First Robot Olympics
The event was run by The Turing Institute at the Sports Centre at the University of Strathclyde. It featured 68 robots from 12 different countries and involved over 2,500 visitors over the two-day period.
During the 1980s the Turing Institute had been involved in a wide range of robotics activities and had developed links with many leading robotics laboratories as a result of both student exchange and a series of collaborative research projects.
The event was conceived and directed by Dr Peter Mowforth, Director of the Turing Institute, as an events-based meetup for robot enthusiasts and builders. Although there had been single event competitions and national events for competing robots, this was the first time that such a large, varied and international Robot Competition had taken place.
Many of the robots that came to the event reflected key research themes that were present at the time. For example, the two-wheeled balancing 'torch carrying' (pre-Segway) robot that opened the event was associated with the Institute's work on using machine learning applied to the inverted pendulum
Events and results
|Obstacle Avoidance||ASTERIX. University of Toronto, Canada. Anthony Green & Pavel Rozalski||OSCAR. AI Dept. Edinburgh University. Scotland||YAMABICO. Tsukuba University, Japan. Shoji Suzuki|
|Pole Balancing||PENDULUM. Salford University, England. F Nagy & G A Medrano-Derda||LANKY. Lancaster University, England||MENACE, Turing Institute, Scotland. Bing Zhang|
|Phototrophic||ALPHA PHOTON. Kent University, England. David Bisset||ICARUS. The Shadow Group, England. David Buckley.|
|Manipulators||BELGRADE/USC HAND. University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia||BCI. St Patricks High School, Coatbridge, Scotland.|
|Biped Race||CARDIFF BIPED. Uni. Wales, Cardiff, Wales. Paul Channon, Simon Hopkins & Prof Pham||ROBBIE. Paisley College of Technology, Scotland. Ken MacFarlane, Gordon Allan|
|Javelin||YORK ARCHER. Museum of Automata, York, England||WILBERFORCE. East London Polytechnic, England. Martin Smith||ELEPHANTS TRUNK. Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. J B C Davies, J Morrison|
|Multi-Legged Race||PENELOPE. Edinburgh University, Scotland. D J Todd||GENGHIS. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, AI Lab, US. Olaf Beck, Prof. Rodney Brookes & Colin Angle|
|Wall Following||YAMABICO. Tsukuba University, Japan. Shoji Suzuki||SAM. Kent University, England. David Bisset, Jason Garforth, Jeremy Laycock|
|Talking||RICHARD 1ST. Turing Institute, Scotland. Ketil Undbekken, Peter Mowforth||SHADOW WALKER. The Shadow Group, London, England. David Buckley|
|Wall Climbing||ZIG ZAG. Portsmouth Polytechnic, England. A A Collie, J Billingsley, R P Smith||RVP II. Soviet Academy of Sciences, Moscow, USSR. Professor Chernousko, Professor Gradetsky||RVP I. Soviet Academy of Sciences, Moscow, USSR. Professor Chernousko, Professor Gradetsky|
|Behaviour||GENGHIS. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, AI Lab, USA. Olaf Beck, Prof. Rodney Brookes & Colin Angle||SHEEP & SHEEP DOG. Computer Science, Strathclyde Uni. Scotland||SIAS. City Montessori School, Lucknow, India. Mr Ashish Panwar|
National medals table
|Country||Gold (3 points)||Silver (2 points)||Bronze (1 Point)||Total|
Four judges supervised the events to ensure 'fair play'. They were:
- • Professor Frank Nage, University of Salford
- • Professor Ruzena Bajcsy, University of Pennsylvania
- • Eddie Grant (IEEE Representative, University of Strathclyde)
- • Professor Hans P. Moravec, Carnegie Mellon University
|Robot||Event||Reason for disqualification|
|YAMABICO, Japan||Talking||Could not speak English|
|SIAS, India||Talking||Completely incomprehensible|
|ROBUG II, England||Wall Climbing||Veering out of lane and demonstrating inappropriate behaviour in front of children.|
|MEXBOT, Mexico||Multi-Legged Race||Damaged during transportation. Dropped when offloaded from ship in UK.|
Several organisions provided special awards for different categories of competition.
IEEE Robotics & Automation Society Young Roboticist Award Brian Carr (School pupil), St Patricks High School, Coatbridge, Scotland. Awarded £25 book token.
NatWest Bank Prize for Technology Transfer Olaf Beck, Prof. Rodney Brookes & Colin Angle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT, AI Lab, USA Awarded with a Caithness Crystal bowl and £200 from NatWest Bank.
'Turing Institute Best School Prize' XYBOT Inverkeithing School, Class 7S, Scotland. Awarded with a cup and a cheque for £100.
'Olympic Champion' YAMABICO from Tsukuba University, Japan. Prize given to Shoji Suzuki. Awarded with a Caithness Glass Trophy.
As well as being organised by The Turing Institute and hosted by the University of Strathclyde, the event had seven main sponsors:
- NatWest Bank (London)
- IEEE (Robotics & Automation Society)
- Scottish Development Agency
- Stakis Hotels (Glasgow)
- Caithness Glass
- Holiday Inn (Glasgow)
- British Gas (Olympic Torch and Olympic flame)
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