I’ve been accepted to compete in PiWars 2020! I mean, 2024! As we all know, the theme of Disaster Zone for PiWars 2020 was more than a little prophetic as it was cancelled due to a global pandemic, happily though we’re getting another shot at taking on those zombies as they’re running the Disaster Zone challenges again next year!

PiWars 2020 was the first one I’d been accepted in to and for me was literally life changing. Four years later I’ve almost got the robot built that I wanted to compete with back then, and I’m also early in the process of trying to turn NE-Five in to an actual product. Stay tuned for more information on that one!

A cute little robot with two arms and glowing eyes
NE-Five, as he currently looks,

To recap, the challenges are as follows:

  • Lava Palava
  • Eco-Disaster
  • Escape Route
  • Minesweeper
  • The Zombie Apocolypse
  • Pi Noon
  • The Temple of Doom

There are also meta challenges in the form of the blogging, technical and artistic merit, and most disastrous robot challenges. These are background to the main competition with them being judged either before hand or at the event.

Two images side by side, on the left a coloured depth image showing how far away items are, and on the right a colour image from the camera
On the left, a depth image created using the stereo cameras. On the right, a raw image from the left camera for comparison.

Both me and the robot have grown a lot over the intervening years, if PiWars 2020 had taken place I’m not sure how many of the challenges I’d actually have been able to manage, I was in the intermediate category back then so could at least have attempted them all with manual remote control. This time around I have a vision system that works and a pair of arms that have loads more feedback and control than the hobby servos I was using in MacFeegle Prime.

Time will tell, but if I can beat my personal best of completing 50% of the challenges I’ll call it a win!