In 2017, Sumo Robot League grew from a relatively small regional effort to a competitive league from California to Florida and from Canada to Switzerland and Korea. Having students and teachers far and wide you learn a lot about how things are used both successfully and unsuccessfully when you cannot be there yourself.
As a result we've made a number of improvements in hardware, our online platform (cloud.sumorobotleague.com), and training that we are very excited about. The most exciting change to our kit is that it is completely solder-less now. We put this decision off for a long time. Because Sumo Robot League started in a makerspace, we really want people to know how to use a soldering iron. It's essential to being able to make and repair electronics.
However, our primary goal is to provide the best resources possible for teachers and students to have fun teaching and learning to code. Eliminating soldering from assembly of the robot kit helps people avoid the challenge of troubleshooting wiring and soldering issues when they should be learning to code. It also enables kits to be re-used easily.
The robot's circuit board has also seen significant improvements. Our new infrared sensors, aka line sensors, can distinguish not just black and white but different shades such as yellow and blue or light grey and silver. The power control system on the board has been redesigned to operate at a lower temperature, improve battery life, and even let you monitor the battery level on analog pin 7 (A7).
We've also made a significant investment to improve our manufacturing process. The plastic components of our kits are now injection molded to provide better fit consistency and to increase our production capacity. If you love 3D printing, don't worry. We do too, and our online resource library still contains files for you to customize and 3D print robot parts so you can make your robot exactly the way you want it.
If you're in Atlanta be sure to join us at the National Association of Independent Schools or visit us on Saturday at the Georgia Student Technology Competition.