MicroMouse Rules

These rules were revised November 30, 2001 and are valid for the Spring 2002 contest. The 2001 revisions are: (1) The MicroMouse competition is intended to be a design contest, culminating the aggregate knowledge earned in a typical undergraduate degree. To support this, the participants will submit a report including a summary of the project, schematics, layout, Bill of Materials (with costs), and software code. The participants will present their design for review and answer questions from the judges prior to competing on the maze. The following rules were adapted from 1986 OFFICIAL RULES for NORTH AMERICAN MICROMOUSE CONTEST.

    1. In this contest the contestant or team of contestants design and build small self-contained robots (micromice) to negotiate a maze in the shortest possible time.
    1. All contestants must be an undergraduate IEEE student member at a Region 6 school from within the Area of Region 6 in which contest they will compete at the time of entry in the MicroMouse contest. Any student who graduates anytime during the Fall-Spring academic year in which the contest is held is eligible to enter the contest. A student graduating after competing in the contest still remains eligible to compete in succeeding Area, Region, and higher contests as an undergraduate student. Up to two graduate students per team are also allowed as stated in Rule A.4 below, providing they meet all other requirements.
    2. All contestants must be an IEEE Student Members or must have submitted an application for membership (and have it accepted by their Student Branch Counselor) prior to entry in the Student Branch and/or Chapter Contest.
    3. The contestant(s) will submit their design in a document that will include a summary description of their mouse, schematics, layout, Bill of Materials (with associated costs) and code prior to the competition. This information will be presented, in five minutes or less, and the contestant(s) will answer any questions posed by the judges of their design.
    4. The MicroMouse entry may be the effort of an individual or a team. In the case of a team it should be possible to demonstrate that each individual made a significant contribution and that they are all IEEE members.
    5. A team may consist of up to five people. A team of four or five people may include no more than two graduate students. A team of two or three people may have no more than one graduate student. A team consisting of a single graduate student is not allowed.
    6. All entrants to the Student Branch Area contests must declare their intention to enter the contest at least 2 weeks before the date of the Area contest. This notice must be submitted to the current Student Activities Coordinator, appropriate Area, Region 6, by mail, email, or phone (see the names and addresses at the end of this document).
    7. If the total number of declared mice, from all schools, is less than the number of eligible schools to compete in that Area, all shall be eligible to compete in the area contest. Two or more mice of near identical design from the same school are not allowed. If more mice than the number of eligible schools to compete are entered in the contest (ie., four mice from the same school), a qualifying competition will be held in the morning. A qualifying contest might involve, for example, having the mice transverse a specific numbers of cells.
  3. RULES FOR THE MicroMouse
    1. A MicroMouse shall be self-contained (no remote controls). A MicroMouse shall not use an energy source employing a combustion process.
    2. A MicroMouse shall not leave any part of its body behind while negotiating the maze.
    3. A MicroMouse shall not jump over, fly over, climb, scratch, cut, burn, mark, damage, or destroy the walls of the maze.
    4. A MicroMouse shall not be larger either in length or in width, than 25 centimeters. The dimensions of a MicroMouse that changes its geometry during a run shall not be greater than 25 cm x 25 cm. There are no restrictions on the height of a MicroMouse.
    5. The total cost of the mouse (in materials, labor is assumed to be free) may not exceed $500.00. This is judged on actual cost and market value of any donated materials used in the mouse. Contestants should be prepared to present a list of materials and their market values to the judges upon request. Since market values may vary from source to source, contestants should be prepared with catalogs or quotes to confirm unusual prices. The judge's decision shall be final in these matters.
    6. Any violation of these rules will constitute immediate disqualification from the contest and ineligibility for the associated prizes.
    1. The maze is composed of multiples of an 18 cm x 18 cm unit square. The maze comprises 16 x 16 unit squares. The walls of the maze are 5 cm high and 1.2 cm thick (assume 5% tolerance for mazes). The outside wall encloses the entire maze.
    2. The sides of the maze walls are white, the tops of the walls are red, and the floor is black. The maze is made of wood, finished with non-gloss paint.
      1. WARNING: Do not assume the walls are consistently white, or that the tops of the walls are consistently red, or that the floor is consistently black. Fading may occur; parts from different mazes may be used. Do not assume the floor provides a given amount of friction. It is simply painted plywood and may be quite slick. The maze floor may be constructed using multiple sheets of plywood. Therefore there may be a seam between the two sheets on which any low-hanging parts of a mouse may snag.
    3. The start of the maze is located at one of the four corners. The start square is bounded on three sides by walls. The start line is located between the first and second squares. That is, as the mouse exits the corner square, the time starts. The destination goal is the four cells at the center of the maze. At the center of this zone is a post, 20 cm high and each side 2.5 cm. (This post may be removed if requested.) The destination square has only one entrance.
    4. Small square zones (posts), each 1.2 cm x 1.2 cm, at the four corners of each unit square are called lattice points. The maze is so constituted that there is at least one wall at each lattice point.
    5. Multiple paths to the destination square are allowed and are to be expected. The destination square will be positioned so that a wall-hugging mouse will NOT be able to find it.
    1. Each contesting MicroMouse is allocated a total of 10 minutes of access to the maze from the moment the contest administrator acknowledges the contestant(s) and grants access to the maze. Any time used to adjust a mouse between runs is included in the 10 minutes. Each run (from the start cell to the center zone) in which a mouse successfully reaches the destination square is given a run time. The minimum run time shall be the mouse’s official time. First prize goes to the mouse with the shortest official time. Second prize to the next shortest, and so on. NOTE, again, that the 10-minute timer continues even between runs. Mice that do not enter the center square will be ranked by the maximum number of cells they consecutively transverse without being touched. All mice who enter the center square with the maze for another run, a one-time penalty of 30 seconds will be added to the mouse’s best time.
    2. After the maze is disclosed, the operator shall not feed information on the maze into the MicroMouse however, switch positions may be changed. See Rule D.1.
    3. The illumination, temperature, and humidity of the room shall be those of an ambient environment. (40 to 120 degrees F, 0% to 95% humidity, non-condensing).
      1. BEWARE: Do not make any assumptions about the amount of sunlight, incandescent light, or fluorescent light that may be present at the contest site.
    4. The run timer will start when front edge of the mouse crosses the start line and stops when the front edge of the mouse crosses the finish line. The start line is at the boundary between the starting unit square and the next unit square clockwise. The finish line is at the entrance to the destination square.
    5. Every time the mouse leaves the start square, a new run begins. If the mouse has not entered the destination square, the previous run is aborted. For example, if a mouse re-enters the start square (before entering the destination square) on a run, that run is aborted, and a new run will be deemed begun, with a new time that starts when the starting square is exited.
    6. The mouse may, after reaching the destination square, continue to navigate the maze, for as long as their total maze time allows.
    7. If a mouse continues to navigate the maze after reaching the destination square, the time taken will not count toward any run. Of course, the 10-minute timer continues to run. When the mouse next leaves the start square, a new run will start. Thus, a mouse may and should make several runs without being touched by the operator. It should make its own way back to the beginning to do so.
    8. The judges reserve the right to ask the operator for an explanation of the MicroMouse. The judges also reserve the right to stop a run, declare disqualification, or give instructions as appropriate (e.g., if the structure of the maze is jeopardized by continuing operation of the mouse).
    9. A contestant may not feed information on the maze to the MicroMouse. Therefore, changing ROMs or downloading programs is NOT allowed once the maze is revealed. However, contestants are allowed to:
    10. Change switch settings (e.g. to select algorithms)
    11. Replace batteries between runs
    12. Adjust sensors
    13. Change speed settings
    14. Make repairs
    15. However, a contestant may not alter a mouse in a manner that alters its weight (e.g. removal of a bulky sensor array or switching to lighter batteries to get better speed after mapping the maze is not allowed). The judges shall arbitrate.
    16. There is only one official IEEE MicroMouse contestated in Rule 4.1, mice that do not enter the center square will be ranked by the maximum number of cells they consecutively transverse without being touched.
    17. A rotating trophy is awarded to the first place mouse. Verbal recognition and certificates will be given to the top three mice among those who are competing for the first time. If you and your mouse are first-time contestants, be sure to so stipulate when you register for the contest and notify the contest judge at the time of the contest.
    18. If requested, a break will be provided for a mouse after any run if another mouse is waiting to compete. The 10-minute timer will stop. When the mouse is re-entered, the 10-minute timer will continue. The judges shall arbitrate on the granting of such breaks.