Liz: This week’s all about community. Mike Horne and Tim Richardson are old, old friends of the Raspberry Pi project. They’ve been running the Cambridge Raspberry Jam for ages – it’s one of the Jams we use as an exemplar and a showcase for anybody wanting to start their own. They’re so good at organising this stuff that we asked them to help us set up, run and host the Raspberry Pi third birthday party earlier this year. It was an enormous success – 1300 of you came from all over the world, and we had an amazing weekend. (And about a ton of pizza.)
Mike and Tim are REALLY GOOD at this stuff. So it’s with enormous looking-forwardness that I asked them to prepare a guest post for us on their next non-standard Pi event (a repeat of what was probably the best Pi event I attended last year – and I go to a lot of them): a second annual Pi Wars, to be held in Cambridge this December. (We wrote about it here last year.) Over to Mike and Tim.
Preparation for this year’s challenge-based robotics competition, Pi Wars, is now underway! We’d like to tell you about the competition, how to get involved – and also launch a pre-event competition!
Following the success of last year’s event, we have plans for a bigger and better competition this year. The 2015 competition will be held on Saturday 5th December at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory (where the Big Birthday Weekend was), off Madingley Road in Cambridge, UK.
For those of you who don’t know, Pi Wars is an event at which Raspberry Pi-powered robots compete against each other in various challenges to win prizes and to take the title of Best Robot. Last year, we had 20 teams competing, and around 200 spectators. This year, we have raised the maximum number of competing teams to around 30, and we hope to welcome over 300 spectators to see them battle it out in 2015’s larger space.
Teams come from all walks of life, including schools, Code Clubs, hack spaces, families and individuals – we even had a few robots last year that had been made in lunch-hours at offices by teams of colleagues. So why not you?
Pi Wars, unlike Robot Wars, does not go in for destructive combat: we want your robots to make it to the end of the day relatively unscathed! So, our challenges are based on skills tests. The main challenges this year are:
- Remote-controlled obstacle course (with different obstacles this year)
- Remote-controlled skittles
- Remote-controlled, non-destructive robot vs robot duel (a mysterious event!)
- Straight-line speed test (either remote-controlled or autonomous)
- Autonomous three-point-turn
- Autonomous line follower course
- Autonomous obstacle-avoidance challenge: Proximity alert
Other elements of the competition are will be:
- Code quality
- Build quality (new for 2015 – how well built is the robot?)
- Blogging (new for 2015 – blog about your robot’s progress in the lead-up to the competition)
There are also other ‘side competitions’, which will include the robots in the Show and Tell area (of which more in a moment). You can find out more about these side competitions and see details of all the challenges by visiting the List of Challenges page on our website.
Show and Tell
As mentioned above, there will also be a Show and Tell area featuring robot exhibits. This is a great way to get involved if you have a robotics project but don’t have time to make it competition-ready; or if your robot is something “a bit different”. Anything goes in Show and Tell as long as it is controlled by a Raspberry Pi and it moves!
Applying to enter
This year, there is an application process to follow for both the main competition and the Show and Tell area. Depending on the number of robots we have entering, it may be necessary to select from them the robots that will take part. We have a selection process – follow the link to learn more. If you would like to apply and get involved in Pi Wars, head over to the Pi Wars website and fill in:
As you can imagine, putting on an event this size requires sponsorship of various forms. We are looking for companies to sponsor the event by donating prizes (add-on boards, t-shirts, magazine subscriptions and kits all made an appearance last year) for the various challenges and, if that’s not appropriate, to donate financially so that we can make the courses and print the full-colour programme that every competitor and spectator receives. So far, we have received generous offers from Dexter Industries, Ryanteck, Dawn Robotics, 4tronix, RasPiO, PiBorg, The Pi Hut, MyPiFi and Energenie. So, if your company would like to be involved, please take a look at our sponsors page for what we can do for you in return.
Pre-event competition – Design the programme cover!
New for this year is our pre-event competition. This competition is open to anyone 16 years old or younger and involves creating some artwork. Our programme last year (pictured) featured our logo and a photograph of a robot (we aren’t graphic designers). This year, we want a different design, and that’s where you come in.
We would like you to design a new front cover. It will still have our banner logo at the top, and the date will be on there somewhere, but we need a new image for the middle of the page. So, get your thinking caps on and send us your design! You can find details of how to enter here. Entries must be received by noon on 1st October. The winner will be picked by members of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and will be notified around the 8th October. This should give us plenty of time to get the design integrated into the programme and get it printed!
Any questions? We are open to any questions you might have. Either visit our website and contact us, or leave a comment on this blog post and we’ll get back to you. We hope to see you at Pi Wars 2015 on 5th December!