The micromouse competition has been running since the late 1970s around
the world. As far as I know, the modern form of the competition originates
in 1980 or so.
IEEE Spectrum magazine introduced the concept of the micromouse. In May 1977, Spectrum announced the ‘Amazing Micromouse Competition’ which would be held in 1979 in New York. There were 15 competitors running out of around 6000 initial entries.
This competition involved mice finding their way out of a 10′ by 10′ maze.
When the competition was held, the winner was a high-speed, dumb wall follower.
Professor John Billinsley, of Portsmouth Polytechnic, modified the rules and introduced the first European competition – held in London at Euromicro. the rule changes required the mice to find a goal in the centre of the maze and wall followers could be prevented from finding the goal. There were 200 enquiries and 100 entries, but only 9 mice at the finals. Nick Smith’s Sterling Mouse became the first ever (and that year the only) micromouse to find the centre and know it had done so. Although performance was less than stunning at about 0.18m/s, it was and still is a remarkable feat.
At the Micro Expo Exhibition in Paris there was a micromouse competition heat. Five mice were present. First place went to Nick Smith with Sterling Mouse, reaching the centre in less than 3 1/2 minutes.
The Paris final saw 13 competing entries of which only eight reached the centre. Sterling Mouse managed a time of 68 seconds. Alan Dibley had two mice in the eight that succeeded. Dave Woodfield took the day with Thumper.
The second UK micromouse contest was held at Wembly. Dave Woodfield’s Thumper was the winner with a best time of 47 seconds. Nick Smith’s Sterling Mouse was placed second with a best time of 1min 37sec. Alan Dibley took third place with Thezius which did two traversals with a best time of 2min 27sec. Thezius was especially interesting in that the processing power was provided by the relatively new ZX80 personal computer.
The British finals of the Euromouse ’82 competition were held at the Earls Court Computer fair in April. From a field of seven finalists, Alan Dibley took first and second places. Alan’s T3, the third in the Thezeus family, won with a best time of 1min 13sec while Son of Thezeus managed a best time of 3min 21sec.
The ‘First World Micromouse Competiton’ was held in Tsukuba, Japan. Mazes were sent to a number of countries around the world in order to encourage entries. A wide range of mice from all over the world competed. The world champion was Noriko-1 from Japan.
The top six places were taken by Japanese entries. Seventh was Dave Woodfield from England with Enterprise.
The US had its first competition, held in Atlantic City, organised, I believe, by the IEE. Dave Otten of MIT had his first competition entry with Mitee Mouse I. Unfortunately it came last.
IEE World Micromouse Championship in London saw 13 micromice competing. The winner was Dave Otten who managed to win both first and second prize with Mitee Mouse I and Mitee Mouse II.
This was also the year of the first singapore contest. the winner of this contest was MIR3+ from the Nanyang Technological Institute. This mouse came third in the 1988 IEE UK competition in London.
The IEE UK Championship held during july in London was won by members of a Singapore team that took 6 of the to 8 places. Dave Woodfield’s Enterprise
came in 5th while Dave Otten’s Mitee Mouse III was placed second.
All three of the top mice were within a half second of each other.
Later that year, in October, came Singapore’s first International Micromouse competition. local mice from Singapore took five of the top seven places.
The seventh annual IEE micromouse competiton was held in London. Nine mice ran. The winner was Mitee Mouse III with the best overall score although the runner up, Mouse Mobile II by Louis Geoffrey from Canada, made the fastest run. Third prize went to Enterprise.
Derek Hall’s Motor Mouse 2 managed a good best run but picked up some penalty points as did Andrew Gattell’s Mars 1.