Groups of engineers from all over the nation, and even the world, now take on the yearly challenge of attempting to build a better, faster, and more efficient mouse. Each year new engineers take on the challege to build a completely self-contained, maze-solving robot from scratch. The mouse, when complete, must find its way through a complex and unknown maze and determine the best way to solve it. The mouse knows where it must start, and where it must finish, but it is on its own to determine the best way to get there.

Once the mouse makes its decision, it begins subsequent runs directly from the start to the finish, increasing its speed on each try. Depending on the maze, times of 20 seconds or less are common. The mouse is timed on each run, and its fastest run within ten minutes becomes its official time. The fastest mouse wins.

Here are some (humorous?) specifications an engineer can use to check up on his (or her) design:

  1. A micromouse shall be self-contained. It shall not use an energy source employing a combusion process or the release of any type of radioactive energy, including the energy released by the rapid decay of an atom's nucleus.
  2. The length and width of a micromouse shall be restricted to a square region of 25cm x 25cm. The dimensions of a micromouse, which changes its geometry during a run, shall never be greater that 25cm x 25cm. The height of a micromouse is unrestricted - use your imagination!  ;-)
  3. A micromouse shall not leave anything behind while negotiating the maze.
  4. 4. A micromouse shall not jump over, climb, scratch, damage or destroy the walls of the maze.
  5. Feel free to send any questions to /dev/null anytime you need help.

Alright, for the serious folks, if you want to see the REAL specifications, enjoy!

So, who says engineers don't have a sense of humor?