Nanomouse Rules

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NOTE: The material on this page has been derived from the original Nanomouse rules page,which was part of the now defunct LANL BEAM site. An archived copy of that page can be found > HERE <

IT SHOULD ALSO BE NOTED that inclusion of these rules as part of the BEAM Wiki does not mean that the event has been part of every BEAM Robotics Competitions nor does it mean that the event will be a part of any current or future BEAM Robotics Competitions

A list of General Rules for the BEAM Robot Game, also from the original LANL BEAM site, can be found > HERE <.

Remember that the listed rules date back to the original LANL BEAM site, and may have been changed considerably for current competitions.


[edit] Object:

[edit] Class A:

A smaller form of micromouse racing, the idea is to build a minimal, self-contained mini-mouse which solves a route through a simple, connected maze using only one or two silicon chips in the shortest possible time.

[edit] Class B:

Same as class A, except cheating is required.

[edit] Competitor Design Parameters (Both A and B Classes)

  1. A nanomouse shall not be larger, either in length or in width, than 10 centimeters. The dimensions of a nanomouse which changes its geometry during a run shall not be greater than 10cm x 10cm. There are no restrictions on the height of a nanomouse. The base of the mouse must travel on the floor, not on the tops or sides of the walls.
  2. Robot Competitors must not deliberately damage the maze platform, judges, or spectators in any way. The judges will disqualify any competitor they feel represents a danger. Self deprecating robots are, however, permissible.
  3. A nanomouse must not jump, fly, climb, tunnel, or physically move walls to solve the maze.
  4. A nanomouse shall be self-contained in both power source and control system. Nanomouse competitors are not allowed to drop, throw, separate, or leave behind any part of their chassis. Competitors must finish with everything they started with.
  5. Competing devices cannot have parts removed or added to them between runs with the exception of replacing broken components necessary to the operation of the vehicle, at a 10 second penalty per time. Battery replacement between runs also constitutes a 10 second penalty.
  6. The device must use only mechanical power, or mechanical power converted from a source of electrical energy. Chemical, compressed gas, nuclear, or combustion power methods are not allowed.

[edit] The Maze Platform

(From the 2nd BEAM Games, 1993,An example of a valid Nanomouse maze).
(From the 2nd BEAM Games, 1993,
An example of a valid Nanomouse maze).

The maze is composed of multiples of an 6.2cm x 6.2cm unit square. The maze comprises 12 x 12 unit squares. The walls of the maze are 2cm high and 1.7 mm thick (with a plus-or-minus 10% tolerance). An outside wall encloses the entire maze. The interior paths of the maze may consist of any combination of "L", "T", "J", "+", and straight ("I") sections. There may be unit squares NOT bounded by walls, allowing crossing paths with the "+" combination, as well as square sections of the maze which are not accessible by any competing robot.

The sides and tops of the maze walls are flat canary-yellow, and the floor is matte black. The maze is made out of one piece of laminated particle board. The tops of the moveable plastic walls are rounded considerably, and fit into 1cm deep floor slots which run throughout the entire maze. No lattice posts (as in full-sized micromouse mazes) are used or necessary.

The start of the maze is located at one of the four corners. The start square is bounded on three sides by walls, with the exit facing clockwise. At the center of the maze, there is a central square which is composed of four empty unit squares (this is the only area on the maze where there is an unused lattice cross). This central square (coordinates [6, 7; 6, 7]) is the destination. At the center of this square is an optional red dowel, 10cm high and 1.5mm diameter, which may be removed if requested. The destination square may have more than one entrance.

Multiple paths to the destination square are allowed and are to be expected. The cracks in the floors between squares are considered a natural hazard of the platform and shall not be covered or filled for any competitor.

[edit] Race Procedure

Nanomouse racing is exactly as for micromouse racing, with the exception that, until more capable competitors appear, the maze shall connected, so that simple right-hand-wall-following strategies will allow competitors to eventually solve the maze.

Each contesting nanomouse is subject to a time limit of 15 minutes. Within this time limit, the mouse may try to make up to 10 runs. Scoring is designed to reward efficiency, self-reliance, and mouse intelligence. To the time of each mouse run is added one-thirtieth of the total run time elapsed. Thus a sixty second run achieved after five minutes on stage will score seventy seconds. If the mouse remains untouched by human hands, a ten-second bonus will be removed from each run. Thus, a mouse achieving a sixty second run after five minutes will score 60 + 2 x 5 - 10 = 60 seconds. Once touched by human hands, however, the subsequent runs are timed without bonus.

Each run shall be made from the start. The operator may abort a run at any time. If an operator touches the mouse during a run, it is deemed aborted. When an operator aborts a run, the mouse must be removed from the maze immediately. (If a mouse has already crossed the finish line, it may be removed at any time without affecting the time of that run.)

After the maze is disclosed, the operator shall not feed information on the maze into the mouse. Each mouse must begin the 15 minute time trial "cold".

The timer will start when the mouse crosses the start line and finish when the mouse completely enters the finish square. The start line is at the boundary between the starting unit square and the next unit square clockwise. The finish line is at the threshold entrance to the destination square.

Every time the mouse leaves the start square, a new run begins (up to 10 runs). If the mouse has not entered the destination square, the previous run is aborted, as if the mouse were touched. For example, if a mouse re-enters the start square (before entering the destination square) on its first run, that run is aborted, and it will be on run #2 after exiting the start square again. (An obvious malfunction resulting in the mouse moving into and out of the start square does not count against the maximum 10 runs.)

The mouse may, after reaching the destination square, continue to navigate the maze, though if a mouse continues to navigate the maze after reaching the destination square, the time taken will not count toward any run. It will however, count toward the total allowed time of 15 minutes. When the mouse next leaves the start square, a new run will start. (if a mouse can make several complete runs without being touched by the operator, it must make its own way back to the beginning to do so.) The 15 minute timer will stop only when the mouse is touched and continue when the mouse starts its next run.

The judge reserves the right to ask the operator for an explanation of the nanomouse. The judge also reserves the right to stop a run, declare disqualification, or give instructions as appropriate (i.e. if the structure of the maze is jeopardized by continuing operation of the mouse).

The mouse entry may be the effort of an individual or a team. In the case of a team, it should be possible to demonstrate that each individual made a significant contribution. A single design team may enter more than one mouse, and each mouse is eligible for a prize. Mass-produced mice of nearly identical design will not be allowed.

As mentioned, a contestant may not feed information on the maze to the nanomouse in any way. The following do NOT violate this rule: Changing batteries between runs; Setting switches to alter algorithms (i.e. Stop/Search/Run); Adjusting sensors; Changing Speeds; Repairing. The following DO violate this rule: Changing ROM; Loading new programs: Changing sensors. The judges shall arbitrate. However, a contestant may not tamper with the mouse in a manner which alters its weight. (i.e. removal of a bulky sensor array to get better speeds after mapping the maze is not allowed.)

In each contest, a maximum of one (1) break will be provided for each contesting mouse. The 15 minute time clock will stop. When the mouse is re-entered, the time will continue from the stopping point. The mouse must again begin at the start for a new run (up to 10, including the previous runs.) The mice shall re-enter the competition only after all other competitors have attempted the maze. They will be re-entered in the order in which the breaks were taken.

If no successful run has been made, the judges will make a qualitative assessment of the mouse's performance, based on distance achieved, intelligence of behavior (verses random behavior), and quality of control.

[edit] Nanomouse: Class B Division

The rules are exactly the same as for the normal nanomouse competition, however, during their runs, competitors are now allowed to cheat in any way that does not harm the maze, participants, audience, or local time-space continuum. This division is included to hopefully spark a variety of devices with interesting solutions. Special awards will, of course, be presented, with a point bonus for strictly solar powered designs.

[edit] Also See:

Individual BEAM Game Events Past BEAM Robot Games

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