Most robotic competitions are fairly expensive to enter. The hardware is expensive, hard to assemble and tends to break at the worst possible times. They are lots of fun for hardware geeks but not as much fun for software geeks. RoboChamps is different – RoboChamps is mostly about the software!
The idea is that there are different challenges modeled in a simulator. Participants have simulated robots to program to solve the challenge. The prizes (there have to be prizes) include actual physical robots. From the RoboChamps home page:
RoboChamps consist of a series of challenges. Each challenge comes with a 3-D simulation environment, a robot, a challenge scenario, and the rules for completing the scenario. From there, it’s up to your creativity and coding skills. Using .NET, code your robot to complete the challenge successfully, and submit an entry to the RoboChamps League. A referee service will be running to make sure the rules are being followed, determine your score and send it back to RoboChamps.com.
Max interviews one of the people behind RoboChamps on Channel 8. It sounds like a lot of fun. One of the things they demo is how one will be able to watch robot runs in the simulator and see things from different angles and locations.
The official rules limit competitors to people 18 and over so it might be something interesting for HS seniors to try as they finish up the school year. But I think it would be interesting for others to try as a place to show of their skills. The software is all free anyway!