Eurobot 2000 and 2001
In 2000 and 2001 I was part of MIT teams that were invited to compete in the Eurobot robotics competitions in France. These are fairly traditional table-top robotics competitions. In 2000 the goal was to pop your opponents balloons while defending your own. In 2001 the goal was to “colonoize” “planets” by placing “flags” on them as high as possible. This picture is of two of our balloon-popping mini-robots from 2000.
It turns out that having to spend the critical final debugging days dealing with packing everything up for trans-atlantic travel adds quite the extra challenge! We actually did pretty embarrassingly poorly in these competitions. The first year reminded me of nothing so much as the line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp.”
On the other hand, I got to learn a lot about building highly compact robot control hardware, some of which I was pretty proud of, and which strongly influienced what I would subsequently do at the Media Lab.