Every year a new challenge manual is posted for the Arena robotics competition. This manual explains the competition background, general robot rules, game description, game pieces, and game-specific rules. Sometimes there is a special twist for the state championship, so it is crucial to read the Arena robotics challenge manual from beginning to end, multiple times.
Arena teams build a robot using one LEGO EV3, NXT, or RCX a specific set of motors and sensors, and LEGO-branded elements. Teams are allowed a total retail value of $5 to incorporate non-electrical, non-LEGO parts on their robots to enhance functionality or for decoration. Note this important disclaimer: No LEGOs can be harmed for competition. Do not melt, deform, cut, bend, glue, or solder our favorite plastic bricks.
Arena teams participate in three two-minute rounds. A team’s robot must perform specific tasks on the challenge field. Points, penalties, and bonus awards are calculated at the end of each round. Task goals may differ between Intermediate and Advanced divisions.
The Arena contest is a prescribed problem contest. Teams of two (2) to four (4) students receive a set of challenge rules and specifications designed around a theme that varies from year to year. The year’s challenge theme will be announced this fall.
The Arena Contest’s problem writer is Kate Herring, an electrical engineer at Bell helicopter, a former elementary teacher, and she has judged Area 16’s Arena Contest for four years. You can watch her video bio to the right.