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3 Ball Pool

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Event Sponsor:

The Electronix & Robotix Club,
BITS-Pilani, Goa Campus


04/Feb/2010 - Trial rounds done
29/Jan/2010 - Check the prizes!!!
27/Jan/2010 - Resources updated
26/Jan/2010 - Final arena details up!
17/Jan/2010 - Scoring Criteria updated


Whenever you are playing pool and are not able to pot a single ball, how many times did you wish that the ball drops by itself into the pockets by some stroke of luck? Well, its time you stop depending on chance and do something about it.

Design a robot which will identify the color of the balls and pot them into the holes. Take the challenge and train your robot to take part in a big time pool action without a cue ball.

Problem Statement

The challenge is to make a computer controlled navigator (the bot) which uses image processing to manuever three cubes (the "balls") of different colors to any of the black pockets in the order given beforehand.


  • The maximum number of members allowed per team is four.
  • All robots have to work on the principle of image processing alone. No kind of sensors are allowed. In case of any ambiguity it will lead to disqualification.
  • An abstract explaining the general robot design and their image processing algorithm, in brief, should be mailed to the event managers.  Also, the software platform they are using for Image Processing and navigating the robot must be mentioned. The details of the Email-ID to which the mail has to be addressed will be provided soon. Confirm the procedure used for robot navigation with the organisers and any change in the procedure with respect to the one specified in the abstract sent  by the participant has to be immediately reported personally, through email or phone.
  • An overhead camera will be provided by us, the details of which will be put up soon.
  • The platforms that will be provided for image processing and controlling the robot are MATLAB 7.0 & Microsoft Robotic Studio (1.0). A desktop with windows OS, Serial, Parallel and USB ports for communication with the robot and the above mentioned softwares will be provided.
  • If the participants wish to use any other platform they must consult the event managers beforehand and get the required files to install the software in the desktop provided.
  • Participants will be given three chances to complete the task within a maximum time limit of 180 seconds for each round and the best score out of the three will be taken into consideration. In the event of a tie the total combined score of all the three rounds will be considered.
  • The competition is based on points system and the team with maximum points wins the competition. For more details regarding the points system refer “Judging and scoring criteria” section. The event managers’ decision regarding scoring and judgment will be the final. No further arguments will be entertained.
  • The robot should start from the starting point as shown in the arena.
  • All the participants will be given a maximum of 5 minutes to setup their robot and have their navigation program ready for execution before the beginning of each run.
  • Any damage to the arena by the robot will lead to immediate disqualification of the team.
  • The robot would be checked for its safety before the run and would be discarded if found unsafe for other participants and spectators.
  • The event managers are not responsible for any damage to the robot during the event.

Robot Specifications

  • The robot should fit completely in a hollow box of dimensions (LxBxH) 20x20x20(in cm).
  • The voltage difference between any two points on the robot should not be greater than 12V.
  • The robot must use stepper motors or DC motors for locomotion.
  • Printed circuit boards and Lego kits are are allowed.
  • The participants are not allowed to use their own camera. They can only use the overhead camera provided.
  • The use of external battery or eliminator is allowed.

Arena Specifications

  • The dimensions of the arena are 160cmX120cm. The arena given below is drawn to scale.
  • The pockets will be in the form of 4 quarter circles of radius 10 cms and 2 semicircles of diameter 20 cms .
  • The "balls" as mentioned will actually be cubes of dimensions (lxbxh) = 6cm*6cm*6cm.
  • The colors used for the cubes will be red, yellow and green. Exact RGB values will be specified soon. Actual colors in the arena may be slightly different from the ones specified due to ambient light and texture of the material.
  • There will be no start point marked clearly as depicted in the previous arena pictures. The bot will be positioned in the center by the event managers at the start in any orientation as preferred by the participants.
  • The pockets shall not be physical holes. They shall be marked by black colour.
  • The arena pictures have been updated to reflect the new rules.
  • The below illustration is just to give participants a rough idea as to how the event arena will look like. The dimensions of the final arena will be the same.

Scoring Criteria

  • The maximum time given to a robot per run will be 180 seconds.
  • The timer starts once the robot is placed in the starting position and the participants start executing their code. Once code starts executing, the participants are not allowed to touch the computer or bot.
  • The robot has to choose the balls in the proper sequence as will be mentioned to them beforehand. For selecting each ball in the proper sequence a bonus of 20 points will be awarded per ball. A ball will be deemed to be selected if the robot has complete control over the ball.
  • No penalties will be awarded for incorrect selection.
  • A bonus of 30 points will be given for putting a ball completely inside the pocket irrespective of the sequence.
  • A bonus of 15 points will be given for putting a ball partially in the pocket irrespective of the sequence.
  • If the bot doesn’t reach the destination before 180 seconds or if it moves out of the arena during the run, that particular run will be deemed to be over.Total score for each run = Selection Bonus (60/40/20/0) + (180 – T ) + (30 x B) + (15 x B')
  • Where, ‘T’ is the time taken by the bot to put all the three balls into the pockets (Only if T<180 else T = 180). B is the number of balls completely in the pockets. And B' is the number of balls partially placed in the pocket.
  • The team with the maximum points wins the competition.

Certification Policy

  • Certificates of Participation will be given to all the participating teams.
  • Certificate of Merit will be given to the teams which successfully complete at least one run.
  • Certificate of Excellence will be given to the first 3 teams.


Event Managers

If you have any query, please send an e-mail to [email protected], or get in touch with any one of us:

Kinshuk Kar
[email protected]
+91 9823606826

Saran Kumar CVR
[email protected]
+91 9923966134

Samarth Varshney
[email protected]
+91 9823636176