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A robot-sumo match

Robot-sumo, or pepe-sumo, is a sport in which two robots attempt to push each other out of a circle (in a similar fashion to the sport of sumo). The robots used in this competition are called sumobots.[1]

The engineering challenges are for the robot to find its opponent (usually accomplished with infrared or ultra-sonic sensors) and to push it out of the flat arena. A robot should also avoid leaving the arena, usually by means of a sensor that detects the edge.

The most common "weapon" used in a sumobot competition is an angled blade at the front of the robot, usually tilted at about a 45-degree angle towards the back of the robot. This blade has an adjustable height for different tactics.

A mini-sumo match

Robot-sumo is divided into classes, fought on progressively smaller arenas:[2]

  • Heavy-weight. Standard in the National Robotics Challenge. Robots may weigh up to 125 pounds (56.8 kg) and fit in a 2-foot cube (61 cm).
  • Light-weight. Also standard in the National Robotics Challenge. Robots may weigh up to 50 pounds (22.7 kg) and fit in a 2-foot cube (61 cm).
  • Standard class (sometimes named Mega-sumo) robots may mass up to 3 kg and fit inside a 20 cm by 20 cm box, any height.
  • Mini-sumo. Up to 500 g mass, 10 cm by 10 cm, any height.
  • Micro-sumo. Up to 100 g mass, must fit in a 5 cm cube.
  • Nano-sumo. Must fit in a 2.5 cm cube.

There is also Lego Mindstorms NXT sumo robots, in which NXT robots compete. The robots usually have to fit in a one-foot cube.

Classes are further divided into remote-controlled and autonomous robots. Also, there might be a tethered category (varies)

Sumo robots are built from scratch, from kits or from Lego components, particularly the Lego Mindstorms sets.


  1. ^ What is Robot-sumo in FSI All Japan Robot-Sumo Tournament
  2. ^ Unified Robot Sumo Rules (English)

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