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SuGO™ history

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 SuGO™bot. 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.