Generaly speaking, Sumo Bots are a modern twist on the ancient Japanese sport of Sumo Wrestling. Small robots in different classes compete on a raised ring, attempting to push each other off the ring.
However, SuGO is a specific competition format designed for Sumo Bots built using LEGO® and LEGO MINDSTORMS® components.
SuGO was developed in 2006 by robot software designer: Phil Malone. Phil had founded the Garrett Engineering and Robotics Society (GEARS), and he wanted a year-round robotics activity to capture and retain new members.
Since LEGO MINDSTORMS® were already being used for area Summer Tech Camps, and Sumo robot competitions were easy to run, Phil developed a hybrid Sumo competition format using pre-programmed LEGO® RCX bricks. This new format provided two key elements: instant gratification, and an endless opportunity for design improvements.
This new format was called SuGO and was highly successful in attracting young families into the world of robotics. SuGO events were run once a month. Teams came to GEARS empty handed, free-built their designs, and then competed in a double- elimination SuGO tourney, all in the same afternoon. Phil showcased SuGO in the November 2008 issue of Servo Magazine (a popular robotics hobbyist magazine) where the overall format was described, and SuGO software programs were made available for download.
SuGO quickly became the pipeline which fed students into other GEARS robotics teams. Early-adopters were soon clamoring for new robotics experiences which led to the formation of many FIRST® LEGO® League and FIRST® Tech Challenge teams. These teams have dominated in competitions due to their well-developed teamwork, design and problem-solving skills.
When LEGO® introduced the NXT MINDSTORMS® kit, SuGO was transitioned to the new technology, but as part of this process, a new experience-model was added. In this model, existing SuGO team members took upgraded NXT kits on-the-road to schools, clubs and church groups to run mini-SuGO competitions. These satellite competitions enabled GEARS to increase its area of influence, as well as providing a forum for teen-leader development and STEM related fundraising opportunities.
In our latest outreach expansion, the SuGObot.com website was launched to make SuGO Robot kits and SuGO Field kits available for purchase online. These and other resources enable any school or youth group to run their own SuGO competition.
To really understand SuGO, you need to read the competition rules, and build a SuGObot. To make this easy, we've included a Competition Rules page on the Download section on this site.
To see how WE run a SuGO competition, here's a 15 Minute Training video.