MIAT Lava-Bot Challenge!
A robotics competition in the Caribbean



Lavabot contest logo
Imagine a robotic competition that brings in contestants from many islands and pits them against each other in a performance challenge.
This is the MIAT Lava-Bot Challenge 2015.

To register for the contest, email register@montserratinstitute.com


The robots must complete one or more simple tasks in the shortest time with the smallest number of errors.  All activities will be carefully observed by a panel of judges, whose decisions will be final.

This is a timed competition, but style also matters.  A well-built, good looking robot is going to fare better in the long run.  Artistic is fine as long as your robot is functional.


All robots must act without human intervention!
 Remote control is strictly forbidden.  Each robot must perform on its own.

All robots must not burn fuel.  We recommend battery power but if you are clever enough to use (for example) compressed air, that will be fine.  Whatever fuel you use, combustion is out.  Fuel cells however are permissible.

No open flames!  Fire is bad here.  It can damage your robot and the arena.  Onlookers do not like to be on fire.

No armaments!  Your robot must be peaceful.  No projectiles, weapons, or EMP devices.  Any laser device on your robot must be strictly limited below 5 milliwatts so there will be no eye hazard.  No saws, drills, cutters, or potentially damaging devices.  We cannot assume the liability for the use of those devices.

No dangerous materials!  Nothing poisonous/toxic or flammable should be on or in your robot.  No radioactive materials, no explosives, and no radar hardware with an output of more than 2 milliwatts.  No infrared emitters that might prove hazardous to eyesight.  Infrared lasers with more than 5 milliwatts are not permitted.


Your robot must be within the dimensions specified but this does not forbid "unfolding" or extending arms, legs, grippers, sensors, etc.  Before the challenge starts, the robot must fit in the area as defined by the contest rules.  Once activated, it could become larger.

You may equip your robot with a television or video transmitter as long as it does not interfere with the other robots or with our equipment.

Your robot may have a lanyard or tethered projectile IF is it strictly limited to a throw distance of one (1) meter.  Anything longer than this will be considered a violation.

Laser hardware is permissible as long as it is below the 5 milliwatt limit.

Other exceptions will be subject to approval by the judges.  Contact them in advance to verify that you can use or install anything that might be questionable.


Three challenge levels exist.
Level I is the basic competition intended for younger participants.
Level II is the standard level for participants with some robotic skills.
Level III is the advanced level for participants who are skilled or at least confident!

Level I is a line-follower competition that counts on speed.
Level II is a sports-styled competition where the robot must place three colored balls in a goal.
Level III is a real-world challenge where the robot must climb a tree and retrieve an object.

Level I specifics - "The Path through the Forest":

The robot must start when it hears a specific sound called the START TONE.  The robot must then follow a line through a course and reach a goal.  The robot that makes the trip in the shortest time with the least errors (for example, leaving the line) will be declared the winner.  But, there is a catch! If a second different tone is heard (the PAUSE TONE), the robot must pause for 3 seconds and then continue.  This will be done three times during the test run.

The START TONE will be 440.0 Hz (A4 on the musical scale).
The PAUSE TONE will be 587.33 Hz, (D5 on the musical scale).
The tones may be produced by any device.  A whistle, a piano key, or a digital playback are all potential sources of the sound.

The COURSE MAP is for example- the actual line to be followed will be different.  The ROBOT must fit within a 15cm x 15cm square.  It cannot be larger than this.  The height of the robot is up to the designer but be aware that top-heavy robots will be at a disadvantage!

To see some line follower examples, click these links:
Example #1
Example #2
Example #3

Level II specifics - "Pick the Ripe Fruit":

The robot must locate three colored balls from a number of balls and direct them into a goal.  The goal is to complete the task in the shortest time.  A START TONE will begin the challenge.  The robot must choose the proper color of ball from the overall group in the arena.  The color will be selected at random at the start of the challenge by a drawing.  During the challenge, a TIMEOUT may be called and will be signified by the PAUSE TONE.  This time will not add to the total competition time.

SCORING:  Each ball is worth 5 points. The robot must accrue at least 15 points to complete the challenge.  Extra points can be had if the robot continues to select and place the proper balls.  However, incorrect colors will be worth -3 points.  That's right, they subtract!

TIME LIMIT:  No challenge will last longer than five (5) minutes.  From the START TONE to the completion, 5 minutes is the maximum time.  A robot may stop as soon as it has achieved the 15 point minimum or it may continue, but when the 5 minutes has been reached, the robot must stop.

The START TONE will be 440.0 Hz (A4 on the musical scale).
The PAUSE TONE will be 587.33 Hz, (D5 on the musical scale).

The COURSE MAP for Level II is simple.  The robot must fit within a 15cm x 15cm square.  Robot height is up to the designer.  Remember that heavier robots may tend to be slower.

To see some ball robot examples, click these links:
Example #1
Example #2
Example #3

Level III specifics - "Get the Coconut":

This is the most complex challenge.  The robot must climb a tree (palm tree) and locate an object .  The target will be a red package with a mass of less than 300 grams.  The package will be suspended from the tree and the robot will have to grab it and "liberate" it.  Then it must return to the ground with the package.  Once on the ground, the robot must go to the target area and stop.  Victory dance is optional but will add points.

A START TONE will begin the challenge.  There will be no timeout or pause commands.  The robot may climb the tree in any manner that does not involve rockets, jets, or other flight hardware.  
At the request of the contestant we may substitute an artificial tree if a real tree proves unworkable.  See the COURSE MAP for planning your robot's activity.

SCORING:  It is desirable to do the least possible damage to the tree.  HIT POINTS will be counted for significant damage at the discretion of the judges.  Climbing the tree is worth 10 points, locating the package is worth 10 points, taking possession of the package is worth 10 points, getting to the ground with the package is worth 10 points, and reaching the target area with the package is worth 10 points.  The robot must total 40 points to complete the challenge (this makes allowance for some hit points).  Victory dance will add points as well.

TIME LIMIT:  No challenge will last longer than ten (10) minutes.  Shorter times are desirable.

The robot must fit in a 75cm x 75cm square area.  Any height is permissible as long as the robot can maintain its upright position on its own.

To see some tree-climber examples, click these links:
Example #1
Example #2
Example #3

Coming shortly- watch this page!

Copyright (c) 2014 Montserrat Institute of Advanced Technology