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Tour the Stairs 2014

new contest for indoor autonomous robots

Do you want some indoor challenge in the time before Christmas? Can your robot climb the stairs? If yes then you already completed the first step towards participation in our new competition Tour the Stairs! It is going to be part of European Robotics Week in Prague by the end of November. UPDATE: 13/1 — Official video

We have decided to organize a new robotics competition with Christian (the main organizer of robotics festival, part of European week of robotics — see After several changes won the name Tour the Stairs. The time and place is well defined (even for the far future — 48th week). This year it is on 26th-29th November 2014, Gallery NTK in Prague. We expect that the contest will evolve as long as you, robotics, will be interested. The long term motivation is „food and drink service robots”, which can offer food and drink in the Galery or other places (restaurants, hospitals, houses for elderly people, etc.). The Gallery has two floors connected with two different stairways and that will be the challenge we start with in 2014.

Rules overview

The task for this year is relatively easy — climb the stairs. Well, it is not that trivial, because the robot has to be autonomous and there are two kinds of stairway: straight and spiral. The contest will take place in turns on both stairways (yeah, the Gallery visitors have to have some way to go up and down), and the robot finishing on higher step wins. Note, that speed is not important (there is 3 minutes time limit)
It was already mentioned that the contest will take place in Prague, Gallery NTK in Dejvice, where you can come during the year. You can train there during the festival (Wednesday to Friday, the contest will take place on Saturday).
There are standard restrictions for the robot: it must not be dangerous for the people and the Gallery environment. It has to have big red emergency STOP. Moreover the width is limited by 50cm (so two robots may fit on straight stairway in the future) and length is limited by 1m.
Extra note, that the robot has to touch every step, i.e. it is not allowed to jump several steps, for example.

Stairway (rough measures)


  • step height 16cm
  • step length 30cm
  • step width 111cm
  • length of landing 93cm
  • number of steps 5+16


  • step height 16cm
  • length of outer side 43cm, inner side 13cm
  • step width 109cm
  • length of landing outer 127cm, inner 42cm
  • number of steps 10+11
Note: expect couple centimeters tolerance — for example first step is approximately 14.5cm hight. The color is in both cases black.

Motivation music

  • Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven
  • Richard Muller, Po schodoch


4th September 2014 — Two categories

Christian already published contest propositions and you can see that there are actually two categories of „Tour the Stairs”: LEGO and service robots. I think that it is a little bit pity to separate them, especially for the first year contest, on the other hand kids may not be afraid to participate .

23rd October 2014 — Registration Reminder

Just a short note/reminder that registration dead-line for the contest is 31st October 2014. Already registered teams can add homolation video within next two weeks and this way automatically homologate for the contest.
See you in a month!

4th November 2014 — Teams

There are three teams registered for Tour the Stairs 2014: R-team, KRA Písek and TeaPackSystems. Do you think that it is not many? Well, to be honest I expected more teams, but if you remember the first Czech Eurobot 10 years ago (!), there were also only three competing teams and it was a great event .
This year I would give a chance to people who overlooked the dead-line till 17th November 2014. Note, that for these late registrations is videohomologation required!
You may consider the task simple, but it is not. Two teams wrote that they will have to rework their construction (one robot is made from Merkur and the other from FisherTechnik), because it does not work as they expected … so maybe you are solving similar problem, just do not give up .
Here is at least the first homologation video of six-wheeled robot:
Note, that it is necessary to climb one step only and it is enough to do it once .
I would also add some links:

10. November 2014 — KRA Písek (video)

I asked already registered teams for some pictures and videos, even if their robots do not work properly yet. I naively hope that this way we will get more interested participants and it will motivate you to built the robot even now .
Thanks a lot KRA Písek for sharing their first pictures and videos of robot Kombajn:

19. November 2014 — Kickstarter, TeaPackSystem, homologation

The situation is the same even after extended registration dead-line. There are three teams ready to compete and two of them send us homologation video. KRA Písek sent new homologation video, where their robot kombajn climbs whole staircase. This is surely strong rival. We will see how they will deal with spiral staircase.
TeaPackSystems equipped the robot with RaspberryPI. The robot is now capable to detect steps via sonars and better calculate approaching angle. There is maybe camera too so the whole action will be recorded (?).
I would add an interesting note from Pavel S. He wrote me about walking robot project available on kickstarter (here is a related article). So this is also posibility how to get staircase climbing robot … and „homologation video” looked cool .

20th November 2014 — R-team

Now the 3rd competitor (R-team) published video of his stair climbing robot:
with comment: The function of STOP button was self-demonstrated. It felt down on the last step and it stop itself.

23rd November 2014 — Jessica homologation

This is a homologation video of the 4th „competitor” — minidrone Jesscia:

28th November 2014 — Program

The contest will take place on Saturday November 29th, 2014 in two blocks: 10am-12am and 2pm-4pm. There will be half an hour straight staircase attempts followed by half an hour of twisted staircase (in total 8 rounds). The results announcement should be around 4pm.

29th November 2014 — Results

Rank Team 1st straight 1st spiral 2nd straight 2nd spiral 3rd straight 3rd spiral 4th straight 4th spiral Total
1. KRA Písek 6 1 11 1 21 21 21 21 103
2. R-team 16 1 21 3 21 3 21 3 89
3. TeaPackSystems 4 20 - - - - - - 24
4. Jessica 2 0 1 1 1 1 5 4 15
The winner of Tour the Stairs 2014 is team KRA Písek! Congratulations . And if you think that it was easy it was not … but you should come and see …
(note, this report is slightly more detailed in Czech version)

5th December 2014 — Contest video

Thanks to „extended TeaPackSystems team” you can now have a look at Tour the Stairs 2014 video:
It is actually very good document! You will see there break of gear box of „kombajn”, falling down R-team, smoking motor controller of TeaPackSystems and several Jessica attempts including complete flight with the rope.

13th January 2015 — Official video