(one of Southern Man's colleagues) found himself in charge of the IEEE
regional student robotics competition and enlisted Southern Man's aid as a judge. So very early Saturday morning Southern Man hit the road and made the two-hour drive to the city hosting the competition.
Dr. A and Southern Man review rules and procedures.
The robots gather in the Quarantine Area where they await their turn in the arena.
In this competition the robots must navigate to at least two of three power sources - wind, solar, and hydro-electrical - charge a capacitor using their build-in wind turbine, solar panel, and electrical contact, and then move to a fourth station to use that energy to raise a flag. This is harder than it looks; of the thirty-six entries, only a third fulfilled the power requirement and only ten made it to the flag at all. After three rounds the very first robot to compete in round 1 had posted the best time. But the competition was intense; second place was only two seconds behind, and third through fifth places differed by only twenty seconds in the five-minute trial.
The day ended with the obligatory awards ceremony.
And of course there was geocaching. Southern Man already had his targets plotted out and picked up a couple during lunch break, a couple more before the dinner, and even did a little night caching on the turnpike on the way home. And he may or may not have agreed to be on the student competition committee for next year. That part of the conversation was a bit hazy. Travel, professional activity, socialization and geocaching make for a good day.