I sure haven’t slept much as-of-late. Wednesday to Thursday, I stayed up working on Computer Architecture homework. Thursday to Friday, I stayed up to work on a ridiculous “Capstone Design” assignment. Friday to Saturday night I was awoken several times by phone calls and was waking up at 6:00 (actually didn’t wake until 7) to go to the Second Annual Pacific Northwest MATE
It was quite interesting seeing some real-life underwater robots, but what I found most compelling about the competition was that the drivers were not allowed to watch their robot while maneuvering it. They had to rely entirely on on-board cameras relayed through long winding tethers to small TVs located at their driver station. As Dan Marsh said, this twist gives the whole competition a much more “robotic” feel, rather than the supercharged “R/C Car” feeling that FIRST Robotics Competitions often degenerate to. MATE is much more robotics in the real world. Being able to watch the drivers attempt to operate their machines almost blindly also created a lot of real-world dramatic irony. “If only they knew,” I found myself groaning, “that they are still three feet away!”
Due to a Software Engineering meeting I had at 2:00, a late competition start, and the competition’s relative remoteness out at Evergreen State College, we had to leave before any official matches were played. However, I still had a good time.