A group of robot enthusiasts built the world's first mini sumo robot from scratch. Launched in a Kickstarter campaign, the team needs to raise money to start mass production of the mini robot and make robot sumo a household name around the world.

Aside from aiming to popularize robot sumo, which is a sport consisting of two robots trying to push each other towards the edge of the arena, the team wants to push the competition to the next level. To that end, this robot is also a great educational tool for kids, as the prototyping board allows the owner to program the robot.

So, if you want to make programming and electronic engineering appealing to kids, look no farther.

What makes this robot special

Robot sumo is not as easy as it looks. The robots need to push their opponent out of the ring, so they are equipped with a host of sensors. The main challenge is their autonomy—they are not remote controlled in the ring. The winner of the competition is awarded to the one with the best strategy, a strategy which is chosen prior to the competition.

With that in mind, the SumoBoy uses an Arduino micro controller that can be programmed using C or C++. And as previously noted, the big plus with the kit is that it comes with a prototyping board that serves as a platform for learning the fundamentals of electronics and programming.

Beginners and experts can appreciate the flexibility that this mini robot gives.

The team also wrote a book explaining the basics of electronics behind the sumo robotics, which is free on their website. They are planning to update the book in the future to put in more complex topics like AI.

Easy to use

The Arduino micro controller can be easily removed from the robot, and it is placed on the prototyping board so that you can program to your heart's content. It easily connects to a PC or laptop using a USB cable.

The SumoBoy Kit includes a power supply, USB cable, a set of electronic components comprised of sensors, resistors, capacitors, transistors, wires, LED’s, motors, a high quality screwdriver, and the mini sumo robot together with a cardboard dummy that serves as the opponent when testing the robot in action.

Fund raising campaign

The team needs US$100,000 to start a mass production of their SumoBoy robot kits. According to their campain in Kickstarter, they are giving a "mega reward" to the most serious backers (pledges of $5,600) by letting them get involved in a real Mega Sumo robot battle (Mega Sumo is their latest robot model, which they are designing right now to join in future competitions).

If you are interested, head over to the Kickstarter campaign and pledge away.

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