SwarmRobot competition – free PCB prizes

Been thinking of running a competition to give away some free PCBs and now that I have your attention thanks to Slashdot, here goes:

Prizes 15 PCB pairs (main controller and IR shield).

  • Individuals – 5 prizes of 1 PCB pair
  • Maker/Hacker spaces or other like minded groups – 2 prizes, each of 5 pairs of PCBs

To enter: Write a submission on what you would do with the SwarmRobot PCBs. The winners will be those displaying the best spirit of open sharing and learning in what they intend to do with the PCBs and how they intend to do this.


  • Look at this sites goals and those of the AFRON competition
  • Swarm – of robots and people creating…..
  • Individuals – can work with others via the internet
  • Groups – can work as a group or with other groups
  • XinCheJian is one such group of individuals!
  • XincCheJian wiki has a lot of SwarmRobot information and ideas
  • Be creative, but realistic – it would be great if you can follow through with your ideas and the PCBS!
  • Look at this sites goals and those of the AFRON competition

Entries will close – near the end of November. Full details with closing time and how to submit will be published shortly. If you can’t wait – then look to how dangerousprototypes run the 7400 competition – loose and flexible rules, with core goals of encouragement and having fun!


Stack of SwarmRobot PCBs
Stack of SwarmRobot PCBs

8 thoughts on “SwarmRobot competition – free PCB prizes”

  1. Dynamic systems can generate very complex behavior from simple deterministic rules. A small number of interacting robots could recreate chaotic systems that are sensitive to initial conditions. The robots dancing through time and space could recreate dynamic systems such as strange attractors. Possible applications include simulating dynamic physical or biological systems (e.g. the three body problem, double pendulum, population dynamics under ecological constraints) to generate statistical solutions for systems with unknown parameter values. Robots would communicate with each other by wireless radio, bluetooth, or infrared. Video could be used to log the activity of the robots. Automatic image processing software would recreate the robots’ movements though time and space for subsequent graphing and statistical analysis.

    1. All those ideas are interesting and match the swarm concept. But I will highlight one of the competition hints that states “Be creative, but realistic – it would be great if you can follow through with your ideas and the PCBS!”. Practical implementation of those ideas in an AtTiny2313 processor would be exceptionally difficult, even if offloading a lot of the circuit and processing to a shield!

      1. I beg to differ. The actual interactions between the robots would be governed by very simple deterministic rules: for example x->4*x*(1-x) is known to give periodic orbits of different period depending on the initial value. The complicated stuff would be logging the behaviour of the robots over time and postprocessing that information. None of that need involve any onboard electronics at all.

        1. Ah – I see your approach now – onboard communications and external video tracking.

          My initial read “latched” onto “wireless radio, bluetooth, or infrared. Video …” and my thinking was only infrared is already on board, the others will be to need be added, but competition has a focus on use of the existing PCBs. And for video to be on board such tiny (size/processing capability) robots – well that would be challenge!

          So with your ideas, for example, an additional shield could be added if the existing infrared shield was not capable to add the communication capability.

    1. Göran

      rules, judging criteria and how to submit are all being refined and will be published soon. In the meantime, get creative!

  2. One robot could use the other robots of his swarm as remote sensors… e.g. when entering a dangerous parkour/area.
    Like in a bee hive it would be less expensive to loose one of the drone bots than the master/controller.
    The master robot would position the other robots equally around him (should be possible with the IR sensors) and then try to reach a target (IR beacon). Whenever a slave/drone is lost, the drone reformat and the area/direction in which a drone was lost will not be entered… this way the master should be able to reach the beacon safely.

  3. Hi,
    Contest interesting for me and my colleagues. We would like to build robots that are able to solve a problem or task (eg find a goal). Is rewarded those who get it in less time.
    Best Regards,

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