Photovore Rules

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NOTE: The material on this page has been derived from the original Photovore 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:

Build a device which is mainly solar powered and is goal seeking. It must fit within a 7 inch cube. The robot device will have to face obstacles, challenges, and other robots over a 30 hour period in a closed robot "Jurrasic Park". Those devices which show the best survival, exploration, confrontation, speed, and power efficiency abilities (following review of photos and a stop-motion video) will be declared the winners.

[edit] Competitor Design Parameters: Photovore

  1. The competing device must initially fit within the boundaries of an 7 inch cube. During competition, robot devices may vary their geometry as necessary but should not deliberately leave any part of themselves behind. Competitors should attempt to finish with all that they started with, although they may add to their mass if able.
  2. No batteries (rechargeable or otherwise) are be allowed on the photovore competitor, only verifiable electrical capacitors. No other form of power source (chemical, mechanical, animal, etc.) is allowed. The competitor must extract all the energy it uses from solar cells on it's chassis. There is no solar cell size restriction.
  3. Robotics competitors will be expected to move about at least 3 inches every hour of competition. Any device which just sits has the option of being repaired (with a 1 point penalty) or removed. Any repair times must not last longer than one hour or the device will be deemed "dead" and will not be re-introduced to the "world". Likewise, designers are allowed to modify their devices (at a one-point penalty per time) to augment their designs in light of aggressive competitors, environmental influences, or complex challenge conditions.
  4. Devices are forbidden to exhibit deliberately destructive behavior (saw blades, cutters, rammers, electro-shock devices, etc.) towards other robotic competitors. All interaction between devices should be on the order of a pushing/grappling match.
  5. Although devices are allowed to touch or follow internal walls and hazards, they are forbidden to intentionally damage the "world" in any way (beyond expected norms). Any device exhibiting such behavior will be disqualified and removed from play. As well, devices are advised against climbing the 5cm walls around the "world" (unless it is sure it can make good its escape. It is typically a long drop to the floor).

[edit] The Photovore "World"

The "world" will be a level, modified section of micromouse maze platform suspended on two tables approximately three feet above the floor for viewing purposes. It will have minimum dimensions of 4' by 8', unless there are more than 6 photovores competing, in which case, this area will be doubled. The floor of the maze is matte-black arborite, with a flat white 5cm high wall completely surrounding the inner area topped with red tape. All walls will be orthogonal (at 90 degrees) to each other, but not limited to simple square patterns.

The "world" will be illuminated by a minimum of two standard 500 watt halogen light sources placed exactly 18 inches above the level surface at equidistant locations, most likely near the corners, directed inward. These shall remain alight during the full competition duration. As well, ambient light will be available from all directions to allow people to see and photograph the event in progress. The final shape and details of the "world" will be kept a secret until the day of the competition. Hazards will include, but are not limited to, gravel, small dead-ends and hallways, ball bearings, Styrofoam chips, small inclines, rough shallow traps, simple corners, caves and obstacles. There will also be more interesting "hazards" made known only at the competition. However, none of these should be able to harm a competing device. Some or all of the following hazards shall be introduced (or removed) during the competition time at random intervals.

  • The addition of "snow", in the form of standard Styrofoam packing chips.
  • The addition of more irregular solids to the floor surface.
  • The addition of one or more Halogen light sources (of unspecified wattage).
  • The inclining of the floor base up to 3 degrees in one or two dimensions.

Within the walls, there shall be a random scattering of other 5cm walls of various colors from white to black. All other obstacles, traps and hazards (with the exception of Styrofoam chips) shall be no more than 2 cm. high. this is to avoid damage to devices which roll off of 1cm high "cliffs". As well, all cave coverings shall be between 5 cm and 9 cm. from the surface. There will be no wet or high inclines in the environment, and walls and objects will not be painted in any patterns or specific colors. Competitors must deal with the world regardless of special considerations.

[edit] Photovore Competition Procedure

On the day of competition, the "world", will be finalized, the cameras set up, and the competitors started at 9:00AM. They then have thirty hours to live in this world and test the extremes/quirks of their behaviors.

All competitors will run concurrently in the environment. Points will be deducted every time a competitor requires human intervention to get out of a tough spot, or becomes "dead" through lack of activity. The event will be filmed semi-regularly over a period of two days. A fast-forward movie of device events will be later studied by the judges (and included in the potential show video). During judging, any penalty points for each competitor will be tabulated and judged against weighted values of device abilities in the following categories: survival skills, exploration, confrontation, speed, and power efficiency. Each will be graded out of a maximum of ten points.

If a device is knocked on its side and cannot recover, it can be righted again with a half-point penalty, but only once the flipped device is not in contact with any other robot competitors.

If two devices become jammed together, they must remain so as long as at least one device is still moving. Separation of the jam is allowable after 2 hours with a half point penalty for both teams. In the case of a jam between a flipped competitor and an upright one, the flipped competitors team must take a one-point penalty for separation and righting of their device, should their device not have a self-righting ability. Otherwise, both teams will lose one point for jam separation. When a jam is cleared, the competitors have the option of moving their device to any clear floor location within 18 inches of the site of the jam. How the device is oriented up to the designer.

[edit] Also See:

Individual BEAM Game Events Past BEAM Robot Games

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