Robot Room robot logo Attention: This page exists for historical purposes.
The contents are out of date.

See Robot Room for the latest site.

Chicago Area Robotics Group CHIBOTS: Chicago Area
Robotics Group


ChiBots announces four autonomous robot events on Sunday, April 13, 2003, 1 PM CT, at the Schaumburg Public Library:
No advanced registration required. Just show up!

Open to the public. All welcome. Bring your family. Bring your kids. Bring Grandma.

No cost to watch, but membership is required to enter robots in the contest. Membership is open to everyone and costs $20 for one year, which includes the entire family. Membership can be purchased the day of the contest. There is no per-robot or per-event entry fee.

Up to four robots can be entered in each event, per participant. However, only one prize will be awarded per participant per event, regardless of the number of robots entered. So, if you enter four robots in a single event and win all of the top slots, your robots will still receive 1st through 4th place. But, you'll only select one prize from the table for that event.

You need not be present to enter your robot; you can designate someone on your behalf.

Robots made from kits or LEGOs are perfectly acceptable, as are parts or code from other people. (ChiBots is an equal opportunity robot club.) However, dangerous, messy, extremely loud, or combustion-based robots are not appropriate for this contest. Ask yourself, "Would my robot cause ChiBots to receive a lecture from a librarian?"

Prizes consist of a table of donated items. Donations welcome.

NO PHOTOGRAPHY DURING THE EVENTS! The flash or infrared focus can interfere with robot sensors.


Detailed information and rules from the prior ChiBots line-following contest are located at:
2002 Line-Following Contest
A VHS video of the Fall 2002 basic and advanced line-following contest is available from ChiBots. If you want to purchase a copy, post a request on the mailing list.

Fall 2002 Basic Line-Following Course

The Fall 2002 basic line-following track was laid out as pictured above. But don't rely on this layout, as the tiles for the course may be rearranged for each contest.

The official score for a robot occurs when it crosses the finish line after three laps. Nudging/pushing or restoring a robot to the location it left the track incurs a five second penalty for each occurrence, including the time taken to place the robot. A robot that takes a shortcut, will be picked up and placed on the correct path, also incurring the time penalty.

If the robot does not complete the course on the first attempt, it will be allowed another attempt. If unsuccessful again, it will be given a final (third) attempt.


For general information about ChiBots's Line-Following contests, see above.

Fall 2002 Advanced Line-Following Course

The Fall 2002 advanced line-following track was laid out as pictured above. Don't rely on this exact layout, as the course may be rearranged for each contest.

Advanced line-following course zigzag

The advanced course may contain turns greater than 90 degrees; perhaps implemented as a zigzag. In prior contests, it messed up a few robots. One robot stopped, one spun in circles, and one rotated through acceptably (but all the extra rotations slowed down the robot). However, most robots handled the zigzag well. Some even smoothed out the oscillations with an optimized path.

Advanced line-following course line gaps

The advanced course may contain wide lines, straight gaps, and offset gaps. In prior contests, all three hurdles stopped a robot or two. However, most robots drive forward when they lose the line or sense equal floor contrast, and thus are not affected.

Advanced line-following course cross

The advanced course may contain crossed lines. In prior contests, several robots were heavily confused by the cross. One stopped and the others got turned around to head in the opposite direction.

Advanced line-following course ramp

The advanced course may contain one or more ramps. In prior contests, this stalled more robots than any other course feature. All but two or three robots were stopped entirely, required a penalty-inducing push. It wasn't just the extra torque required from the slope that caused the stall, but also the fact that most robot bodies aren't flexible. The robots would either jam their fronts or have their drive wheels lifted off.


A complete reference guide to Mini-Sumo is located at:
Sumo Rules
The ChiBots local rules are located at:

Pound of Wood in your face!
Think You're So Smart??

Well then, bring it on!
Whatcha got? Nothin'.
Do I make you afraid?
I'm just a harmless piece of wood.
Can't you even make a robot to knock me off?
Big talker!
I'm in your face.
I'm taunting you!
This picture is 120 KB.
Got a slow modem?
Well, boo hoo.
Deal with it, crybaby!
Think you're such a big soldering genius?
Think your code is such a pride and joy?
Right, sure. I doubt it.
I don't see you challenging me, big man!


The day begins with your mini-Sumo robot being weighed in. If the scale reads greater than 500 grams, tough luck! You'll need to drop some weight or you'll end up walking home. I happen to weigh in at a svelte 442 grams, so you can't complain about me.

With the exception of the seeding rounds, all ties are given to the robot with the lowest mass at this initial weigh in. Then again, maximum mass is advantageous in mini-Sumo, so you'll need to balance these factors. Also note that robots that somehow magically gain mass after the initial weigh in result in a forfeit. Oh? You don't like that? Well I don't care! No, you can't bring your own scale.
Pound of Wood is actually a dozen grams under a pound.

Pound of Wood barely squeezing in. DIMENSION CHECK

Your mini-Sumo robot must be placed in its starting orientation and position inside of this polycarbonate rectangular tube. It's kind of like robot jail. You can feel the walls closing in!

Robots must not exceed 10 cm width by 10 cm depth, but can be any height. Robots that don't fit in the tube (except for height) don't qualify. Maybe bring a saw with you?

I push the tolerance of this box. I had to have my ass sanded off to fit.


At this point your robot is examined for dangerous weapons, sharp edges, head lice, or anything else that might mess up my pretty face.

Despite my apparent gruffness, Robot Sumo is a sport of gentleman and ladies. If you or your robot does something uncouth, you’re going to find yourself losing rounds or getting tossed out. Don't make me call for Vinny and da boys!

What's that? You say you want to see exploding robots like on TV? Destruction? We don't run that kind of establishment here, ya little weasel!


Now that you've shown that you have a qualifying robot, you'll sign up with your name and the robot's name. Two or more photographs will be taken of all contestants and their robots. This stuff will be posted online, so try to put on some clean clothes that day.

An entry fee is then charged. In the past, it has been $5 per robot for non-ChiBots members and free to ChiBots members. Although the club needs to verify this amount, it's likely to be something similar.


At this point you'll receive the greatest honor of your life, the right to face off against me, Pound of Wood. We'll go head to head for three rounds of up to three minutes each. You've got to beat me to win a round; I'm awarded all ties.

The results of this match are used to determining seeding in the mini-Sumo contest. Even if your robot is unable to beat me, you can still participate in the contest itself.
Pound of Wood ready to put your robot down!

No, I won't be available to practice with. Ya gotta pay to play!


In the unlikely event that your robot manages to beat me in two or more rounds, you'll receive a handsome certificate of accomplishment, suitable for framing. This is true regardless of how your robot ends up fairing in the mini-Sumo competition.

But, don't get your hopes up. Getting in the ring proves nothin'. You gotta win against me if you want my certificate.

However, there are other certificates to obtain in the contest:
  • Grand Champion
  • Winner's Circle (2nd Place)
  • Highest Ranked Rookie (a contestant who has never entered a Robot Sumo contest before is eligible)
  • Highest Ranked all-LEGO Robot
  • Highest Ranked Junior (a contestant who is 12 years old and younger is eligible)
  • Best Built (Grand Champion robot is not eligible)
  • Best Dressed (Grand Champion and Best Built robot is not eligible)
In the list above, only Grand Champion and Winner's Circle are guaranteed to be awarded, because it may be that the judges determine no robot or contestant qualifies for the other certificates. It is also possible to receive multiple different certificates.

If they receive nothing else, all robots receive at least a certificate for entering.


Are you going to do this or what? Or do you just talk big to all your friends? "Oh yeah. I'm going to build the bestest robot and win everything." Ha! Sure!

See you there...

Pound of Wood


ChiBots is using the rules posted at:
There is currently a typo on that page that states 1.25 square inches is 276 square millimeters. The correct value is 806.5 square millimeters. A 24 mm x 33 mm at 2.7 V solarcell from Solarbotics qualifies.