Robot sumo

Here’s a cool video of my first year class in Engineering Design. One of their projects is to build and program a Lego robot to compete in robot sumo…


  1. #1 bi -- Intl. J. Inact.
    April 29, 2008

    Cool! 🙂

    I wonder how easy it is to build and program a Lego sumobot, since I’ve never done that (not specifically, at least).

  2. #2 Thom
    April 29, 2008

    Lambert, what is the male/female ratio in the class? It looks pretty similar to engineering courses here in the U.S.

  3. #3 Brian D
    April 29, 2008


    LEGO sumo is very popular here. Programming them’s simple enough if you know what you’re doing (hint: K.I.S.S.) and are using the right environment; the construction is a bit more difficult in my opinion. The key to victory in LEGO sumo is traction, and there’s only so much of that you can get without compromising other important factors. (Tim mentions weight in the clip; my experience tells me that I’d rather have a moderate-weight robot with impossible traction than a heavy robot with average traction. Weight — specifically inertia — and motor torque matter mostly for offensive rushes; traction matters for offense and defense.)

    Tim, I’m noticing a mix of RCX and NXT bricks in these designs (for the uninitiated, RCX bricks are the yellow ones, NXT are the white/grey ones. RCX uses standard LEGO studs, NXT has more advanced hardware (including ultrasonic sensors and servo motors) but peg-and-hole construction). What language were you using to program them? The standard environment is terribly limiting and awkward.

    My research involves LEGO robots as well, and I TA a course every fall on exploring what we call “embodied cognitive science” through LEGO robots. We’ve started putting videos up on YouTube; once I convince the prof to let me upload the main one, I’ll link it.

  4. #4 Tim Lambert
    April 29, 2008

    The class is about 80% male.

    They program in NQC/NXC.

  5. #5 ejh
    April 29, 2008

    Can they not program them to bow to one another and throw rice in the air?

  6. #6 z
    April 29, 2008

    yes, but can they be programmed for this: ?

  7. #7 bi -- Intl. J. Inact.
    April 29, 2008

    Brian D:

    My research involves LEGO robots as well

    Wow, sounds like one hell of a research project. :-B

  8. #8 Zarquon
    May 1, 2008

    So this is Ultimo Lego Sumo.

  9. #9 Zarquon
    May 1, 2008

    Oops, it’s UTS in Ultimo, not UNSW.

  10. #10 Brian D
    May 6, 2008

    Bi: Wow, sounds like one hell of a research project. :-B

    Pretty much. 😉

    The main video I mentioned, showcasing this approach is finally up, and as I said above, I’m linking it. It’s more about the course I mentioned than the research, but the two are interrelated. No sumo here, although we do have an impressive Coke vs. Pepsi bot in the first part (it was a student project from a couple years back), amongst others.

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