Innovative Teacher, software designer, scientist and digital technology
expert Michael Fenton shares ideas to support students, parents and
teachers engage with the new Digital Technologies curriculum.
Michael has a limited number of complete robots built at cost, first in
On this page, building a robot for the Sumo battle or Maze solving
There are two classes based on size; MiniBots and MegaBots
shall not be larger, either in length or in width, than 10 centimetres.
Mass (with batteries) 500 grams maximum. MegaBots:
shall not be larger, either in length or in width, than 20 centimetres.
Mass (with batteries) 3 kg. maximum.
All robots need to be checked in at the La Mer Lounge at a date and
time to be confirmed for 2019. No more than 2 students in a group entry
on the day.
The new Lost in Space series
on Netflix is the inspiration for a "Rescue the Robinsons" maze
This entry involves a scratch-built robot, the purchase of a kit to
assemble, or the purchase of a ready-made pre-assembled robot.
The robot MUST be autonomous...self-contained with NO remote control
YOUR MISSION: The
Robinson family is lost in space, stranded on a
strange new planet after their spaceship, the Jupiter 2, has
crash-landed. Two of the children, Will and Penny Robinson, have gone
out to survey the crash site, but have not returned.
Sumo robot competitions have been
prevalent in Japan, with the first competition being held in 1989 with
only 33 robots, by 2001, the number was over 4,000.
This entry involves a scratch-built
robot, as seen here on the right, or the purchase of a kit to assemble,
or the purchase of a
ready-made pre-assembled robot.
Sumo-bot wrestling requires robots to push or flip each
other out of a circular ring (dohyo). A robot that is flipped &
immobilized or pushed outside of the dohyo loses, the other robot wins
a yuko point. The first to gain two yuko points wins the match.
Robots may be remote controlled (r/c) OR
(self-contained, no remote controls).
R/c robots battle other r/c robots; autonomous robots battle other
The robot will start a battle when a button on its body is pressed to
begin movement after a 5 second delay.
Entrants will battle the robots on the day of the fair, and the robots
with the best performance will win monetary prizes.
dimensions for practice:
154 cmHeight: 5 cmEdge: 5 cm
cmHeight: 2.5cmEdge: 2.5 cm
Construction ideas - Edison V2
robot (Sumo or Maze entry)
Tim Carr from Mindkits.co.nz
kindly supplied two of these amazing robots, real
value-for-money and intuitive to use.
First of all, I hate looking at naked robots. C3P0 looked creepy
without his metal skin, and the T800 Terminator endoskeleton gives me
still. Robots should be "dressed" or be designed with a type of
"costume" in mind. Making and designing are creative acts so why not
functional machine that also looks interesting or inspiring?
Edison robots are LEGO compatible, so I decided to put my childrens old
bricks to good use;
How can you make your robot look more interesting with a body
modification or costume covering?
You could use card or other materials but keep in mind the Edison
sensors still need to do their jobs!
You could research some famous robots for ideas to make Edison a body
to be proud of!
Features of the Edison V2 robot:
introduction to robotics and coding for Primary / Intermediate students
straight out of the box, (once batteries inserted); no programming
needed to see results!
programmed by bar codes provided, for immediate obstacle avoidance,
programming interface simple to use for beginners - no language to
text-based programming for more advanced use to learn coding skills
to use universal programming lead that plugs in to any headphone jack
on any device
A great robot for
under $70 that works on any device (Apple, Windows, smartphone), grows
with the user from novice to expert and is very well constructed and
In the video above you will see I added a PICAXE 08M2 chip to flash the
lights in the chest cavity.
For experts or
advanced builders: It is
add a range of different sensors, such as temperature or colour
sensors, to the PICAXE chip and then programme the PICAXE to send an IR
signal to Edison.Edison can
programmed to move in response to the IR signal.
This opens the Edison
up to a much wider set of environmental conditions to monitor, moving
in response to the external sensors attached to the PICAXE.
You could have a heat-seeking Edison!
The spaceship prop for the Rescue
the Robinsons maze competition
Using an old
clock body and a PICAXE chip programmed in BASIC, I made the Jupiter 2
spaceship from Lost in Space. This
prop will be at the centre of the maze. The Jupiter 2 is paired with my
smart phone using the free Keuwlsoft Bluetooth Controller app and has 8
LEDs (4 pairs), 1 MP3 player module, and 1 Bluetooth module. Very cheap
very easy to wire up, and simple to code.
ideas - Arduino or
PICAXE robot (Sumo or Maze entry)
again it adds a lot of appeal to have a fully "dressed" robot. Rather
than letting people see the bare circuitry and gears, why not make a
body costume to make your robot look more interesting and appealing?
You could recycle parts from an old analogue TV like I did here in the
OP1 is a PICAXE-based robot with a L239D motor controller and a
Bluetooth module. He operates on 8 C-size cells (12 volts DC).
OP1 senses the environment for temperatue and static electricity,
sending the data back to my smartphone for graphing. I can also take
control of OP1 to drive the robot remotely. There is a MP3 player
module to produce sound effects. On the front is an ultrasonic range
finder module, an aid to avoiding obstacles when OP1 autonomously
explores his surroundings.
There are a number of suppliers of PICAXE and Arduino kits and parts.
or Jaycar or Surplustronics.
I have recently seen Arduino Smart Car kits at www.dx.com
who also provide motor controllers, bluetooth modules, ultrasonic range
finders, etc, often with free delivery. I have found them very
reliable, but some parts take a few weeks to arrive, depending on
- Arduino board
The Arduino Smart Car kit is a
dea from DX.com.
AND you can substitute easily a simpler breadboard with a PICAXE
18M2 chip to replace the Arduino board and sensor board.
Keep the Arduino and sensor board for another time!
I prefer to use one of the motor drive controller boards below; very
cheap, reliable and simple to control.
I have provided a test code below for you to learn from.
motor controller board.This sits on
top of the battery pack, breadboard nearby for connection of signal
extra battery pack to power the motors seperately from the PICAXE, definately for the larger MegaBot sumo
below for a H-bridge circuit from Andrew Hornblow for a
simple maze robot without the motor controller.
Robots in movies and
Want to gain more digital technology skills? Make a movie using your
robots! See the Dalek battle a bear in our 48 hour film entry
"Collision course" by Jampot
Productions in Taranaki, winner of two local awards including
Original fun experiments &
technology to build for authentic maths and science investigations for