SAR-Bot Exercise/Contest at Propeller Powered Expo ’14 (deja vue!)

Once again, I have been asked to run another robot contest for OPPE ’14 (guess I must have done something that people liked.)  At the end of the ’13 expo, I briefly talked with Jeff (the proprietor of Propeller Powered and founder of the Propeller Expos) about ideas for next year.  Well, it looks like we will be running a Search-and-Rescue Robot (SAR-Bot) contest.  Only, this time, to interest others, such as the Emergency Responders and medics in our area, we will be running the contest as an Emergency Preparedness Exercise. (I have always been interested in Emergency Response – even earned my Pennsylvania certification as an EMT.)

Also, in order to help build interest, we will be sending a press release to local press, schools and emergency preparedness organizations, inviting them to come see the future of Rescue Technology.

Well, with this upcoming Expo hosting the SARbot ’14 Exercise, I wanted to get an early head start.

Come on down to the contest site at and see what’s going on.  The discussion thread for this coming exercise/contest can be found at:  We would like a lot of feed back, including any ideas, that you may have, for making this a great exercise.

Edited on 16 Oct 2013: We used to have a picture of one of the houses used by Trinity College’s contest, however we received the following demand to remove the picture:

Dear Mr. Granzeier III:

Jessica Jones forwarded your note to me regarding your “borrowing” a copyrighted photo from our website,  Since you did not receive permission in advance to use this photo, it is necessary to remove it from your website immediately.  As an institution, Trinity College is adamant about protecting its copyrighted materials.

In the future, please be sure to ask before using copyrighted material.

David Ahlgren
Contest Director

Therefore, the picture has been removed.  I will post another picture of my own later.

I am envisioning a small “house” made out of plywood with some rooms and maybe a hallway, or two.  However, this house will have a door (doorway?) so that the robot can get in.  In front of the door will (may?) be some bricks and/or other debris.  The robot will need to get around/past/over/through the debris and into the house.  Inside the house, somewhere, will be a baby as the victim.  The baby will have the general shape and size of a human baby for visually-oriented SARbots.  In addition, I am looking into a heating element to keep the baby’s temperature at about human-normal, for thermal-oriented SARbots.  If things work as planned, the baby will also cry for audio-oriented SARbots (my new grand-baby should be born next January; lots of opportunity to get MP3s of a real baby crying to play for the exercise/contest. :P)

In addition, for the visitors who are more emergency/medically oriented than electronics: we will want some medical-/emergency-oriented devices, (since this is for the Propeller Powered Expo) based on the Parallax Propeller (, of course. The Prop can certainly handle that kind of stuff.

Let’s fire up the old irons, and dev kits, and put together some prototypes (and even some finished products to show – and sell. ;D)