's Asylum Facilities and Equipment page.
Each team will be receiving an identical kit of parts and materials with the price of their admission. Final details will not be revealed until the challenge begins, but the kits will include a fully-functional robot base, an Arduino microcontroller, and supporting hardware. Teams will keep their robots at the end of the competition, and will be able to program their robots at Artisan's Asylum in the future.
Gui Cavalcanti is the co-founder and President of Artisan's Asylum. Currently, he's leading the mechanical design of Stompy, a 4,000 pound, 18-foot-wide, 10-foot-tall, 6-legged hydraulic walking robot that seats two, developed by Project Hexapod (a company he cofounded with James Whong and Dan Cody). He worked as a robotics engineer and systems integrator at Boston Dynamics, working on cutting edge mechanical design and systems integration for highly dynamic legged robots like BigDog, AlphaDog, and PETMAN. He was the Systems Integrator for the LS3 project, coordinating the joint engineering and development of multiple subcontractors and engineers. Over the course of his career he has also developed the mechanical systems for a robotic tuna, several robotic snakes, an ornithopter, and other robotic animals.
Rob Masek is the facilities manager of Artisan's Asylum. He competed on Comedy Central's BattleBots three times, and has produced and run several robotics competitions (including several US FIRST Robotics competitions and a home-brewed robot combat event called Pound of Pain). He owns and operates Black Swan Robotics, LLC, and teaches several types of fabrication and digital design. Most recently, he worked at Paperless Parts and Rapid Sheetmetal, serving as an equipment technician and production engineer.
Paul Kassebaum is a physicist at MathWorks working to engage the public with engineering and science. He fell in love with engineering at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and then became obsessed with physics at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a Ph.D. specialized in quantum mechanics. His latest projects at MathWorks include this very competition and a digital interactive museum exhibition at the Ecotarium in Worcester. His work at Artisan's Asylum focuses on using MATLAB to create 3D prints that help one literally grasp abstract math and physics concepts.
Sergio Biagioni is an Application Support Engineer at MathWorks He earned his B.S. and M.Eng at Cornell University in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He specializes in aerospace controls, dynamic modeling, embedded programming and simulation. During his time in college he has had the pleasure of working on the 4-legged bipedal robot Ranger, which walked 40.5 miles on a single charge of battery. He created a neural-net learning helicopter which taught itself how to fly, and worked on the attitude control of Cornell's satellite, CUSat.
The design challenge begins on Sunday, April 14th, at 5:00pm, and robots must be completed by 3:30pm on Sunday, April 21st. The public competition will take place on Sunday, April 21st, from 4:30pm to 8:30pm at Arts at the Armory.
When & Where
Artisan's Asylum, Inc.
Artisan's Asylum is a community fabrication and makerspace near Union Square, Somerville MA, that is dedicated to making creativity a way of life. It does this by maintaining a community workshop, training its members in the use of all of its professional-grade equipment, and hosting events promoting the learning and practicing of craft and creative expression.