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Checkpoints should be completed on the assigned date unless you are explicitly excused in which case you should finish the checkpoint ASAP. Please find a staff member to check you off. The check-offs are recorded on the staff wiki.

Checkpoint 1

When you get to lab, your team should find a place to sit and start looking over the wiki. There are some things on the wiki we did not tell you in lecture! It is critical that you thoroughly read through the material in the course related links.

Your team should wait to be called to do the following things. Your entire team should come when you are called to:

  1. Pick up your kit.
  2. Pick up your computer and uOrc board.

When you can, you should:

  1. Verify that your kit is complete.
  2. Assemble the pegbot: bolt on motors, etc.
  3. Write a "hello world" program. This program should be run on the eeePC and transmit "Hello World" to BotClient running on your personal computer. In other words run BotClient on your computer and send messages to it using the classes in the package.
  4. Program your pegbot to perform a simple task such as driving forward for three seconds and stopping.
  5. Add a file to your subversion repository.
  6. Show your finished eeePC hello world and pegbot to a staff member.

Once you have completed these tasks, you are free to leave. However, you are strongly encouraged to stay in lab until it closes, designing your robot and working on your future assignments. We encourage you to look at the wikis from past years to see what teams have done in the past, and whether those ideas have worked.

Checkpoint 2

You should prepare information (a document or something posted on your wiki) of the following information.

  1. Must have a robot strategy
  2. Must have a schedule for IAP
  3. Must have a mechanical outline, drawings or SolidWorks
  4. Must have a software architecture outline

Schedule (To Be Finalized):

  • 2:00pm - Teams 1 & 2
  • 2:20pm - Teams 3 & 9
  • 2:40pm - Teams 5 & 6
  • 3:00pm - break
  • 3:20pm - Teams 7 & 8
  • 3:40pm - Teams 10
  • 4:00pm - Teams 11 & 13

Checkpoint 3

Use a bump sensor, IR, or Ultrasound to:

  1. Drive up to a wall,
  2. sense it (maybe back up),
  3. and turn to the side

Experiment with other data inputs (sonar, gyro, camera, encoders).

Checkpoint 4

  1. Publish images from the camera to the botclient
  2. Can see and identify the color palate correctly
  3. This is your chance to get help with your vision code!

Checkpoint 5

  1. Robot can turn, see a ball, and drive towards it, stop, and publish to the botclient
  2. This is your chance to get help with your PID code!

Checkpoint 6

Your robot must pass all the compliance tests for the final competition including:

  1. Must be able to calibrate colors within 1 minute
  2. Must be able to select starting color (using one of two buttons) Cannot be started over ssh.
  3. Must stop after 3 minutes of operation

Checkpoint 7

Progress Report Meeting This checkpoint is the final assessment before the final contest. Your robot should be mostly done, except for minor tweaking.

After this point (and if at all possible, for some time before it), you should probably be spending most of your time testing your robot in full multi-minute runs of your exploration code on the largest playing area you can find, and finding bugs where your robot gets stuck or otherwise fails to recover from an error condition. Every year, we see several teams who put a lot of effort into robots that get stuck early in the contest because of some stupid bug that they didn't test enough to catch. Don't let this happen to your team.

  1. Update staff on status of your robot and notify us of any changes to the strategy or design.
  2. Please prepare a list of critical things your team feels that it still needs to finish, how critical these are, how long you think it will take to finish these items, and how you plan on doing so.
  3. Please bring your robot to the meeting.

Schedule (To Be Finalized):

  • 1:00pm - Team 1
  • 1:20pm - Team 2
  • 1:40pm - Team 3
  • 2:00pm - Team 6
  • 2:20pm - Team 7
  • 2:40pm - Team 9
  • 3:00pm - Team 10
  • 3:20pm - Team 11
  • 3:40pm - Team 13

Checkpoint 8

Playability Test

Your robot:

  1. Must be able to identify color palate in 26-100 in multiple distinct test locations. We will put your robot at different places on the field to test this.
  2. Must be able to wander, find balls, get balls and attempt to score.
  3. Robots may be asked to demo for sponsors later in the day for the sponsor dinner.


  • 11:00am - Team 1
  • 11:20am - Team 2
  • 11:40am - Team 3
  • 12:00pm - Team 6
  • 12:20pm - Team 7
  • 12:40pm - Team 9
  • 1:00pm - Team 10
  • 1:20pm - Team 11
  • 1:40pm - Team 13

Mock Contests

The purpose of mock competitions is to allow you to test your robot in real situations. During mock competitions, no students will be allowed in lab unless it is for an emergency robot fix. Mock competitions will often be conducted at the same time as assignments so please make sure that you are there for your scheduled slot for your assignment. Mock competitions 1 and 2 will be run like the first round of the final competition and each team is required to run at least once. Mock competitions 3 and 4 will be run like the final competitions. Winning teams will run in the next round of the bracket after every team has already run once. In mock 4, additional runs will be completed for seating purposes. At the end of all mock competitions, the field will be left up for a few hours for testing.


You will be played against a stationary robot and your seating position will be determined based on the sum of two runs. The top seated teams will be given an advantage during the final competition and will play weaker teams during the first round. It is definitely possible for a weaker team to beat a higher seating team during the final competition so nothing is set in stone!

Seeding Assignment:

  1. Please have a finalized TEAM NAME and ROBOT NAME for each robot you will be seeding.
  2. Please write a paragraph describing your robot and email it to me by the time we finish seeding (5pm). This is for the pamphlet we hand out, advertising and website. People in the past have submitted cute descriptions including lines of code or short poems, etc. Be descriptive and creative!
  3. We will be taking pictures of your robot for publishing as well.


Impounding will begin the day before the final competition starting at 5pm and ending at 10pm. You may volunteer to impound at any time during this period.

  • No additional changes to the robot can be made after this point
  • Return all unused materials and sensors
  • Please be prepared to talk about the design and features of your robot for assessment for the engineering award
  • Your robot must pass all compliance tests again including:
    • Pass all size requirements
    • Adhere to all strategy restrictions
  • We will tally up sensor points and inform you of any additional costs due to broken materials
  • Get your Maslab T-shirts
  • Take a team photo with your robot
  • Leave your robot, batteries, and kit with us. The battery and computer will be left charging in a locked closet overnight. You may not take any kit contents with you.

Final Competition

Teams will be able to pick up their robots from Impounding at 10:00 am. You may go straight to 26-100 as we are setting the field up. You should NOT change your robot's code at that point! Using untested code is a sure way to disappointing results at the final contest. Instead, teams should

  • ensure that all parts of their robot are functional, batteries are charged
  • ensure that the robot will stop after three minutes
  • add decoration

At noon, we will be doing the first round of the competition, no audience members allowed. This round is done so to reduce the time for the final competition. After this round, we will determine the order of the winners bracket and the losers bracket. The field will be changed after this round. You should get lunch when this is over.

At 3:30pm, all teams will meet in 26-100 to go over the final contest logistics and take a group photo (make sure you're wearing your Maslab t-shirt!). You will also have an opportunity to calibrate your sensors. You may want get food beforehand or keep something to eat with you.

At 4 pm, spectators will begin arriving. The robots will be set up on the front table of 26-100 and one representative of each team will be in front talking about their robots.

At 5 pm, the contest will begin. There will always be two teams on deck. When your team is on deck, you should

  • make sure that your robot running color is ready and can start from a button press
  • have your robot's IP address ready
  • do any last minute calibrations

When your team is called, you will need people to do the following

  • Robot handler: your job is to carry the robot to the start position and start it. In the event that your robot gets stuck, you and the contest judge will decide together when to stop the round.
  • Speaker: your job is to talk about your robot's behaviors. You and the MC will explain what the robot is doing to the audience.
  • Bot Client: when your robot is on deck, you will present your robot's IP address to the tech team that will be running the bot client.

After the contest is over, teams are free to go with their robots. Clean-up teams should stay to help carry materials back to the labs upstairs.

Final Paper

Your final paper should be 1250–1750 words (5–7 pages) long, and should summarize your

  1. overall strategy
  2. mechanical design and sensors
  3. software design
  4. overall performance
  5. conclusions/suggestions for future teams

The paper must be complete by 11:59 pm on January 30th for your team to receive credit for Maslab. (That's the latest we can push the deadline, since grades need to be turned in).

Use clean spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and exhibit clear, concise language. You're welcome write in an informal tone and have fun with the paper, but we do expect to see content and will not accept large quantities of BS or incoherent writing. (See previous year's papers for examples of what we expect).

Your paper should be written as part of the wiki (please do not upload a document). Images should be uploaded to the wiki as well; do not include links (we archive all the papers, and we don't want to lose pictures when links change!).

Note: if you have suggestions for the staff on improvements to Maslab that weren't included in the feedback survey, please include them in your final papers. We're always looking for ways to improve the course.


Maslab collects student resumes for Maslab and sponsor use. The resumes are used to assess the interests and background of Maslab students, and to provide information for our sponsors who are looking to recruit interns and employees. Please email to Ellen ( your document in PDF or Microsoft Word format.

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