Robot Webpages


Rules Committee Rulings


2002 - Chicken

We bring you now to the not-too-distant future. It is a future where the transformation of our society from agrarian to a modern industrial utopia has been fully achieved. Cities are massive, layered constructs, the pinnacle of efficiency and space usage. Their inhabitants must, however, be fed.

Plains states speckled with homely farmhouses have been replaced by vast rectilinear tracts of hydroponic grain, huge vats of nutrient slurry, millions of cloned cows that moo in unison, and acellular sheep composed entirely of wool fibers. Science, however, has not completely conquered the farm. One lone, proud animal remains.

The chicken.

Too fickle to conform to breeding programs, and too specialized to succumb to robotic replacement, the world's chickens still produce natural eggs, such that the omelette has become a symbol of The Way Things Used To Be. The world's chickens all reside in a massive complex of pens in central Nebraska, fully automated.

Unfortunately, a recent massive accident resulting from a programming bug has released untold millions of chickens from their pens. They peck and cluck at random, depositing their eggs in a scattered manner, rendering useless the automatic and immobile collecting machines.

It is up to you to produce the world's first generation of Cybernetic Chickens, capable of autonomously recognizing, handling, and depositing these eggs in the collecting machines before they go bad. You must realize that if these eggs go bad, they could unleash a cloud of noxious vapors worse than any chemical weapon.

Time is of the essence. Godspeed!

The Playing Field

The layout of the contest table is shown in Figure 1. All measurements are guaranteed to be accurate to within 1/4 inches of the actual dimensions, though the only official measurements are those of the actual tables. The tables may also have seams, where sections of the table physically meet. Make sure your robot is capable of facing the imperfections of the board.

Figure 1

The surface has a wall that runs around 3 sides, and a slight lip between the board and two troughs. On each side of the board is a square platform, placed by the opponent.

The robots begin on either end of the table. The patterns on the starting area allow the robot to determine which side it is on.

The balls located at various points on the table are 4 inches in diameter and consist of dense plastic.


  • Each match lasts 60 seconds, during which time the robots attempt to score points. When time has expired, the robot with the most points wins.
  • No human intervention is allowed during the match.
  • Robots must conform to all requirements listed in the course notes.

The score that each robot receives is determined by the final state of the contest table after the match has been played. Balls in the tubes count for different points, determined by their location - the nth ball in a tube is worth n points.

In the case that there is a tie, robots which at any point did something during the match that directly improved their score instead of preventing the opposing robot from scoring receive a win, and those that did not receive a loss. Thus, in a tied situation, a double-win, double-loss, and a single win are all possible outcomes.