MINOS 2020 Conference

On Saturday November 14th, the annual Minos robotics conference was held by means of an online conference. Although this was more impersonal than the usual conference, it did mean that we had several international participants.

The presentations were recorded and are now available on YouTube.

Contest Timer Robot Detection

In this presentation, Peter Harrison describes some of the challenges in reliably detecting a robot in the micromouse maze and presents a design for a new timing sensor. The sensor uses a constant beam of light through which the robot will pass. Software signal processing techniques make it possible to reliably detect the passage of a robot even under conditions of severe interference.

Rats Contest timing Software

In this presentation, Ian Butterworth describes recent enhancements to the UKMARS contest timing and management software (RATS).

Improving the basic UKMARSBOT line sensor

In this presentation, Ian Butterworth describes some improvements to the basic line sensor board used by UKMARSBOT – the Society’s beginner robot. One of the limitations of the board is that it is not able to reliably see the markers on the course because the sensor board width is limited by the low-cost manufacturing process. Ian’s improvement gives it wings.


In this presentation, David Hannaford describes progress made by students at KES school in the UK. His group have been building examples of the UKMARSBOT beginners robot for a variety of contests, including the line following event.

“Theseus” by Claude Shannon.

In this presentation, Rob Probin gives us a review of the work by Claude Shannon on his maze solving robot built in the early 1950s. Theseus is a remarkable piece of work. it is entirely electromechanical and yet manages to demonstrate many of the fetures of modern maze solving robots.

Maze Solving and Search Optimisation

In this presentation, Duncan Louttit explains his techniques for searching the micromouse maze and optimising the route. Duncan’s method is different from the majority of search algorithms and is particularly suited to robots with fewer resources.

Improved magnetic encoders for Pololu style gearmotors

In this presentation, Garry Bulmer describes some improvements to the magnetic encoders available for small gear motors similar to the Pololu style that are very common. The aim is to improve performance while reducing the cost. The first improvement is to substantially improve the resolution by replacing the magnet disc with one made from readily available materials and magnets. the second improvement is the replacement of the main PCB with a lower-cost alternative that is easier to mount and more flexible in its choice of magnetic disc.