Microsoft unveils RoboChamps winners, launches “Sumo” challenge

Microsoft revealed today the winners of the first challenge of its simulated robotics competition, RoboChamps. Dave Sprague, a robotics enthusiast from the U.S., and Jackson Matsuura, a college professor from Brazil, won the first and second prizes of the “Amazed” Challenge. First place winner Sprague will take home a real robot, the CoroWare CoroBot. The second-place prize is a Boe-Bot Kit for Microsoft Robotics Studio, which Matsuura won. Sprague and Matsuura were among more than 6,500 people who downloaded the Amazed Challenge Kit.


Sprague, whose RoboChamps avatar is named “Shakey,” has been interested in robotics since he was a child. He has worked for Intel and helped coach a middle school FIRST Lego robotics team in Belfast, Maine. Matsuura, also known as “Kirk” in the competition, teaches in one of the most high-profile engineering schools in Brazil and enjoys participating in robotics competitions to introduce his students to the exciting world of robotics.


RoboChamps has attracted thousands of professionals, academics and enthusiasts from around the world, and participants in the Amazed Challenge hail from 77 different countries., the competition’s official Web site, averages one million page views per month, and videos describing the competition have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Channels 8, 9 and 10 since the competition started.


The Amazed Challenge was the first of several RoboChamps contests. Today, we are pleased to announce the launch of the “Sumo” Challenge, where participants will program their robots to out-navigate opponents, pushing them out of the ring in a sumo competition. The Sumo Challenge uses the Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 July CTP (Community Technical Preview), released July 18.


At the end of the season, top finalists in the RoboChamps contest will travel to Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference (PDC), where they will take the code they’ve used in the simulator and apply it to real robots in a live finals competition