O'Reilly Network has a great article on RoboGames 2005, covering not only the more "glamorous" events like robotic combat, but also the firefighting contest and the ribbon-climbing event. It even talks to some of the inventors about their robots and how they were built.
The minature robots seen in the picture I've grabbed from O'Reilly's site (by Jeremy Fitzhardinge) shows two of the ribbon climbers. The challenge is to create a robot which can climb a ribbon -- an amazingly difficult task, despite what you might think. The weight of the robot has to be supported by the ribbon, the robot has to create enough traction on the ribbon to climb while having enough friction to stay on the ribbon:
Indeed, ribbon climbing is a ballet of balances, between weight and power, the friction to hold on against the friction blocking you from climbing, and a host of other artificial restraints that make the contest more complex and, hopefully, more applicable to the real world, including a remote transmission requirement and a five-second pause with automatic restart.Posted by Ted Stevko at April 5, 2005 01:47 PM | TrackBack