With the the Japan 2010 contest only about three weeks away, there is a burst in activity from Japanese mouse builders as they prepare for the contest. Most recently, Kato-san shows us how close to the edge a top-performing mouse will have to run.
A video posted to his blog shows Tetra negotiating a turn in varying states of disarray.
It has been clear for a while now that the fastest mice will be drifting around the corners. Here we can see exactly how bad that can get. Tetra has remarkable powers of recovery in all but the most extreme circumstances. It is not clear to me how this is achieved. On the first run, it looks like the turn overshoots in rotation and the heading is corrected. in the others, the mouse has drifted off line and must have its lateral error corrected. Presumably, this is from the wall sensors and, if there were no walls in the cell after the turn, correction would not be possible. If that is so, it would be a good idea to flag turns with a safety factor. Those followed by a series of cells with walls would be safer than those without and so could be negotiated that much faster.
My own preparations are relatively prehistoric compared to these top performers but I shall be taking two mice and hoping for the best.
This year I think we are expecting to see quite a lot of four-wheel mice. That could mean a lot of underdevelped entries or a lot of really competitive ones. Watch this space…