Contact: Chris Malcolm
the LEGO project: In 1999 LEGO sponsored a robot volleyball competition between 5 of the top Universities in the UK and Ireland. The Edinburgh entries were designed and built by Esther Dura and Ruth Sadler as part of the MSc in Artificial Intelligence.
the competition: We were provided with two LEGO Mindstorms Kits, 2 RoboSports expansion sets, plus extra RCX bricks and sensors from which to make a team of robots to win (or attempt to play...) a game of volleyball. This required the robots to be robustly built, react quickly to the environment and to be able to communicate with each other in order to achieve a goal. The final round of the competition was held in Reading on the 13th September 1999.
We decided to make two specialised robots, one defender, which tried to block entering balls, and one attacker, which collected balls and fired them back. The robot with the yellow ball `nose' is Esther's defender robot, the other is Ruth's robot attacker.
results: When we arrived, we found that the walls were not the stated height, which upset our defender. Nevertheless, we came third, which was acceptable. First place went to Trinity College, Dublin, with a strategy very like ours but better carried out. And their robots were bigger, and their defender had a whole side encased in cardboard. Reading (the host team, which cheated by using extra sensors, pneumatics, and going onto their opponent's side of the court(!)) came last.
Edinburgh attacking Trinity.