PiPool Challenge 2017

Video from event https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BGAJ3thRtM

What is PiPool Challenge 2017?

This is an annual (in its third year) fun event that aims to bring an alternative to the "RobotWars" philosophy and just provide some computing and engineering challenges using a 12ft garden pool.

It consists of two main challenges

1: Race straight race across the pool in the fastest time.

2: Circumnavigate the pool 3 times, without touching the sides or the central red marker, in the fastest time.

Venue and Dates

The event takes place on a sunny day in Euxton, Lancashire (near Chorley) in my (Simon Walters aka @cymplecy) back garden.

This year, the event is taking place on Saturday 2nd September with practice sessions from 10am to 1pm and challenges taking place from 2 to 4 pm

I'm not sure whether to enter?

Then why not follow #PiPool17 on twitter and come along on the day just to watch others and/or have a go programming a house bot using Scratch or Python :)

The Rules

All craft must be no bigger than an A4 piece of paper (210 mm width 297 overall length)

Height from bottom to top also maximum of 297 mm

Challenge 1

This is a simple race across the pool BUT your craft must be remotely commanded to start moving. After that - no external control is allowed.

You are allowed to hold the boat until the go signal is given.

So at a minimum, the craft should have propulsion system and some remote signalling method such as WiFi, Bluetooth,InfraRed etc to allow it to start moving when the starter says go!

[This is a change from last year where craft were allowed to be running and then placed into the pool at the go! signal]

Challenge 2

This requires your craft to circumnavigate the pool 3 times, without touching the sides or the red bucket in the middle of the pool.

All craft taking part in Challenge 2 MUST use some form of on-board, programmable controller - such as a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, microBit or ESP8266 type - to control the crafts navigation and NOT rely on fixed behaviour (e.g no fixed rudder /steering allowed :-)

Once the go signal is given, you must either remotely command it to start its engine (or manually switch it on) then the craft should make all its own decisions on speed and steering.

The boat will be started at one side, pointing towards the centre of the pool.

(See online simulator https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/161889306/#editor)


Q1: Can I put my craft in the pool with the engine running

A: No.

In Challenge1, your craft engine(s) must not be running until remotely commanded to start

In Challenge2, your craft engine(s) must not be running until remotely commanded to start or by pressing on-board switch

Q2: Can I use a leaf blower to blow my craft around the pool?

A: Yes! But the leaf blower must be autonomously computer controlled in the same manner as a craft

Q3: Do I need to bring own WiFi hotspot device

A: No- I have a UniFi setup (even covering the garden) and can create any SSID with any password encryption standard you need - so if developing at home - just bring along the name/password of your WiFi and you can enter them securely into my system for the day and delete them on leaving

Q4: Can I enter a submarine?

A: Certainly, but as well as not touching the sides, your craft must not touch the bottom of the pool

Q5: Is #bluedot control allowed to start the craft?

A: Yes

Q6: Can I place markers or beacons around the pool or on central buoy for guidance purposes?

A: Yes - feel free

Q7: What is maximum voltage that I'm allowed to employ to power my craft

A: 50V

Q8: Can I add substances to change the nature of the the water in the pool to aid my craft?

A: NO!!!!!!!!