The final rounds of MIT's action-packed annual robot competition will be held Wednesday, May 7, and Thursday, May 8, in the Johnson Athletic Center. The events are free and open to the public.
Design 2.007, as the contest is known, offers an exciting elimination tournament in which robots built by mechanical engineering students compete in performing pre-assigned tasks on a carpeted table riddled with obstacles, traps and giddy scoring opportunities.
This year's contest is "Da MIT - Yes MIT! Or, Save the Baby Beavers." Machines must do beaver-like things--fell trees, build dams, collect food--while warding off competitors, all within the allotted 45-second rounds.
The annual contest concludes the spring course, Introduction to Design and Manufacturing, taught by Alexander Slocum, professor of mechanical engineering and contest emcee. More than 100 students participate.
Kits of materials for building the machines are distributed to each student in February; they must be assembled into final products in time for the contest.
In previous years kits have included such items as computer cards, Venetian blind slats, plastic spoons, tongue depressors, paper clips, 5x7 note cards, a pencil, a one-pound bag of sand and rubber bands.
The kit for "Da MIT Yes MIT!" includes steel strips, PVC pipe, caster wheels, a Tamiya planetary gearbox kit and motor, washers, rivets, a drill and rubber bands.
The 2.007 contest was first held in 1970, and the first named contest in the course, "A Better Mousetrap," occurred in 1972. Since then, 2.007 has had titles ranging from the political ("Watergater," 1974); to the pop-cultural ("The Cuckoo's Nest," 1988) to the purely whimsical ("Tic Tech Toe," 2006). Student 'bots have had to gather plastic bottles, ping-pong balls or hockey pucks, move glass marbles and play tug of war.