The Basics of Robot Mazes
Why do robots solve Mazes? A maze is a simple environment with simple rules. Solving it is a task that beginners can do successfully while learning the essentials of building and programming robots.
Creating a Maze
Any sturdy material can be used. The most common is wood, but bricks, blocks, and books can also work. Scale the maze to the robots.
It should be strong enough that bots can hit the walls and not push them around too much. If your materials are light, you might tape them to the floor. But maze walls that move can also be just part of the environment. If not secured, we put tape marks on the floor and return it to its initial shape before each trial.
Because not everyone has the time, we have created an excellent Maze Environment, suitable for BotBrain, BoeBot and many other small robots. You can purchase one from http://botbrain.com/proddetail.asp?prod=mz001 (shameless plug!). The BotBrain Maze uses 2x4 lumber that is held together with pegs and holes. It slides together and comes apart easily and is heavy enough to be used without taping down.
A maze competition is a race, a time trial actually. The goal is to solve the maze in the least amount of time. There are many ways to score it.
Visit our website to read the entire article including suggested rules at: http://botbrain.com/botbrain_maze_solving.pdf
Maze competitions are great in classroom or at the school district level. Maze is one of the challenges in the BotBrain curriculum. You might consider hosting For public competitions in your area see: http://robots.net/rcfaq.html. The most famous is MicroMouse http://imd.eng.kagawa-u.ac.jp/maze/ for advanced robots (islands are allowed in the maze), held every year in Japan.
BotBrain Educational Robots is facilitating a basic maze competition for Autonomous Robots in Harrisburg, PA in April, 2011 http://web.me.com/wjbechtel/Robot_Competition/Welcome.html
Bill Bechtel 717-448-4855
Joe Osborne 717-448-7555