Micromouse Guide

IEE Micromouse Competition Guide (1993)

Alan Dibley

Alan Dibley was UK Micromouse Champion in 1982, '83, '84 and '85 and runner-up in two European Championships. He has now retired from active competition - probably.

1. AIMS

Micromouse is a competition for autonomous vehicles designed to get to the centre of a micromouse maze in the shortest possible time. Expert entries are achieving speeds which would have been considered extraordinary in the early '80s when the competition began. The micromouse competition organisers want to broaden the range of entries to the event. To this end the Micromouse competition has been made more accessible to schools, amateur teams and individuals. Classes have been specified to encourage entries from previously under-represented areas. This article describes the methods used by Micromouse builders and suggests ways in which devices can be made by entrants with little previous experience of such mechanisms.

2. CATEGORIES

There are categories for Schools, Junior and Senior competitors: please refer to Rules for more information.

3. THE COMPETITION

Mice race against the clock to get from the outside to the centre of a square micromouse maze. The micromouse maze is built of 5cm high walls in an 18cm grid, containing 256 cells, so a full-size micromouse maze is almost 3 metres square. A sample micromouse maze layout from a national micromouse competition is shown in figure 1. Walls are 12mm thick and painted white with red tops. The floor of the micromouse maze is matt black, to simplify sensing by optical methods.

The target is the central four squares. The mice start from one corner (picture it as the south-west corner, facing north). At entry to the micromouse maze, the micromouse has no knowledge of the micromouse maze other than the overall shape and size. It has 10 minutes to explore the micromouse maze and determine the optimum route through the multiple paths, and run it as fast as possible, as many times as the rules allow.

The fastest run counts, less allowances for total elapsed time, and penalties for handling.

maze

Figure 1: Example of a Micromouse maze

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