Arduino Competition 1 – To Infinity and Beyond!

We’ve now completed two of our workshops and that means it’s time to announce the details of our first in-club competition! It’s the perfect chance to use your new-found knowledge of programming and Arduino. There are prizes to be had for our talented winners~ The competition deadline is March 31st at 6PM!


The brief – Making the Zumo go round and round.

The first competition starts off simply enough. All you have to do is make the Zumo move in the cleanest figure-8 pattern possible. Simple right? On paper perhaps but there will plenty of ways to approach this problem and it’ll be interesting to see how people attack this problem. On that note~


The Extra Awards

We’ll be giving bonus marks/awards for people that qualify for the following award categories.

Best code: best intrinsic documentation (meaningful variable names, formatting, comments)
Most stable figure-8: given for the Zumo which drifts from its original starting position least
Feature creep: code that has the most interesting features. E.g. the pattern may be changed easily or the radius of the circle segments may be changed
Shortest code: the code with the fewest lines that still fulfils the requirements. Does not include comments. Note: this is essentially an anti-requisite to “Feature creep”.

The Prizes

<Insert awesome and interesting prizes here>
We’ll be announcing prizes at a slightly later date. It will be like a surprise birthday present. Everyone loves surprises~ Right?

Essential Reading and Watching

It will be very evil of us to not give you any guidance~ While all robot enthusiasts has dreams of making their own Terminators, we’re not always that evil in real life.

Thus, here is some essential material that you can read and watch to help you complete this task. These are in rough order, from the very basic of Arduino material to Zumo programming commands.

1) Really good introduction to Arduino video.


2) Some sites that explain how differential steering works (This is where you steer a robot/vehicle by altering the speed of two motors on each side of a robot)

Differential drive with continuous rotation servos and Arduino

3) The creators of Zumo have a set of code that explains how to drive the motors of the Zumo robot. It has comments in it to explain the basic steps of the code. (ignore DigitalWrite, that’s just to turn the LED light on)



Because we are so nice, we’re also going to provide some hints to help you out. We won’t post them all at once but one hint every so often.

Here is the first hint.


Immediately starting off by trying to draw an exact figure of 8 would be pretty hard to do, especially on a Zumo bot. Instead start with an easier but similar shape, something like above. The two box shape is much easier to do and it’s a good first goal to aim for.

From there, you can gradually turn the squares into round shapes. How? Well we’ll leave that for our next hint~



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