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Sixty Teams Selected for 6.270 Robotics Competition this IAP

By Eric Berry

STAFF REPORTER

MIT’s famous autonomous robot design contest, 6.270, completed its participant registration, and contestants were selected for the next Independent Activity Period’s competition.

93 teams enter this year’s lottery, a number slightly lower than the more than 100 teams who entered last year. All members of teams wishing to enter the contest were required to attend a registration session in the Chu Lounge (38-201).

Although the lottery had a weighting towards those who had previously applied and been rejected, seniority was not considered. The members of the 60 teams were announced on Sunday.

The table design and the rules of this year’s competition will remain a secret until the first day of IAP. The Tech has learned that the name of this year’s competition is “Chicken,” although no other details were disclosed.

Each of the 60 teams in this year’s contest will be given three weeks to assemble a fully autonomous robot using sensors, electronic components, batteries, motors, and LEGO pieces.

The robots are programmed using interactive C - an interpreted form of the C programming language. The programs must be sufficient to control the robot for the entire duration of the match.

“Participating in the contest last year was one of the most interesting and engaging experiences I’ve had at MIT ... my teammates and I basically didn't do anything else but work away at our robot for three-and-a-half weeks,” said David S. Bailey ’02, a student organizer and member of last year’s second-place team.

Those who have made it through the lottery eagerly anticipate the competition. However, many are just as eager to learn how to build and program the robots. “Even though our team wants to do well, the main reason I am taking 6.270 to have fun and learn something while I’m at it.” said Rahul Agrawal ’03, a student who was lotteried out of the competition last year.

Many members of the MIT community are interested in the project, but are unable to devote all of IAP to an extra-curricular contest. “I really wanted to participate in 6.270, but my IAP schedule is just too filled. It would be helpful if there was another contest like this some other time - maybe extended over a semester, like a toned-down version of 2.007” said Wen-Fu Wu ’02.

6.270 is held every IAP, and began in 1987 with the “Battle of the C-Robots” contest. It culminates in a widely viewed contest held in 26-100, with overflow in 34-101. More information about the contest can be found on the 6.270 web site, <http://web.mit..edu/6.270/www>