Micromouse - IEEE79-2
Robots and Systems
Back to - Micromouse - The early years 1978-9 22 November 2004

IEEE spectrum 1979
right switch hit the right wall, the right motor was powered forward and the left pulsed lor a few milliseconds for reverse motion. The left motor then was turned on for forward motion, while the right motor was stopped This sequence continued, causing the mouse to move lorward while bumping into the right wall at intervals, for intersections, where a right turn was needed, the mouse simply followed the right wall forward. In the case of a left turn, the front switch was activated when the mouse bumped into a forward wall, turning the right motor forward and reversing the left motor long enough to make a 90-degree turn to the left.
    The total parts outlay was approximately $50 for each mouse. Power was provided by two battery packs, each containing four Size A Ni-Cd rechargeable batteries. One battery pack was for the motors and one for the logic. The choice of following the right wall was arbitrary.

Smart mouse undone by speed
    Cattywampus was one of the smarter mice. Its only problem was its poor speed control. Because it used ordinary dc motors instead of stepper ones, it would roar down the maze's opening straightaway, with no control, until it slammed into a wall, whereupon it would get stuck and be unable to negotiate a turn.
    Designed and built by Michael Sipser, a graduate engineering student at the University of California at Berkeley, and Howard Katseff of Bell Laboratories, Holmdel, N.J., Cattywampus (Fig. 5) won Ihe "most ingenious design" award despite the fact that it couldn't solve the maze on its three official tries. It was one of the earliest entries in the contest, having participated at the first time trial in Anaheim, in June 1978, when Mr. Katseff was also doing graduate work at Berkeley.
    Despite its unsuccessful performance, this smart mouse was based on a 6802 microprocessor (Fig. 6) with a learning algorithm: two phases that governed its locomotion, l X-

Allan - The amazing micromice see how they won 63

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