Greetings, interns.  As you prepare to complete your internship at Cyberdyne Systems, you will be contributing to our large portfolio of “hunter-killer” robots.  Since Cyberdyne Systems is heavily involved with a top secret project codenamed “Skynet”, Cyberdyne Systems can only bring one of your products to market.  As stipulated by company policy, you and the other engineering interns must fight to the death to determine who can create the best robot.  However, HR informs us that we cannot terminate our interns, so you will create a robot to act as your proxy in the competition.  Further details follow.  Best of luck!

-- The Lab 10 TAs (Terminator Assistants)

Quick Links


The Competition

For the challenge, your team must build a robot that will compete in several one-on-one predator-prey competitions.  In order to assure us that your robots are capable of standing up to the competition, there will be a qualification phase that all robots must pass to compete.  First, we will describe some of the tools at your disposal.


We are pleased to bring online the Howie Positioning System, or HPS, for this competition. It provides you with state-of-the art absolute positioning for your robot to track down our enemies, and mimics Cyberdyne Systems GPS that your robots would use in the field.  You can mount an HPS marker on your platform to be able to detect its position absolutely in the reference frame of the field, as well as the position of any other robot on the field.


In order to interface with HPS, you can use the system of your choice.  However, the TAs will be officially supporting Matlab as the control system.  We will provide you with starter code to automatically deal with the HPS network interface so you can get to writing your control algorithms.  We will also assist with flashing the NXT bricks with our control library so you can control the system from Matlab directly.

Robot Specifications

In order to be allowed to compete, your robot must conform to the following parameters:

The Field

The field is a 5’ x 5’ open area marked by HPS markers in each corner.  These tags are 20, 21, 22, and 23, in no particular order (however, we will do our best to keep the /same/ relative order of the tags now that they’ve been set out).  Note: Being out of bounds is determined if the robot is outside the blue line, not past the markers.

Qualification Phase

For the qualification round, you will be placed in the field with a TA-provided dummy.  You must go up to it and tag it with your stunning device.  Then, we will reset it, and you must avoid being tagged by the dummy robot for one minute, the length of a competition round.

To advance, you must complete all of these tasks.  Your score is the maximum of three attempts, but you do not have to repeat a task you completed successfully in a subsequent attempt.  If any part of the robot touches the ground outside the field boundaries, your round is ended immediately.

Competition Rules

A single match comprises of four one-minute rounds.  In each, one robot is designated the predator, and another is the prey.  If the predator successfully tags the prey in one minute, the predator is awarded a point.  Otherwise, the prey is awarded a point.  Then, the robots switch roles.  The one with the most points after the four rounds advances to the next round.  In the event of a tie, each team will individually chase down an improved TA-provided dummy.  The team who catches it in the shortest time advances.

If during competition a robot touches the ground outside of the field boundaries, they are disqualified.  If your robot pushes another robot outside of the field without hitting a tagger, the robots will be reset on opposite corners (with a time pause).  Abusing this is grounds for disqualification, left to the TA’s discretion.

The bracket structure is to be determined by the number of teams qualifying for the competition round.

Grading Rubric

You will have to print a separate grade sheet (provided on the website) for your demo, but what follows is an outline of the grading criteria:



Robot fits in the sizing cube, has a stunning device mounted, and does not have disallowed components.

Qualification phase


Robot connects to server and prints out its coordinates in the camera frame in the terminal before beginning


Robot successfully tagged dummy robot in under one minute


Robot successfully avoided dummy robot for one minute

(partial credit: 1pt / 2 seconds)

Competition phase


Robot achieved at least 75 points in the qualification phase and advanced to competition phase.


Robot reached quarter-finals


Robot reached semi-finals


Robot reached finals




The qualification rounds will be held in the REL on Tuesday, April 28 during lab period.  A signup sheet has been released to sign up for a time slot.  The competition will occur on Wednesday, April 29 at 10:30 in the REL.  HPS and a dummy robot will go online on Thursday and will be available for your use until demo time.  Terminator Assistants will be available during posted office hours to assist you with Matlab and other issues.

Note about grading: TAs are encouraged to compete in the challenge.  The only distinction is that the TAs are not allowed to grade nor referee a round in which their team is a participant.