Micromouse: The Fastest Maze-Solving Competition on Earth [video]

Micromouse: The Fastest Maze-Solving Competition on Earth [video]



@iamcasen 4d
I did this competition in college, and I was obsessed! This post brings up a lot of nostalgia for me. I partnered with my EE friends, and I built the software. I devised my implementation of the flood-fill by writing VB scripts in excel spreadsheets. I would draw out the maze in the spreadsheet by coloring the cells, then I would use VBA to navigate the maze and color in the solution.

Of course, the final implementation was written in C and loaded on a microcontroller. Back in those days my options were much more limited. I can only imagine what's available these days.

I actually had the itch to tinker with micromouse again not too long ago, but I became dismayed with the difficulty in setting up a physical maze for the robot. I think access to the mazes themselves is the biggest limiting factor.

@ChuckMcM 4d
This is the kind of thing that really makes robotics fun and exciting for folks. The blend of hardware and software. It is a lot of fun and the multiple disciplines make it more fun in groups than as a solo activity.
@ChrisKnott 4d
Are you allowed to push off the walls? I feel like the fastest possible mouse would be one that just punched itself from wall to wall.
@piyh 4d
The ducted fans design would allow for racing down curved pipes and recreating F-Zero GX on a smaller physical scale.

I've read about these competitions before, but he goes into way more detail than I could get as a casual observer. Very enjoyable video.

@koromak 4d
Something about this looks unreasonably fun. I'd love to get into this.
@apienx 4d
Derek's (AKA Veritasium) doctoral thesis is in YouTube science communication.

Cool video.

@sdo72 4d
I wish the idea of shortest distance isn't always the fastest or most convenient distance. I hope Google Maps can do this. I get frustrated that it keep giving shortest distance with lots of turns. Does anyone know?
@Zeetah 3d
I've competed in Micromouse for years and my mouse and I appear in snippets in this video.

Happy to answer questions.

@alex_dev 3d
Wish I knew about this sport earlier in life; this looks awesome.
@jmspring 3d
I recall we had a variation on this for a VLSI class I took in college. It taught me to how to segment knowns and unknowns around debugging - we had parts of the program we had tested, others we had not and isolated the unknowns to figure things out.
@lwansbrough 3d
I wonder if anyone is using electrostatic solid state fans yet.
@iamgopal 3d
Awesome stuff, it was because of MM, I learned all algorithm, embedded systems, sensors and noise. Also interacted with some amazing people. First love.
@sacnoradhq 3d
I saw a video from my alma mater about ~14 years ago. Their entrant was really damn slow, top heavy, and did backtracking. They'd be lucky if it finished it in 5 hours.
@aramachandran7 3d
My buddy and I solved the uMouse challenge for the final project in our college robotics course in ROS, with custom path planning and speed run and all…

it was such a great feeling to see the mouse complete the maze.

see code / deets here: https://github.com/aramachandran7/micro_mouse_final

@unwind 3d
Meta: cool, this is the most concrete case of a video being more popular than a text source I have seen (and certainly been part of involuntarily) lately.

I submitted [1] 15 hours ago, after seeing this on the ole 'Tube but wanting to avoid video and boost the competition itself rather than a particular YT channel, but that tanked.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=36083255

@dkbrk 3d
* * *
@boredhedgehog 3d
Is that extensible camera arm long enough to cartograph the whole maze? If not, a micro-drone launcher could be the next step. Apparently that would also be legal.
@ColinWright 3d
I once built a micro-mouse from scratch, intending to compete. I built a Z80 based computer with 8KB RAM and 8KB ROM, programmed directly in Z80 assembler.

I build the chassis from perspex and brass, turning my own spacers to hold the various boards in the right places. I used DC motors, made my own power controllers, opto-isolators, shaft encoders, IR wall distance detectors, servo steering assembly, bearings for the front wheel, ...


Then the night before the competition I blew out my one and only EEPROM by plugging it into the programmer backwards.

Never got to compete.

But I still have Harvey[0] somewhere. I should pull him out and make a series of videos about his construction. But it was 35 years ago and the technology has changed ... I doubt anyone would be interested, especially because he never competed.

But I was proud of building the computer from scratch and having it work first time, and of being able to run down my homebuilt section of "corridor" without hitting the walls. At the time no mice had run diagonally, so I really was in the running, provided it ran.

Oh well.

[0] No, not named after the cocktail[1], but after the smallest species of mouse in the UK. It's the "Harvest Mouse", or "Micromys minutus".

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Wallbanger