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S OLARBOTICS L T D.

F ORMULA S O L A RS PEEDER
Last modified February 4, 2002
Originally Created by Dr. Mark Tilden and adapted for the WCRG by Dave Hrynkiw
Note: This event is held outside the official sanctioning of the BEAM/WCRG Millennium Robot Games. All registra-
tion and management will be provided by Solarbotics Ltd. This means you only have to pay your $5 door
admission, walk up to the Solarbotics booth, and enter your SolarSpeeder there! Of course, you won't get the
benefits of being a fully registered event competitor, like the cool t-shirt and other perks...

OBJECT:
Take a standard Solarbotics Ltd. SolarSpeeder
kit, build it to the best of your abilities, and take
three shots at aiming it at a target. The closest to
the middle (or going through the target hole)
wins!

BACKGROUND:
The SolarSpeeder is meant to be an introduc-
tion to building BEAM robots. Although not a
robot itself, the SolarSpeeder teaches the fun-
damental skills needed for more advanced
designs. This competition encourages the
builder to make sure the electronics are work-
ing properly, and more importantly, make sure Stock Solarbotics SolarSpeeder
the SolarSpeeder is mechanically sound.
A standard, stock SolarSpeeder should be able to cover 3 meter distance. With some careful tweaking, you should be able to
aim it with some degree of accuracy, and get it as close to the target as possible.

COMPETITOR DESIGN PARAMETERS: FORMULA SOLARSPEEDER


1 The competing SolarSpeeder must be constructed out of a standard Solarbotics SolarSpeeder kit.
2 No electronics substitutions can be made to the SolarSpeeder. The standard motor, capacitor, transistors, and resistors
must be as provided. The solarcell size can be changed, but is not recommended, as larger solarcells may actually
catch on the edge of the target hole, making it harder to pass through. REMEMBER - time is not an issue in this event!
Three minutes should be more than enough time for a stock SolarSpeeder to activate, and you will not have any
advantage by using a larger-than-stock solarcell.
3 Unlike in the Solaroller competition, competing SolarSpeeders do not need shorting gates to fully discharge the stor-
age capacitors at the beginning of each round. Each competitor simply must physically restrain their SolarSpeeder
from running away before the “start” command is given.
4 As the competition will be run with multiple SolarSpeeders at the same time, there may be collisions. These collisions
will not mean you will have a retry at the attempt. The competitor will have three attempts to hit the target, and only
three attempts will be allowed regardless of what happens. Your SolarSpeeder will have to do what it can in the case
of a collision!
5 Being a “Formula” competition where all competitors look alike, take the time to put an identifying mark on your
SolarSpeeder. Make a small flag, initial the motor, or put a colored mark on the top of the device to make it easily
identifiable.

Western Canadian Robot Games 2002 Rules & Resources 45


S OLARBOTICS L T D. F ORMULA S O L A RS PEEDER
PLATFORM DETAILS: THE SOLARSPEEDER RACING PLATFORM
The racing platform is a standard-
sized construction sheet of white
melamine measuring 4’ x 8’. The
starting line is measured 10cm (4”)
off the narrow end of the sheet. At
the end opposite to the starting line
is a wall, with a 10cm (2.5”) wide
opening.
Lighting for the racing platform will
be provided by any available source
of light, being either natural sun-
light, halogen lamps, or a combina-
tion of the two.

FORMULA SOLARSPEEDER COMPETITION PROCEDURE:


Competitors will race simultaneously in set heats (number or competitors to be determined based on number of competitors
entered), with all the SolarSpeeders starting at or behind the starting line. Each competitor will aim their own SolarSpeeder
towards the target opening, and when given the signal, will release it and leave it to self-activate. After it finishes its run, the
SolarSpeeder’s distance from the target opening will be noted by the judges, and removed from the platform as soon as pos-
sible to make way for any remaining SolarSpeeders.
The race is run until all the SolarSpeeders in that heat have activated, or until three minutes have been passed. Any malfunc-
tioning SolarSpeeder may be removed from a heat and re-entered at a later heat.
Each competitor will be able to run their SolarSpeeder three times, and the best run used for determining the winner. In the
case that more than one SolarSpeeder successfully passes through the target opening, these will be entered in a run-off where
the competitors will each have a single attempt to pass through the target opening. 

46 2002 Rules & Resources Western Canadian Robot Games