Events in the International BEAM Robot Games
This list gives general descriptions of each event in the BEAM Robot
Olympics. Events are listed in order of increasing complexity (roughly).
More detailed information on each event can be found in the rules
- Given a maximum solar cell size of 1/2 x 2-1/2 inches (1.25 square
inches or 8.06 square cm), make a self-starting 6 inch robot dragster to
race one meter in full sunlight (or 500 Watt halogen equivalent). Competitors
will race each other in round robin eliminations along 6 inch wide lanes.
The fastest finisher wins.
Class A: Racing occurs on a sheet of level glass.
Class B: Racing occurs on equal but rough terrain.
- 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.
- Build a solar-pawered device that can swim from one side of a 55 gallon
fish tank to the other (approximately one meter). It must fit within a
7 inch cube. A six inch high wall will be placed at the halfway point,
which the compettitor must either swim under or crawl/jump/fly over to
reach the finish line.
- Robot Limbo Race
- Given a maximum dimension of 7 inches square by 1 cm high, make a self-contained
device to traverse a simple maze in a race against another compettitor
in a similar lane. The flattest and fastest devices win. Solar power is
optional but recommended.
- Rope Climbing
- Build a self starting robotic device which climbs up a 1 meter rope
and then climbs down. The fastest from top to bottom wins.
- High/Long Jump
- A: Build a device which can loft its entire mass into the air up to
three times using only the power from 1 (optional) battery. The "footprint"
of the device may be no larger than 1 square foot.
B: Build a device which can jump its entire mass forward up to three
times using only the power from 1 (optional) battery. The "footprint"
of the device may be no larger than 1 square foot.
- Legged Race
- Legged robots face off against each other in distance/progress/ability
challenges over various rough but equal terrains. Devices will be compared
on a ratio of size, number of motivating limbs, lift/drive capabilities,
dynamic versus static designs, and terrain/problem handling abilities.
Devices shall be awarded points based upon their ability to handle the
broadest range of challenges. Competitors with the most capability points
- Innovation Machines
- Using robotic principles, make a brand-new device which serves a not-so-obvious
purpose. Competitors will be judged on quality of workmanship, broadness
of scope, and weirdness of application.
- Robo-Art/Best Modified Appliance
- Build or modify something along aesthetically pleasing lines that moves
deliberately by itself. Purposefulness is not essential.
Class A: Devices built entirely from scratch.
Class B: Commonplace devices (toys, appliances, etc.) that
have been extended or expanded from their original function while still
retaining their basic shape.
- Robot Sumo
- Class A: Pairs of robots attempt to push each other off the
edge of a 5 foot round platform. Contestants can be either self-contained,
tethered, or radio controlled. The last one in the ring wins.
Class B: Robots attempt to push each other off the edge of
a 6 foot round platform, but they can be more aggressive about it. If a
tie is declared, the winner will be decided based upon perceived aggressiveness.
- A smaller form of micromouse racing (see below). The idea is to build
a simple, self-contained mini-mouse which solves a route through a simple,
connected maze using only 1 or 2 silicon chips. The fastest competitor
- In this contest, participants (individuals or teams) must design and
build small self-contained robots to negotiate an unconnected maze from
an outside corner to the middle in the shortest possible time (without
crashing). Since it invention at MIT in 1979, the micromouse competition
has been one of the ultimate challenges for robot enthusiasts.
Class A: Competition follows official micromouse rules.
Class B: Competition also follows official micromouse rules,
but entrants are encouraged to cheat in an way they can think of, provided
the maze is not damaged.
- Aerobot Competition
- Given a square drop zone with 25 foot sides, build an AUTONOMOUS flying
vehicle that can launch itself from outside the zone, find a randomly placed
target within the zone, drop a marker on it, and then return to the launchpad
for landing. Competitors will be judged on a point system based upon control
ability, drop accuracy, repeatability, and finally, run time.
As in the real Olympics Games, medals and awards will be offered to the
first three winners in every category; Gold for first, Silver for second,
and Bronze for third. Unlike the real Olympics, however, there is a 4th
award for every competition category called the "Lunatic Fringe"
award (first invented and presented at the 3rd Artificial Life conference
in Santa Fe by Dr. Chris Langton to an anonymous presenter) which awards
inginuety in design despite failure or success.
The types of prizes shall be based upon two factors:
- The availability of prizes relevant to building future robots.
- The number of sponsors who donate prizes for promotional consideration.
(There used to be a third category which took into account the age of
the designers, but as we've had so many surprising upsets in past games
[i.e.: 10 year olds consistently whupping University Profs in equal competition],
we've dropped it. When it is seen to be relevant again, it shall be re-introduced.
Until then, all designers shall be considered equally regardless of age,
gender, race, species, or reputation).
There are also prizes awarded for all valid and notable, if not winning,
robotic competitors. These awards include (but are not limited to):
- Best Overall Robot Designs: Awarded to those individuals or teams whose
robots exhibit the greatest skill, integration, talent, and technology,
which actually work.
- Special Technical Awards: Awarded to those individuals or teams whose
robots embody the best technical know-how and mechanical complexity, working
- Special Weirdness Awards: Awarded to those individuals or teams whose
robots show the best example of bizarre. although essential, innovation,
application, and special effects.
- Ecology Awards: Awarded to those individuals or teams whose robots
show the best example of innovation, application, and elegance, despite
being made almost exclusively from recycled materials, and.or powered by
- Efficiency Awards: Awarded to those individuals or teams whose robots
employ the best non-battery powered designs, in a frame designed to last.
- Artificial Life Awards: Awarded to those individuals or teams whose
robots show the greatest ability or potential to "look out for themselves".
There is also a single special prize awarded to the youngest participant
who submits a valid entry. The entrant will be asked to describe their robot
design and construction plans in reasonable detail, to demonstrate his or
her level of understanding.
As well, any Robot Olympic records made by competitors shall be kept
track of from competition to competition.
Prizes in the past have ranged from complete Motorola Development Systems
to laptop computers to portable compact disc players (which can provide
key parts to robotic enthusiasts). Cash awards are not guarenteed, although
travel and accomodation assistance is available for long-distance travelers