Calibrating Reflective Sensors

By far the most commonly used micromouse sensors are simple reflective types that give an indication of distance by measuring how much light is reflected from the maze wall. While the response is repeatable and related to distance, it is quite difficult to get an accurate answer. This is how the sensor readings can be converted into an actual distance… (more…)

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Decimus 2 sensor geometry

Decimus 2 is now nearly ready to go. I don’t have much hope of having it ready for the Japan contest but it is worth a try. The mouse weighs only 2/3 as much as its predecessor at about 115g with batteries. This weight saving is almost entirely due to the use of the new 1717 size motors. It looks like everything is working so today, I set up the sensors. These have a different alignment to those I have used before.


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Decimus 2 takes shape

Decimus has been running reasonably well and each competition sees the plucky little micromouse improving in some way or another. It is clear though that it is not going to be fast enough to compete in South East Asia with any great chance of success. There are at least two faults on it. One is a damaged motor and another, I think, is a dry-joint somewhere on the PCB. Every so often, it will just do something unexpected like turn through a completely wrong angle. When I made Decimus, I ordered extra boards. This week the new motors came so, with only a short time to the all-Japan contest, I am trying to put another mouse together….


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Picone builders guide videos

PICone is a very economical micromouse designed by Jim Chidley and Derek Hall. In the 2009 UK micromouse competition, it came fourth in the finals. You can buy the kit from and now the designers have put up a series of videos on Youtube to show you how to build your mouse, tune it for optimum behaviour and modify it for better performance. See them here…


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Japan Micromouse Competition Historical Results

Arguably the most successful Japanese micromouse builder is Itani Yutaka. If you follow the micromouse goings-on in Japan and south East Asia, you will have come across him as the builder of the six-wheeled micromouse known as mm3 and shown in the picture on the left. He posts to a wiki site and recently has added a list of the winning entry for each of the Japanese competitions to date…


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Reflective IR wall sensors: design and test


Tony Wilcox of Birmingham City University has been working with the design and implementation of Infra Red wall sensors for their student micromouse design. This type of sensor has become common in mouse designs although there are several variations on the theme. Tony’s version uses readily available parts in a robust and repeatable design with a couple of extra tweaks that make it possible to use the same sensor to measure distance over a very wide range of distances without having to change the drive current to the emitter…


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Ternary numbers for diagonal micromouse turns

by Alan Dibley

The translation of a route from one using 90 degree turns only to one using a combination of 45, 90 and 135 degree turns is not an obvious or trivial task. There are several possible approaches. this method recognises that there are only three kinds of action in an orthogonal route. Thus it seems to make sense to represent those values as a base three, or ternary, number. A simple translation process can then take these values as triplets and look up a translated move in a table.


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