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May 1998

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"Maximum AREA coverage!"


Nashua Robot Builders Contest

To stay on a 9'x8' table while drawing (with pen) in as many of the 72 squares of the table. Most area covered in 3 minutes WINS!

Description: The contest is an "Area Coverage" problem. A group of tables will be placed together to form a surface approximately eight feet by nine feet. This surface will be entirely covered with paper, and divided into one foot by one foot grids.

Robots will be given a writing instrument and three minutes to place a mark in as many of the grid locations as possible. Robots will be ranked first by how many grids they covered, and second by the time it took to cover those grids. The winner will be the robot that covered the most grids. In the case of a tie, the robot who covered the most grids in the least amount of time wins.

Object : Make a mark in as many grids as possible in the shortest time possible.

Time Limit: Three minutes.


Arena: Tables put together to make a raised eight by nine foot surface. Robots will have to prevent themselves from going over the edge. Paper marked with one foot by one foot grids will be placed on the surface. All robots will start with their writing implement in a start box in the middle of one of the nine foot sides. If a robot falls off the table, it will be placed back in the arena such that its writing implement is in the start box.

Surface Cover: The surface of the tables will be covered by a white paper tablecloth. It will be a fairly rough paper, but paper never the less. It will be purchased with smoothness in mind so that our marking instruments will not "snag" it. Robots that appear to "tear-up" this surface will be asked to run last so as to not ruin the field for everyone else.

Line/Grid Markings: The 1'x1' grid surface will be created with a carpenters chalk line. Lines will be snapped so that the grid is clearly evident, bit not so dark or wide that it is a distraction for any optical sensing the robots are doing. Because the lines can NOT be guarenteed to be any particular size or density, it is recommended that they NOT be used for general navigation.

Marking Instrument: The contest will use magic markers to mark the robot's path. Each Robot must have a mechanism/holder to hold a standard writing pen.

Robot: The robot must fit within four adjacent grid squares. Each robot will be given only one writing implement. If the robot is designed to complete the task in less than three minutes, some method of indicating completion must be announced before the contest run. The robots must be autonomous and require no human intervention except for starting the contest and returning the robot to the start box if it falls off of the tables.

A practice contest will be held at the April meeting. The real contest will be held at the May meeting. We will have a "dry-run" of the contest and all surface.marking materials. Bring your entry if you want to practice. You must attend at least one club meeting before the day of the contest to participate.

Entry Fee and Prizes:
We would like people to bring in some "surplus" item as an entry fee. This could be something from your basement such as electronic components, gears, a motor, solar cell, toy car, book, etc. These items will form a table of loot. Contest participants will choose their prize(s) from the table of loot in the order of their finish. Any leftover loot can be claimed by participants or club members, or must be taken home by the person who brought it in.

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