What is Micromouse?
The goal of Micromouse is to build a small robot that can autonomously solve a 16x16 maze. It is a worldwide competition, and it is one of IEEE-UCR's biggest projects. Here at UCR, we host Micromouse workshops which teach Arduino, basic C programming, soldering, and how to use all the parts that are needed to build a Micromouse. Micromouse is a beginner project, so it is open to everyone, regardless of experience or major, and we encourage anyone who is interested to join!
On April 30th, IEEE-UCR hosted an external Micromouse competition at Winston Chung Hall! After months of hard work, teams from all over Southern California could come together to see who's mouse will solve the maze. We had 10 teams participate, eight from UCR and two from UCSD. We gave out four prizes: 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, and Best Beginner Micromouse.
1st Place: UCSD (Kevin Tain)
2nd Place: UCSD (Nguyen Bui)
3rd Place: UCR (Jose Aguilar)
Best Beginner Micromouse: UCR (Cindy Duong)
How the competition works: Each team gets 10 minutes in the maze, and within those 10 minutes, they get 10 runs. A run begins when the team put their mouse in the maze and ends when they take it out or touch it. A run is also over if their mouse moves at least one cell and then comes back to where it started. Once the 10 minutes is up or once the team has run their mouse in the maze 10 times (which ever comes first), their turn is over. Each run is timed, and the team's fastest run will be the one that counts. The judges also count how many cells each team's mouse traverses. Each team is judged based on three criteria: did they complete the maze, how fast did did they complete the maze, and how many cells did they traverse. First place is awarded to whoever completes the maze with the fastest time, or whoever traverses the most cells, if no one completes the maze.
Here is a picture all the mice! As you can see, each mouse is unique, just like its creator! Although a Micromouse may just look like a collection of wires, the way each person designs his mouse says a little something about him!
Other IEEE members came to judge the competition, help set up/clean up, and support their friends! It was a lot of fun to watch everyone run their mice in the maze. Half of our participants were competing for the first time, but everyone there was very supportive and encouraging.
Overnight Build Session
In addition, our robotics coordinators, Emilio Barreiro and Jose Mendez, hosted an overnight build session for all the participants. The build session begin at 6 PM Saturday night and ended at 9 AM Sunday morning (the competition began at 10 AM). There was a practice maze set up for the teams to test their mice, snacks, and pizza! It was nice to meet new people and see the progress everyone made on their mice throughout the night! Overall, it was a great experience, and it seemed like everyone had a good time at the build session and the competition!