Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sample Return Robot Challenge: Competition Approaches, Includes WPI Festival

It's time to get ready for the Sample Return Robot Challenge, which is scheduled for mid-June:

$1.5 million NASA rover contest set for robo-showdown in June - Cosmic Log

30-day Required Information - Sample Return Robot Challenge (at WPI)

NASA $1.5 Million Robot Competition Rolls Onto WPI Campus June 14-17 - NASA

Touch Tomorrow - A Festival of Science, Technology, and Robots at WPI - WPI:

Simultaneous to the competition on Saturday, June 16, 2012, science and technology enthusiasts of all ages will be welcomed to the WPI campus for TouchTomorrow, a free and fun festival comprised of hands-on exhibits and activities focused on our scientific and technological future.  ...  A sampling of TouchTomorrow’s outdoor and indoor exhibits and activities includes:
  • The Space Smart Game
  • Be The Robot – a virtual-reality adventure
  • Engineer a Satellite
  • Bouncing Bubbles!
  • Lunar Quest
  • Plus – demonstrations by FIRST Robotics Teams of advances in robotics technology, an “inflatable earth,” and an actual rocket launch!
In addition to the interactive activities, TouchTomorrow attendees will have opportunities to meet NASA astronauts, explore and engage with research projects being conducted by WPI faculty and students, and of course, watch the SRR Challenge.

There's already a lot of background information on the TouchTomorrow media page.  Check back on their site later this month when the full details about the event should be posted.

There is now an online forum for the teams.  It arrives a bit late in the process, so I'm not sure how much it will be used, but there are a couple short conversations so far.  One is on liability insurance, and another is on travel arrangements from the West, and the possibility of shipping the robots to the competition site.  Having followed a number of these competitions, I'll say that a number of teams have had major problems with shipping their hardware, so a lot of care needs to be taken with that route.  Of course driving the hardware isn't fool-proof ... one team had a car accident.