Pi Wars 2021 – Press release

As everyone is well aware, the COVID-19 situation meant we had previously announced that we would postpone Pi Wars 2020 to 2021. However, our venue is unable to take a firm booking for the normal March/April dates due to the ongoing situation and restrictions on mass-gathering events. A date later in the year would not be suitable for school teams and so we have decided to change our plans.

We are turning the uncertainty into a positive and we have decided to hold two events in the next twelve months, but both will happen online rather than in-person.

Virtual Pi Wars Conference

The first, a Virtual Pi Wars Conference, will be held on 23rd January 2021. We had great success with the original Pi Wars Mini Conference, so we are planning to run next years’ Conference via live streams. We have asked Rob Bricheno, who led the organisation for the Mini Conference, to come alongside the three of us for this event. He will be in charge of organising the various talks and panels. If you would like to give a robotics or Raspberry Pi-related talk, please contact him at rwhb2@cam.ac.uk.

Pi Wars @ Home

The second event is a full-on Virtual Pi Wars competitive event called “Pi Wars @ Home” where contestants will actually attempt challenges! This event will run over a weekend during March 2021. The original Virtual Pi Wars (VPW) was very popular (over 350 people were watching live at the peak, which was more than twice what we were expecting!) However, the 2021 Virtual event will be different.

We are going to set a series of new and exciting challenges to be tackled by robot teams. These will (obviously) be different to the Disaster Zone challenges but we are planning on using some of the same skills plus some new ideas to challenge our competitors. Don’t despair, the Disaster Zone event will be held eventually, hopefully in 2022.

Each team will need to make a set of their own courses, details of which we will provide soon. Construction of the courses will be achievable using a mixture of household objects, cardboard and lots of tape! For each challenge, you will need to record a video of your best run and then send that to us at least 72 hours before the broadcast of the live stream which will be a collection of the videos submitted. There will be a live chat going on at the same time as the stream, so there will be a social aspect as well.

We think it will be a terrific event, but we need you to make it happen. The competition will be open to everyone, worldwide. There will be an entry fee of £15 per team. If you were an accepted competitor in the 2020 event, you will not need to pay again.

We are currently talking to sponsors about prizes for the 2021 competitive event and we are hoping to persuade some of them to do special offers both between the Conference and VPW and also over the VPW weekend just for competitors and spectators.

If you have any questions, or comments, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Mike Horne, Tim Richardson and Dave Booth
Pi Wars organisers