MiniSumo robot from Institute of Intelligent Systems

MiniSumo robot from Institute of Intelligent Systems

Robot competitions in MiniSumo are a parallel of Japanese sumo, the twist being that instead of people, it is robots wrestling against each other. The competitors must not control their machines in any way; instead, the machines must be constructed so that they are able to manage the match by themselves. A new robot intended for MiniSumo matches has been developed in Brno University of Technology.

Robotics is a modern multidisciplinary field which is enjoying a wave of interest among professionals, companies and lay persons. One of the experimental branches of robotics is developing robots whose properties are tested in various games and competitions. One such competition is MiniSumo, a robotic version of the traditional Japanese sport. The robot match has strict rules, in particular governing robot size and weight. The aim of the game is to push your rival out of the ring.

At the Institute of Intelligent Systems at the Faculty of Information Technology, BUT, a team headed by Doc. Drahanský and composed of students and scientists, has made a robot intended for competing in MiniSumo. “As part of this project a complete and original design was proposed and a robot was constructed. It includes two motors with wheels having an adhesive surface, control electronics, sensory systems and a battery. The control electronics comprises firmware not only for controlling drives, but also for a decision unit with artificial intelligence, which should ensure that the robot finds the rival and tries to push it out of the ring, without leaving the ring itself,” explains Ing. Aleš Marvan, principal co-designer for the robot construction.

robot-mini-sumo-00The robot MiniSumo competitions are winning over more and more fans. However, not all enthusiasts are able to design and construct a robot with the kind of properties that would allow it succeed in this challenging competition. Lots of fans therefore appreciate the opportunity to just get their hands on their own robot, for which their task is to work out the best algorithms to enable their robot to analyse the surroundings more rapidly, find and push the competitor’s robot out of the ring. 

The robot design is protected as an industrial design, preparation for which was supported by a specialized unit at BUT – the Institute of Technology Transfer.

What is MiniSumo?
Two robots compete in a circular ring with the winner being the robot
who first pushes the other out of the ring. The ring has a diameter of 77 cm; robots must not weigh more than 500 g and they must fit in a 10x10 cm box with unlimited height. The robots are completely autonomous. The ring is black with a white stripe around the circumference.

The MiniSumo competition
Robot MiniSumo is one of a series of international competitions for small robots. It was inspired by the real Sumo competition. In order for MiniSumo competitions to work internationally, they are governed by precisely set rules.

Rules of robot MiniSumo
The game is played by placing two robots in a ring. Both robots have to be positioned behind their respective start line. Once the match starts one robot tries to push the other out of the demarcated ring. A robot wins as soon as any part of the other robot touches the surface outside the ring.

The robot must be fully autonomous. It must not be in any way controlled by a human operator. It must not contain any communication equipment by which it could be controlled from a computer or other device. Once a match has started, no external help may be given to the robot. The robot can be made of any material, such as iron, wood, PVC etc. It may contain any type of a device, such as a microcontroller, motor, battery, infrared sensors etc. An important condition is that by using these devices the robot does not break any other rules, such as the weight or size limit etc.

FaLang translation system by Faboba