Here are some photos and comments about this year's competitions held at Tomorrow's World Live exhibition.

On 1/7/00 the national school's finals were held at this exhibition at Earls Court. These are just some notes and photos that I took when I was there. You will have to look elsewhere for the definitive results. Sorry that this takes so long to download. I have put some high resolution photos on here for the technical to pore over.

Creag and Steve did well, not as well as they had hoped, but better than they had feared.

THRUST's fast chip couldn't quite make it round the course on the day so they only took 3rd in F3. In F1, HORSEPOWER gave best to a genuine maze solver that only had to run about half the distance and a quarter of the turns. There are definitive benefits to intelligence! Still 2nd wasn't bad. In the Ratrace, I.T. had a catastrophe when it failed to bounce over a step in the course. Fortunately, good old "reliable" S.P.E.E.D. took the F2 convincingly so they ended up with a 1st. This is I.T.:

GERALD is much better than last year. Here are some photos.

It now uses the processor for a lot more functions and has three sensors. Underneath it all, it still uses a DASH drive train but the sensors now come from a computer mouse. GERALD won both F3 and Ratrace events. In the Ratrace final they were somewhat lucky as VERMINATOR runs about twice as fast but, on the final run, it overshot the braking area by about 10mm and the 5 second penalty meant that GERALD won. Here is VERMINATOR:

VERMINATOR uses radio-control car technology mostly and was much faster than the other ratracers. It runs E.T.s under 3 seconds. Nobody else gets under 5! The two rear wheels are driven and the front ones steered. It stops with a handbrake turn at the end of the course! Braking is triggered with an arm that hits the gantry at the end.

As ever, I am most interested in the mice that run in the maze. Bolton school's BLIP SQUEAK has come on from the Techno Games version and ran very well to win F1. You can find more about their robots at http://www.boltontech.org.uk/.

Aberaeron's SEMI INTELLIGENT MOUSE is another maze runner. It needs quite a lot of development to be competitive but it does show a very quick way to get into the competition.

See you next year!

 You can email queries to me at:- duncan@swallow.co.uk

Date Last Modified: 59/7/00