Some notes re the 2014 camp:
New in 2014:
The 2014 camp had 'a first' in that Arduino UNO microcontrollers were used on the sumo robots.
Description of recent progress in autonomous vehicles for practical use:
Per Wikipedia: On December 22, 2014, Google unveiled a fully functioning prototype of their driverless car and planned to test it on San Francisco Bay Area roads beginning in 2015.
In 2013, the New York Times reported: “Cars that can park, brake at a sign of danger and navigate in traffic are on their way to dealers’ showrooms, turning science-fiction fantasies of consumer-owned self-driving vehicles into a new reality.” On May 27, 2014 Google announced that they have produced a fully self-driving electric car, with no steering wheel, brakes, or accelerator. Google’s website states: “We’re planning to build about a hundred prototype vehicles, and later this summer, our safety drivers will start testing early versions of these vehicles that have manual controls. If all goes well, we’d like to run a small pilot program here in California in the next couple of years.“ 2012 was the year when autonomous vehicles emerged from research and development tests to farmers’ fields. Case IH, John Deere and Kinze released commercialized guidance systems that support precision agriculture. And the U.S. Military continues to make steady progress with a ‘legged squad-support vehicle’.
Want to be in on the ground floor with these exciting technologies? This robotics camp will help you get there.
Detailed camp information:
MiniSumo Robotics is intended for rising 9th through 12th graders. Thje 2014 camp ran from June 23 – 27, 2014. The goal is to complete a robot that will not drive off of a black circular arena (stay on the road, like a driverless car), and also which can seek out an opponent and push the opponent off of the arena (the opposite of what a driverless car should do).
Students build a chassis, attach motors, attach line sensors, opponent sensors, connect sensors to an on-board computer, and as time and interest permit, devise strategies, such as modifying computer code, or adding extra sensors, to further improve their basic ‘fighting sumo robot.’ These are all skills needed in advanced manufacturing and high-technology industries within Iowa and the U.S.
Though students are not required to develop programming capabilities (all necessary code will be provided) some students become very interested in computer code and will be encouraged to provide their robots with extra capabilities. Students will be encouraged to demonstrate creativity by adding unique features to their robot such as a more effective scoop, or extra sensors looking to the rear or side, like the new Google vehicles.
Students will also visit UNI research labs, and meet college students involved in summer research programs. Some students elect to continue on with project work facilitated by the Physics Department, to return in successive years, as did one camper from 2013, and have in this way become connected with scholarship opportunities at UNI.
The camp will end with a presentation to parents and the public, in which student-built min-sumo robots compete in a tournament.
Additional information, including scholarship eligibility and registration is available at: www.uni.edu/camps. A contact person for these camps is Dr. Dale Olson, Physics Department, University of Northern Iowa, firstname.lastname@example.org, cell: 319-215-5501.
Highlights of past camps:
For a quick introduction to mini-sumo robotics, you may view video of the April 26, 2013 "Live-on-the-internet" broadcast of our annual spring ShipIn competition. Go to: http://www.narobotics.org/orthos-wins-2013-minisumo-robot-competition