Robot Games 2001 

Letter of Thanks from SFRSA President, David Calkins

Well, the Annual Fall Robot Games and Expo at the Exploratorium was a roaring success. More robots than anyone can remember. And all those contestants! I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who had never before competed but brought their bots to compete or show.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came, but some people in particular:

  •  Every single person who brought a 'bot. These shows couldn't happen with out. You guys are the best.
  • Jon Nebenfuhr who got there early, made coffee and manned the booth for so long. he also made a very generous donation to the RSA. Thanks Jon!
  • Sam Coniglio, for all his great record keeping, now lost to time (but that's another story.)
  • Ken Mochel, who manned the booth and was instrumental in getting tables out and exhibitors set-up
  • All those guys from the Southern Oregon Robotics crew, who manned the booth, and contributed so much to the games.
  • Erin Wilson, Larry Shaw, and the other great staff members of the Exploratorium, who showed up so early on Sunday, and put so much work in to the show before hand, to make sure everything ran smoothly.
  • Leo Laporte, our fantastic MC and host, who kept the crowd interested and me in line.
  • PNI corporation and Joe Miller, for their generous donation covering much of the cost of the T-shirts.
  • Robert Trent, Terry Grant, and Mark Sherman from NASA for their amazing Botball exhibit. NASA does a lot to help out with robotics, and displays like theirs really spread the word!
  • Gavin Miller - who brought his marvelous snake robots, which due to a communication error (my fault) didn't get their proper display and recognition. We did manage to do a demo at about 4:15. I hope everyone saw it.
  • Ron Nucci who came down from Seattle to show off his robot "Tortoise" who won the AAAI hors d'oeuvres contest.
  • Joe Miller for loaning us his cool Mars Rover.
  • Roger Gilbertson and for their usual support and display.
  • Mark Medonis and his super cool talking robot Maxwell - if only my robots could be so cool!
  • Cliff and Toni Thompson for their cool Aibo racing track. What a great idea!
  • Steven Jacinto from Sony Robotics, who drove all the way up from Los Angeles to give Aibo navigator demonstrations, and generously donated prizes to our raffle.
  • Andrew Filo, who brought along the new iCybie and so many other cool bots.
  • Matt Clayson, Richard Jacobsen, and Dave Friday for bringing Star Wars to the Bay. Richard was the Stormtrooper, Matt brought the hanger droid, and Dave was R2's "keeper."
  • Tom Henning and his NASA First team. What a great couple of robots!
  • Richard Halverson and Sam for their Lego display.

I'll be sending out some photos and a recap very soon, but thanks again to all who participated, and I look forward to seeing you again come spring!

David Calkins, President

Robotics Society of America


Robot Games 2001 Competition News 

dot_white.gif (49 bytes)Bring your robot to this yearıs SFRSA Robot Games 2001, on September 30, 2001 at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Registration begins at 11:00AM. We have a venue for almost any kind of robot. Events and Games begin at 12:00PM and finish at 6:00PM.

Robot Games 2001 will be Webcast by the Exploratorium. Here is a floor plan map of the events.

This year's event hosts are those two techno crazed co-hosts of TechTV's ScreenSavers - Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton, along with David Calkins - President of the Robotics Society of America. The program will also feature robot related slides, videos, lectures, and other great events including several various Robotics demonstrations.

High School and College teams are strongly encouraged to contact us and build a robot for the competition. Sumo bots, Mindstorm bots, and AIBO performers can all be designed and built within a week or two. Contact us for more information! Help is available for students and teachers wanted to build robots for this competition - send e-mail to

Past races have featured many different kids of robots, including use of a coffee percolator for a head and a chrome samovar for a body. Imagination runs rampant to the delight of the audience. Expect lots of fun - from the speakers, the attendees, and of course, the robots.

This year's events include:

  • THE LINE SLALOM - Pits robot rivals in a challenging 50-foot curved track they must negotiate on their own, collecting data as they proceed.
  • ROBOT SUMO WRESTLING - Promises chills, spills, and thrills aplenty as the automatons attempt to knock each other out of a one meter sumo circle. Mini-Sumo is also in the offing. More info on Sumo rules can be found at
    & Mini Sumo at
  • LEGO MINDSTORMS CHALLENGE - Kids and adults both test their skills to complete a lap around courses of increasing complexity in time trials. Anyone with a LEGO Mindstorms kit can compete. More info on the challenge can be found here:
  • HEXAPOD CHALLENGE - Watch as six-legged robots scurry across the challenging rink to determine who's the best bug!
  • B.E.A.M. (Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics) ROBOT COMPETITION - Tiny analog robots will amaze you as they crawl and evolve before your eyes. These dirt cheap robots are some of the most amazing to watch! More info can be found at
  • MAZE CHALLENGE - for wandering robots. These clever robots will amaze you as they find their way out of a complex maze.
  • AIBO PERFORMER - Competitors program their AIBO's to perform tricks or routines. Get ready to laugh and be stunned by their flexibility and cuteness.
    New AIBO Navigator Events "Trial Run's" added(1) AIBO Greyhound Dog Races (2) AIBO Fashion Show.
  • OPEN EVENTS - Best engineered, best choreographed, youngest robot builder, best Lego design and others. Bring any 'bot you've got!

Demonstrations will include:

  • Mars terrain demo with a Mars Rover reproduction!
  • Various robot kits and parts
  • Large scale artistic robotics demonstrations
  • NASA's FIRST competition robots
  • Battle Bots display and robots
  • Lego Mindstorms kits
  • AIBO and iCybie demos

Prizes Galore!

  • T-shirts
  • Robot Store gift certificates
  • Battle Bot tickets
  • LEGO Mindstorms 1.5 sets
  • Robotics toys!
  • Competition ribbons for all entrants

The games are still looking for sponsors - contact if your company or group would like to become an event sponsor. This high visibility event will get your company lots of publicity and the gratitude of the San Francisco Robotics Society.


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Copyright İ 2001San Francisco Robotics Society of America
Last modified: October 03 ,2001