April 19, 20 & 21: ROBOGames

Posted on April 16, 2013

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robosRoboGames is the Olympics of Robots – we invite the best minds from around the world to compete in over 50 different events: combat robots, fire-fighters, LEGO bots, hockey bots, walking humanoids, soccer bots, sumo bots, and even androids that do kung-fu. Some robots are autonomous, some are remote controlled – but they’re all cool! As an open event, anyone can compete – this means you.

Friday through Sunday, April 19, 20 & 21, RoboGames 2013 will be held at the San Mateo Count Event Center! Tickets can be purchased online by visiting  http://robogames.net/buy-tix-RG.php.  Children 6 and under get in free.

RoboGames was founded as the ROBOlympics in 2004 as an exercise in cross-pollination, and has grown into the world’s largest open robot competition (according to the Guinness Book of World Records). The event was founded by David Calkins, president of the non-profit Robotics Society of America (RSA.) Calkins, who participated in all types of robot competitions around the world, realized the need for cross-pollination between events – as too many robot builders over-specialized within a single field. He would suggest that contestants from combat try their hand at sumo, that sumo builders start a robot soccer team, and encourage programmers to trade in their compilers for a soldering iron. As few roboticists took his advice, he realized the only way to get the various disciplines to learn what exciting things were going on outside their specialty was to create an event that brought them all into the same venue.

RoboGamesCompetitors from all over the world now make annual plans to compete in over seventy different events sponsored by RoboGames. About two thirds of the robot events are autonomous, while the remaining third are remotely operated (ROV’s). RoboGames is co-managed by the Robotics Society of America and ComBots LLC. The RSA organizes all the autonomous and humanoid events, while ComBots leases the combat arena to the RSA and manages the combat side of the house (“the milk in the back of the store.”) Combat robotics is currently the biggest crowd draw, getting tens of thousands of spectators to the event.

Even though it is run on a shoestring budget, RoboGames is similar to the human olympics in that competitors are challenged in a number of different events that showcase focused abilities and skills. The largest difference is that at RoboGames, the competitors are robots (the coaches are human engineers.) As of 2010, people from 39 countries have participated in RoboGames and continue to use the event as a way of exploring new technology and challenging themselves as engineers. RoboGames also features non-competitive demonstrations and talks by leading robotics industry designers and engineers from the world.

Check out the highlight reel:

While RoboGames has achieved wide acclaim, it was founded with five simple goals:

  1. Get robot builders to grow beyond their specialization. By bringing together robotics builders from combat (mechanical and electrical engineering), soccer (computer programming and vision), sumo robotics (sensors), androids (motion control), and art (aesthetics), builders can exchange ideas and learn more than they do at home.
  2. Let anyone compete, amateur and professional alike. Anyone – regardless of age, education, affiliation, country of origin, gender, academic discipline (or lack thereof) – can compete.
  3. Expose the general public to robots they wouldn’t otherwise see. While events like RoboCup and First inspire participants, there is rarely anyone from the general public at those events. Robots should be seen by everyone, not just other researchers, hobbyists, or students. At RoboGames, the combat robots attract the public at large to attend, but they’re then wowed by all the other competitions.
  4. Give robot builders the recognition they deserve. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded in each division. RoboGames invites the best robot builders from around the world to compete, and highlights the achievements of our participants through widespread mainstream media exposure, continued promotion to the general public, and year-round advocacy. Medalists have gone on to front-page acclaim, gotten lifetime scholarships, and even been recieved by their nations’ presidents!
  5. Lead the way with educational outreach. Children are strongly encouraged to participate in RoboGames not only as spectators, but as full-fledged competitors. In order to encourage and reward STEM education, RoboGames created a Junior League for participants under eighteen years old, where teams and individuals can compete in events such as the Lego Tube Push, 1 pound combat, 500g autonomous sumo, and seven other categories. Each category in the Junior League is free to enter and spans the full course of RoboGames. This layout allows younger competitors to compete on a level playing field, while enabling them to see the adult talks and displays and meet adult competitors who encourage and inspire the juniors!

IFWhile RoboGames is only a few years old, its goal of cross-pollination is already working. Humanoid builders find out about better sensors from the sumo teams. Sumo builders learn to strengthen their robot chassis from the combat engineers, many of whom have gone from building competition combat robots to building large companies producing hardened tele-operated bots for police and military buyers.

Date(s) and Time(s):  

Friday, April 19, 2013, Noon – 7:00pm

Saturday, April 20, 2013, Noon – 7:00pm

Sunday, April 21, 2013, Noon – 7:00pm

Admission:  Adults $25, Children 7 – 17 $20  Order tickets online here:  http://robogames.net/buy-tix-RG.php

Parking fee:  $10, cash per vehicle

For more information, visit:  http://robogames.net/index.php

About the San Mateo County Event Center:

San Mateo Event Center is the Bay Area’s top destination for events, meetings, promotions, and special events – from 15 in small meetings up to 50,000 campus-wide. Offering expansive space, lush landscaping, and flexible amenities conveniently located 20 minutes from all major cities.

Call us today! 650-574-3247

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