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View Full Version : No more Micromouse at IITB Techfest



anupamdubey
08-16-2009, 04:47 PM
Recently I found that there is no micromouse event this year in IIT tecfest. The reasons are still not cleared by them. Last words by the coordinators of the Techfest this year ...IT COMES to BE SATURATED...AND STUDENTS are not showing interest and enthusiasm.In my own words i love this event when i was in my final year of engineering.It is a shock for me and my students that such a great international event has come to a halt.
It is so devastating that it is only international platform for Indian students to show their skill.It will result a long term effect for indian technical societies as such competitions are very few.Again i really need your views for the topic. You can found our successful runs in Micromouse youtube-dubeyanupam

debu
08-16-2009, 08:45 PM
I don't want to speculate on the reasons why there is no micromouse event this year. But I must say that I am impressed with the complexity of the other event. If students are able to compete successfully in the other events, I doubt that anyone is going to miss a micromouse event.

Regards,

Debu :)

vikas
08-17-2009, 12:08 AM
The smartest brains must have some reasons :) .

I never found micromouse interesting . Everything could be bought commercially ( hw / sw / firmware) and its too easy for someone with money to get a decent micro mouse , which would outperform 99 % of self made ones.

Anyhow i find the current choice of events better , maybe because i love idea of swarm robotics. And the other event looks like robosoccer in starting phases.

Maybe this would interesting -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5y-0SPdnVQ ( scary fast ;) )

debu
08-17-2009, 08:39 AM
(off-topic) @vikas: Since you posted that video from SRG'09, did you know that those robots are autonomous? According to the rules (clickie) (http://guppy.mpe.nus.edu.sg/srg/srg09/mm.pdf) the robots are supposed to be RF controlled from a PC equipped with a vision system to track the position of the ball and the bots. Imagine the speed of image processing for that!

Regards,

Debu :)

rao
08-17-2009, 12:27 PM
The only international event?? Honestly didnt know that techfest was an international event.

Micromouse is a good event no doubt (still remember that discussion I had regarding the micromouse a long time back :) )

Robocon is the only international event I know that Indian students participate in, and it doesnt have a micromouse theme.

Moreover, in order to participate in an international event, you just need to have a good robot and not the stamp of approval from any IIT.

Why are you disappointed?? and why should a techfest have the same theme every year?

Rao

asimov_18
08-18-2009, 12:56 AM
all the three reasons stated above are true............

Indian micro mouse are really pathetic..........(why?) I believe Indian students think about winning competition money rather than making a good international mice.........they don't share information unlike UK/US/JAPAN (you can find numerous design pages with details and circuit diagram ). But here not one Indian describes his/her mouse with circuit and code details. So in real sense there is no sharing of Info and students are busy reinventing the same things generation after generation...........sad :(.............good to say Indians are individually smart and socially fools........ I hardly found and DC motor Mice......most of the Indian mice are stepper motor craps.........battery guzzlers.........that why Indian mice builders search for Lithium ion battery to run micro mice for longer duration.............


Srilankan mice were DC motor mice with wheel encoders....beautiful and efficient........their design was logical...two seprate controller one for the maze algo and other for implementing PID algo for DC motors....I think it was PIC controller based.........(what I had sen 2 yrs back).............

from past 2 yrs IIT micro muse became boring since the event was poorly conducted...in a big hall the stage was far away one couldnt see the mice in real only TV coverage on projected screens.............and organizers were bigger crap.............didn't even make presentation very interesting...........

Good IIT stopped micromouse this time I really got bored watching it.......I can see much better mouse video on Utube rather go and see it there.............


and what to say about commercial interest it looks more like a fare than a tech festival........shops selling pizzas.cakes pastries, ice creams, some shops selling Tshirts, solar torches,robotics components shops and what not..... etc........the louder the music at the event more students got pulled to that event..........

vikas
08-18-2009, 01:22 AM
I totally agree on what asimov said Indian micromouse....

It could have been better if every one released the code at end of the event , so next year something better came. But sadly indian micromouse are not so,everything is kept hush hush.

On the other hand look at the international counterparts they release most stuff in GPL and even vendors like SparkFun etc give everything free ( Schematics,codes etc ) with their products.

Also I dont like the blatant commercialization too , fleecing students with courses and what not . But if the students are dumb and lazy they deserve this.

Maybe attitude/interests of the people involved is very different.

anupamdubey
08-18-2009, 01:52 PM
Really i also agree with Mr Asimov that HUMAN KNOWLEDGE BELONGS TO THE WHOLE WORLD.But This year we have opened electroons.com and logicbrigade.com to widespread the knowledge of building these stuff's.Atleast we itself can provide our efforts to fix these things down.As Mr rao has said micromouse in not a international event i think he is not gone through Electronics for you issue which put robocon and micro mouse on the same rack.Again international participants from different part of the world arrive here to show their talents.
This time SWARN robotics need a wireless link specially need a 2.4 GHz transciever module which again restricts the students to develop their own rather then buying it from TR***.NEXUS again is conducting workshops in the same way selling TR** prototypes ,forcing students to this events. :?: :?:

virgo
08-19-2009, 12:44 AM
I never found micromouse interesting . Everything could be bought commercially ( hw / sw / firmware) and its too easy for someone with money to get a decent micro mouse , which would outperform 99 % of self made ones.
Techfest micromouse rules do not allow anyone to use ready made kits or parts. I have been participating in micromouse for last 3 years and I have not seen the mouse with ready made parts that is in top positions.


I hardly found and DC motor Mice......most of the Indian mice are stepper motor craps.........
yes, you hardly find any DC motor mice, because the kind of DC motor with encoders that is required for the DC mouse costs a fortune (Rs 10,000 to 15,000 per motor). I have only seen only two winning DC mouse in last three years.
Last year's winner in the professional category had faulhaber motors that were imported and was priced around 12000 Rs / each , Also the winning team in student category from srilanka had bought the two faulhaber motors with the wheel assembly for Rs 20,000 from e-bay (how lucky !!).

We had once tried making the DC mouse using off-the-shelf parts (using the encoders in the computer wheel mouse and simple toy DC motors) but We had to switch to steppers motors to meet the deadlines. I still have plans for resuming this project


battery guzzlers.........that why Indian mice builders search for Lithium ion battery to run micro mice for longer duration.............
Yes most mouse has lithium ion batteries, But I have seen one winning micromouse by ashish bhat using Ni-Cd batteries and using onboard step-up regulator , you see again it comes to ingenious design !!!


Srilankan mice were DC motor mice with wheel encoders....beautiful and efficient........their design was logical...two seprate controller one for the maze algo and other for implementing PID algo for DC motors

why to use the two controllers when it can be done with one controller (and it is a kind of challenge to complete everything with limited resources). Me with my Friend has tried implementing various designs of the micromouse on various controllers starting from 8085 to ATmega 128, we tried implementing it on the ATmega8535 which had only 512 bytes of SRAM and it was a challenge to implement the depth first search algorithm on it and was very interesting (we used to move the data from SRAM to EEPROM to make space in SRAM, and bring it back when required, It was similar to "demand paging" that most of the modern operating systems do). Although we later realized that microcontrollers with bigger memory exists and moved to those microcontrollers nevertheless it was interesting working with limited resources and still completing the task. I still have plans for implementing micromouse on ATmega 8.

I have been working on and off the micromouse with my friend for around 3 years and I think it is the perfect platform for an "engineer". It involves everything that an engineer should be good at - mechanical design, circuit design, sensors, algorithms and embedded programming.


I think micromouse is not the event which an "average engineer" like me can crack it in the first go (unless you do "ready made stuffs" or you are a super genious).
By "average engineer" here. I mean the engineer who has

1) a negligible support from colleage-faculty for doing tech things,
2) whose faculties/seniors have never worked/heard of any other microcontroller other than 8051 family.
3) whose lab hardly has any working CRO (and even if it has, you can not freely access it when-ever you wants without going through the chain and pain of permissions )
4) Negligible access to internet ( cyber cafe is the only option).
5) very less money in the pocket to order online or buy ready made boards or hi-fi microcontrollers.
6) who is surrounded by internal and external exams all the time
6) etc etc

I am one such "Average Engineer" with passion for micromouse. and it has took almost three techfest for our mouse to reach the centre of the maze (Each mouse was designed with off-the-shelf parts and having no "ready-made-modules" ). Following is the summary of our attempts


1) Techfest 2006 We could not clear the elimination,

2) Techfest 2007 Cleared the elimination but could not reach the center, our program had a bug(it was accessing out of bound memory of an array ) which did not show up on our 5 X 5 maze, but showed up in the actual maze of 16 X 16. This was our final chance to compete as a student.

3) Techfest 2008 micromouse reaches the center of the maze with decent speed and gets second price in the professional category.

Micromouse is a big event, I know people who has been hooked to it for 15 years, some student is doing research around it, and some university is having a separate practical course to design a micromouse.

I have never worked on the micromouse for prize money, I always wanted to see my mouse reaching the centre of a 16 X 16 maze and techfest is the only means I can do that. ( As a matter of fact the Maze walls and posts of techfest maze were imported from singapore and costs nearly 70,000 Rs )

It is sad to know the demise of a a great Event, when only handful Indian Engineers have seen their mouse reaching center of the maze till now.

vikas
08-19-2009, 02:56 AM
@virgo - Nice to know your story.

Well i still believe it comes down to resources , your examples prove it, Access to money and some brain will on an average give the team an edge.

And i know full kits are not allowed , But with money ull build stuff which will outperform the kits anyday.

rao
08-19-2009, 06:34 AM
As Mr rao has said micromouse in not a international event i think he is not gone through Electronics for you issue which put robocon and micro mouse on the same rack.

compare this with


Honestly didnt know that techfest was an international event.


Mr. Dubey, as your post was related to techfest, I was wondering if IIT techfest was anything of an international event... and I am pretty sure it is not. You were speaking as if only the winners of techfest move to the international micromouse.

Anyways, that is not the topic at hand. I know one thing for sure, if you release the code in India, most of them will use the same code and call it their own.

Its all about the resources. And hopefully with the on-come of robotic part suppliers emerging in India, I the parts required will finally be within reach of those who want it. Still sucks that our universities dont fund studdents who want to participate in competitions.

Rao

asimov_18
08-19-2009, 09:00 PM
Hi Rao,
Think of it this way even if the code is made public and ppl tend to call it theirs its alright as every one will have access to the code. So in order to win the code or hardware will have to be improved upon else everyones mouse will come first....so will will have a lot of 10-20 mice coming first with same hardware and software......



asimov

DeveshSamaiya
08-20-2009, 10:44 AM
I think it is very sad that micromouse has come to a halt. We tried our hands for micromouse last year we cleared the elimination round. This year we were having much good concepts and a fast running mouse with center reaching algorithm. It was a very shocking fact for me that micromouse is stopped by the IIT.

Ok smone above said "Why should a techfest has same theme every year." IIT said that the event was saturated, its totally illogical.

I found many people at IIT powai last year techfest who were wondering around the place of competition of micrmouse, who were searching for concept and resources so that they can appear with thier full potential in next year micromouse.

I think indian student didnt get a chance to show even 1% of their technical skills in micromouse. Micromouse was on its way to gain popularity. Now its stopped.

I think it should be started by some open authority like IEEE india or any other engineering association and the competition should be open.

virgo
08-20-2009, 03:56 PM
Well i still believe it comes down to resources , your examples prove it, Access to money and some brain will on an average give the team an edge.

yes vikas you are correct, it all boils down to easy access to resources, and for the same reason I really appreciate your roboshop@RI initiative. I had thought of documenting a "basic open source micromouse" which can be made under 1000 Rs. With micromouse being cancelled, I have lost that desire too.


IIT said that the event was saturated, its totally illogical.

Yes, I completely agree. Given an B.E/B.tech engineer has only 2-3 techfest to see in his engineering years, Both the audience and participants would change every 2-3 years.

If they say that it has become saturated for audience, it is completely illogical, micromouse is not a theatre/drama/movie which you put out if there is not enough audience.

If they say it has become saturated for participants, again I think they are wrong, as I have seen the increase in no of participants year after year, may be we can poll here on RI.

I think only they are saturated of organizing it :).



I think it should be started by some open authority like IEEE india or any other engineering association and the competition should be open.

yes, it should be started by some open authority so that the participants that failed this year can improve their design and participate next year, with a warranty that event will not be cancelled next year.

With micromouse cancelled this year and no open authority to conduct it every year. I think many "micromouse dreams" would remain "micromouse dreams" and will only add to "ever wandering ghostly souls".

anupamdubey
08-20-2009, 06:00 PM
Thank you virgo i agree that students really need practical guidance.
Resources not only will solve the trouble.Past five years I have tried my best to overcum this. Result is that three batches from our town(JABALPUR) of MP qualified in micromouse event this year.Although our mouses have not reached center, but we feel proud that our studs had worked too hard and this year we were planning to implement floodfill.
In our city it is too hard to buy parts so we went to mumbai for buying parts 6 months before the techfest.This event is not only a technical festival for us but it is open plateform for young engineers. In colleges students dream about this events as it is rare to be organised in other parts of country.One important point i want to state is ,
If resources and practical knowledge based studies is provided in private colleges we can produce a lot of skillful engineers.
And There are a number of hobbyist like us who face similar problems.[/quote]

SandyRobon
08-21-2009, 01:28 AM
Completely agreed with you virgo, its sad that micromouse at techfest has come to an halt. We all micromouse-lovers were trying hard to get to THAT international level.

see youself this video of dc-motor based micromouse of the students of VJTI,mumbai ("http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOkr-NMitU0")
Not bad at all!

Concept of micromouse in our country is new(4-6yrs),not old as in case of Japan or US(25-28yrs.)We needed time to improve, looking at this video i think we were improving,only for a couple of years from now, we would have reached THAT international level.



Techfest's micromouse event was a BIG platform for us, its very sad that its not there now..........

samurai_01
08-21-2009, 01:41 AM
i have enquired the IIT-B oragnizers handeling the TECHFEST 2010 regarding micromouse and the reply i got was that there wiil be micromouse this year... they didnt tell rest of the details but said that their site is in process of updation ............
so its clear that MICROMOUSE will be there this year.... so cheer up everyone
:D

P.S Sorry for wrong info... see my post below....

SandyRobon
08-21-2009, 01:51 AM
are u sure, samurai_01 ?
Great !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

DeveshSamaiya
08-21-2009, 04:55 PM
Not this is not the case i also talked to the co ordinators but...they said that it is not there....
u can checkout this thread in techfest forum...
http://www.techfest.org/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=e62c8b50b94f8fc1783f982f4fb30d 63&topic=48.msg133#new

allbits
08-21-2009, 09:40 PM
"saturation" !

Does that word mean the event has generated the maximum possible technical innovation/participation/results? If thats what it means, well, the organisers have to come out of the well and take a peek at the outside world.

ANyway, its THEIR event, and they do have the right to delete/add any event without discussion or notice. But what I have noticed, is, they persist to enrol the home team for all events. LIke robowars last time. I remember IITB team was knocked out, but they did get in for the finals rounds.
Of all things, if home team have not participated, it would have been a better and FAIR competition.

Its time we have a better competition, especially out of the campuses, and more on the professional side. That will make things more transparent. Something like the SRG. May be, RI can start one?
say RIG? (Robotics India Games??) :D

:twisted:

(Guess this thread has to be shifted to "competitions")

rao
08-21-2009, 10:27 PM
give me 5 years... I am going to start one..

Rao

samurai_01
08-22-2009, 11:12 AM
sorry for wrong info
i got a new mail in the morning today from coordinator saying that THERE WILL BE NO MICROMOUSE THIS YEAR...
i am sorry too for posting wrong information

shreek1123581321
09-16-2009, 09:11 PM
I am a pass out, but i made micromouse for three years. and this year it is shocking that there is no micromouse in techfest. and there is no convincing reason for it. i read somewhere that " micromouse is now saturated", i say its bullshit! this is just the start. we have to do much better. somewhere else i read "indian micromouse sucks", maybe its true, but then just stopping the event is not at all the correct move! how is that going to help?? 'we cant do it well, so lets just stop trying!!' what the hell??

for me, i believe that micromouse is the biggest event in the whole world and hence has most resources on internet, and through that an engineering student learns a lot, and hence it should be promoted, not stopped!

i condemn this decision strongly, and whoever has made this decision must be a parochial sophomore, who understands only the entertainment part in an event and nothing else.