BEAM Challenges

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The items listed on this page are the assorted challenges that have been set before the BEAM Community by various BEAMers over the years. These challenges have usually been issued as a way of encouraging the advancement of BEAM Robotics.


[edit] Innovative Form of Motion

Challenge announced by Chiu-Yuan Fang, in a post to the alt-beam email list on April 25, 1999.

The challenge was in the form of a contest in which the winners would be the robot that demonstrated (as the name says) the most innovative form of motion. Chui created a webpage explaining the contest rules, and showing the prizes that would be awarded to the winners. An archived copy of the page can be viewed > HERE <

Entries were judged based on...

  • Aesthetics: Appealing to the eye. Interesting mechanical design. Neat assembly.
  • Innovative movement: Characterized by, tending to, or introduction of a new idea, method, or device. Anything new and fresh, uncommon yet practical.
  • Coolness: Use of a different controller or modification an existing one. Basically anything that would make the judges say ..."Wow, that's cool!"

Chui announced the winners of this challenge on November 13, 1999 in a post to the alt-beam email list

Those winners were:

[edit] Easter Egg Hunt

On April 28, 1999 Steven Bolt posted a message to the alt-beam email list in which he proposed a robot Easter Egg Hunt contest that would be challenging enough to increase interest in BEAM robotics.

In this event, five aluminum foil balls with a diameter between 1 and 1.5cm would be positioned at random in what Steven called a "Playground". Also part of the playground would be some obstacles and a navigational aid (I.E. beacon)

A participating robot would have to fit inside a 9cm x 9cm square. The robot would have to find all of these "Easter Eggs" within a certain time period, and gather them within a 20x20cm area.

More information can be found > HERE <

[edit] Try to build a robot that tries to avoid getting stepped on

Challenge Issued by Bruce Robinson on April 15, 2000 as part of alt-beam Message #13446

Here is a challenge for BEAMers that are getting bored with solar engines and microcores. Try building a robot that tries to avoid getting stepped on. Zoz's diagram is an excellent model ... do it in BEAM/digital as he suggests, or try it with 99% BEAM as I advocate.

The avoidance part is easy: Move out of the way, hide, or attract attention (flash a light, make a noise, wave a flag, dance a jig). These have all been done by various people.

The sensors are the tricky bit. You probably need to use several sensors to be "sure" that a human/animal/predator is approaching. Sound, proximity, vibration, heat detection ... these all come to mind.

To add to the challenge, avoidance activities should be appropriate to the conditions. Dancing a jig in the dark isn't likely to attract attention :)

You can also extend the idea to anti-predator activities. Squirm or make a loud noise when picked up (OK, no scalpels or lethal voltages please :)

I'd love to hear about your successes (and failures as well), and I'll be happy to help if you decide to go the all-BEAM route.

[edit] Super-Miniaturize the Bicore

Challenge Issued by John A. deVries II on May 1, 2000 as part of the BEAM Email List Message #439

How about a challenge based on wanting to super-miniaturize the bicore:


Without using an integrated circuit (for example, a '240) make a bicore that fits in the same volume as a "standard" pager motor using any value of capacitors you wish.


The exception might be that you wouldn't have to fit the bias/bridge "resistor" in there because a lot of [[[bicore]]s use something more complicated than just a resistor -- for example, a couple of IR sensors for a head. If you can do it in a smaller total volume that would be even better.

Additional Credit: You ought to be able to replace your "standard" bicore (free-formed or however you do it) with your solution to this challenge, running the same load with more-or-less the same operational characteristics.

Alternative Building Challenge: If you are very gifted with your soldering iron (or you have your teensy populated PC boards made to order) do it with a SMT '240. You still would have to fit it in the same volume or less.

[edit] Sheep Bots & Dog Bots

Challenge Issued by Droidmakr on May 10, 2000 in the BEAM Email List Message #924

How about this, the sheep bots are designed to be weakly attracted to each other by some type of signal (sound, IR, whatever) but have a stronger attraction to some other stimulus (bright light?), or a tendency to just randomly dart away from the heard.

The dog bots tend to travel in a large circle. Maybe they would be designed to keep site of each other by some method similar to the sheep bots (but with a different signal) and try to keep a relative distance from each other. If they detect a sheep bot to near themselves, or outside the path they are walking, they would attempt to get in front of the sheep bot and produce a load (relatively) sound. They bark if you will. Once the sheep bot has returned to the heard, the dog bot would return to it's walking in circles.

The sheep bots would be designed to respond to the (barking) sound by ignoring the stronger stimulus, and return to (be more attracted to) the other sheep bots.

The dog bots could also be designed to adjust the circle they travel in to move the heard closer to the brightest light source.

This might be accomplished by allowing the dog bots to move more slowly if the brightest light is behind them and more quickly if it is in front of them. all the while they would still hold to a basically circular path.

There you have your complementary group behavior (CGB) with a purpose. Hearding the sheep into the brightest light. May not be easy to do but I think it would be fun to work out the challenges involved.

[edit] B is for Bicycle

Challenge Issued by Wilf Rigter on February 18, 2001 in the BEAM Email List Message #10927

Here is an interesting design challenge which could score you some major points in the world of robotics:

Design an autonomous bicycle (no cheating-just 2 narrow wheels) that can do a figure eight around two posts spaced 2 meters apart.

Bonus points for BEAM tech, solar power and for adding a rider that actively controls the pedals, turning and balancing.

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