Smart Sumo Seeks Central Security

[David] over at Pololu programmed a mini-sumo robot, Zumo Red, with some extra smarts.

The basic rules of sumo robotics is exactly like human sumo – push your competitor out of the ring. [David]’s robot is special because it not only detects the competition border but measures the robot’s angle to the perimeter circle. Knowing the angle, [David]’s robot can turn and run for the center of the arena, the safest location. Once safe it can attack competitors from a symbolic high-ground. Unfortunately, the robot was a light weight in an already low weight class competition. It failed to push any competitors out of the ring and did not fare well in face-to-face battles. 0J6807.550

[David]’s bot uses a three LED line sensor, pretty common today for line following, to detect the boundary. As the ‘bot is moving an outer sensor will detect the border. It continues to drive forward until the middle sensor gets a hit. That provides the measurements need to calculate the angle. Neat and simple! Knowing the angle, the robot scoots to the center to plan its next attack.

[David’s] made the code for his bot’s brain, an Arduino compatible ATmega32U4, available so it will be interesting to see if the competition picks up on this trick.

Zumo Red meets Sumo Necko and a few more competitors in the video after the break.

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Nano Sumo robot takes on all comers


While most Sumo-style robots are fairly sizable, there is a subsection of the Sumo robot movement that focuses on making small robots. Really small robots.

[Patrick] wrote in to share his latest creation, a Nano Sumo robot measuring a scant 1 in. x 1 in. The Nano Sumo is operated by an ATMega 328 micro controller housed on a custom-built PCB. The board was designed to interface directly with the 1A Dual Motor Driver from SparkFun, which provides all of the PWM signaling to the motors for speed control and braking. A small 50mAh Li-poly battery is attached to the robot, which can be charged using 4 AA batteries via a custom charging circuit. The mechanical components of the bot were handled by his friend [Gary], which you can read about here.

As you can see in the video below, the bot does its job pretty well. It does seem like the object detection gets confused every once in awhile, but that can likely be remedied with a few software tweaks.

Check out his page for additional build videos, including the PCB construction and programming processes.

If you’re interested in learning more about Sumo bots, check out this slightly larger robot we covered a short while back.

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Sumo style robot

[Jeremy] really wants to compete in some sumo bot wrestling, and in order to have robotic sumo wrestling one needs to make some robots, which is what [Jeremy’s] build log is all about.

The framework is made out of 6mm thick Sintra (which is a type of closed cell pvc foam sheet) with the use of a CNC machine, using a “sliced” design style framework. Two geared motors fit snug inside of the internal frame and some wheels from solarbotics are attached to the ends. The arrangement of the drive wheels in the rear, and the large front end, seems like good design for the end application where robots doing turtle flips would be no fun.

Keeping in mind this is not a fully finished project and therefore does not have code or schematics posted, the brains of this beast are in a similar state, and should be pretty easy to figure out. The thinking is handled by an atmega328, and fed by IR sensor pair’s to detect light / dark patterns on the floor or table, and an array of proximity sensors along the front and sides to detect its opponent.

And while this project may not be completed, it at one point was dead and set aside, after some months [Jeremy] went back for a second look and found out that the only thing dead about it was the power regulator and h-bridge and quickly got it back up and working, which is a good reminder to not give up, even when it does go poof.