You may be familiar with the old DARPA Grand Challenge. Well, consider this the Petit Challenge. Roboticists whose favorite flavor of robot is micro are being challenged to bring it in the 2010 NIST Mobile Microbotics Challenge, or Microlympics (or RoboCup). All contestants must be no greater than 600 micrometers (or rather, their robots must be), and they will compete in three grueling events:
The two-millimeter dash: self-explanatory.
Microassembly: Inserting micro-pegs into micro-holes (this can be a team excercise).
Freestyle: let your robot show off its abilities by performing any task you like. Robo-gong show.
Sounds kind of awesome to me. It’s actually a slightly different version of the RoboCup and its fun little Nanosoccer setup. I’m looking forward to the results, although this is all just another step on the path toward a robot-dominated planet. That’s cool, I’m resigned to it.