The objective of the Duke Annual Robo-Climb (DARC) competition is to challenge students to create innovative wall-climbing robots that can ascend vertical surfaces. The competition, which will be held at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, will allow students to showcase their wall-climbing technology in an international forum, and encourage students to network with industry representatives.
The rules for design are very flexible in order to generate maximum technological creativity. The competition will evaluate each robot's performance in climbing a wall constructed of different materials and obstacles of various dimensions. Each student group will have an opportunity to practice with the wall prior to the competition. Judges will score each robot in five functional areas: utility, navigation, versatility, speed, and innovation.
The functional areas will specifically measure the robot's ability to complete the following tasks:
Utility: Carry a load in proportion to its own body weight.
Navigation: Climb the full length of the wall without touching obstacles on the wall.
Versatility: Climb up surfaces composed of different materials and constructed in various shapes and sizes.
Speed: Climb up the full length of the wall from bottom to top in any manner as quickly as possible.
Innovation: Demonstrate unique capabilities, innovative use of technology, general creativity, or style.
Utility, navigation, versatility, and speed will each be tested in a separate trial run and each will have its own scoring system. In each trial, except innovation, the task is to climb the terrain from the bottom of the wall to the top; there is no set path for any given trial, although the breakdown of points may help the competing team to decide what path is most advantageous to traverse for each specific trial. Different goals and criteria are tested throughout the various trials. Each task is based on a scoring system of 100 points. The scoring system is as follows:
Utility- Each robot receives points, such that a robot who can carry its own weight would receive 100 points.
Navigation- Each robot initially has 100 points. The rough surface, glass, and metal ramp are classified as "super obstacles". Touching a super obstacle with any part of the robot results in a loss of 20 points per contact with each super obstacle. Touching the smaller, raised obstacles is a penalty of minus 10 points for contacting each individual obstacle. Touching the holes and slits have no score penalty.
Versatility- Each robot begins this trial with 0 points. The robot climbs the full length of the wall and is awarded 25 points for every super obstacle that it climbs over. The four possible super obstacles to climb on are the metal raised ramp, the glass, the rough and uneven surface, and the wooden ledge at the top of the wall.
Speed- The speed competition is weighted according to the fastest robot. The fastest robot receives 100 points. Every other robot receives a penalty of 10 points per every second that their robot is slower than the fastest wall climber. Therefore, a robot who can climb the wall 1 second slower than the fasted robot receives 90 points.
Innovation- Innovation is not scored based on a specific trial. Instead, each team must submit a document outlining the design and goals of the robot and its tasks. This design document must be received by DARC representatives in electronic form at least 3 weeks prior to the competition and will distributed to the judges. The judges will rank the design documents based on demonstrating unique capabilities, innovative use of technology, simplicity of design, general creativity, and interesting/noble goals for the use and application of the robot. The team with the design document deemed the best will receive 100 points, second will receive 75, third 50, and fourth 25. The outline of the content of the design document is as follows (subject to minor change):
Principle(s) of Operation (ie, how does it climb walls)
Physical dimensions: height, width, length, weight
Capacity: max speed, min turning radius, types of sensors, programmability
Diagrams: top, side, front, any special features
Click here to see the terrain
Table of Components: qualitative description, cost, manufacturer/part number
Click here to download a sample scoring
There will be a monetary prize for the overall winner determined by the summation of all possible points for each trial. The amounts of prize money and determination of prizes for individual trials is TBA.