Big Bird An autonomous robot that mines the treasures of Mars
Our three week mission: to exploit strange new worlds, to boldly mine where no corporation has mined before.” - MSPDL founding documents
With widespread shortages of element Obtainium on Earth, companies Gummerlock Heavy Industries (GHI) and Carryer-Kenny Holdings (CKH) have begun mining the plains of the Red Planet. The Martian Smart Product Design Lab (MSPDL) is known throughout the galaxy for producing the best autonomous TRACTORS that mine Obtanium at record speeds. MSPDL Team LARRY BIRD has produced BIG BIRD, a new signature model designed for the slopes of Olympus Mons. Pre-orders for BIG BIRD will start in June 2072.
To simulate the plains of Mars, MSPL has designed a testing arena for robots of various designs to face off against each other. The basic parameters of the game are:
The playing field is a 2.4 x 2.4 m square, which is subdivided into 16 60 x 60 cm squares. These squares are each a different color.
Each mining round is 2 minutes and 18 seconds long.
There is one robot representing GHI and one robot representing CKH at each game. The winning robot is the robot that mines the most Obtainium at the end of the round.
During each mining round, permits are issued to mine four distinct squares. There are two neutral squares, one square exclusive to GHI, and one square exclusive to CKH. The active mining squares change periodically.
There are two CKH MINERS and two GHI MINERS. Robots mine Obtainium by pushing their assigned MINERS into the active mining regions. MINERS are cylinders that slide along the testing arena's surface.
Big Bird is an autonomous robot with two wheels (controlled tank-style) and a metal ball bearing for stability. An LED strip runs around the circumference of Big Bird to signal the robot's allegiance to either CKH or GHI (depending on which company buys exclusive rights to the Big Bird design, stay tuned!). To ensure that Big Bird doesn't burst through the bounds of the testing arena or destroy other TRACTORS, Big Bird uses limit switches at its front and rear bumpers to detect collisions. Big Bird has a specially designed bumper to securely hold MINERS with a 25g electromagnet. To sense the MINERS even in the darkness of the Mars night, Big Bird uses an IR phototransistor to pick up the IR signals of the MINERS from miles away. Above all, since there are no gas stations or Tesla superchargers on Mars (yet), Big Bird relies solely on its own two 7.2V NiCad batteries for power.