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Glossary of Robotic Gaming™

Bogie (software developer jargon) term used to refer to playbots, the physical characters of Robotic Gaming™ (see also gamebots, electromechanical characters).

Cast – (software developer jargon) refers to the set of playbots in play at any one time.

Controller – In Robotic Gaming, the controller is the small, hand-held device used to steer and control a playbot.

Drone – refers to a playbot under control of the gaming hub. Note: There is no difference between a drone and any other playbot except that it is currently under control of the the gaming hub.

Electromechanical Characters – are the physical players of Robotic Gamingä (otherwise known as playbots). They can take many forms such as humanoid robots, bugs, balls, cars, space ships, tanks, planes, animals, etc. (see also, gamebot, playbot, bogie.)

Embedded Sensors – is a term for those sensors that are on board a playbot. A sensor is any device that can detect a property of the surrounding environment. This includes such things as light, sound, touch, vibration, magnetic, heat, etc. It can also include status such as temperature, power level, speed, direction,  On-board sensors can be an important part of certain games. In general more sensors means more intelligent and realistic play. Note: for a sensor to significantly enhance game play, there must also be duplex communication.

Free Roaming Ability – refers to the ability of  a playbot to move out of range of the power transfer area while still operating on its own source of stored energy for some period of time. Keep in mind that a prerequisite for Robotic Gaming is that the system must provide wireless power transfer for uninterrupted play - battery operation is not acceptable. Free Roaming ability can greatly enhance the gaming experience by significantly expanding the play area. In addition it adds an element of strategy to gaming in that the playbot must return to the power transfer area before its internal source of energy is depleted.

Duplex Communications – refers to the ability of  a playbot to receive and send information from/to the gaming hub. In Robotic Gaming™ this two-way communication is very important to allow sophistication in the level of play. For example, if a playbot detected light, that information could be transmitted to the gaming hub and become important information for certain games that wouldn't be possible otherwise.

Gamebot (software developer jargon) alternate term for playbot. Used to refer to the electromechanical characters used for gaming.

Gaming Accessories – are used to augment Robotic Gamingä. These can be walls, barriers, fences, balls, nets, logs, obstacles, etc.

Gaming Horizon – is essentially the same as Positioning Horizon. These terms are interchangeable as the positioning horizon is so fundamental to Robotic Gaming - in other words, if a playbot is beyond the positioning horizon it is essentially no longer part of the game.

Gaming Hub – The gaming hub is the central controller used for Robotic Gamingä. The gaming hub knows the physical position of all of the playbots and accessories in the play area and has the ability to pilot them along precise paths. It contains the intelligence to host the game rules and pilot drone playbots according to the game strategies with the same level of variety, challenge, and complexity currently found only in video games. Also like video games, different game cartridges plug in to play different games. The gaming hub is interconnected to all inputs and all command signals of every element of the game and, therefore, can control every aspect of the game. For example, if one opponent defeats another during a battle, further commands to the defeated playbot can be interrupted by the gaming hub for some period of time until it "recovers". Similarly, the gaming hub can remotely pilot a pair of drones to simulate, in every way, the idea that they can see, communicate, interact with one another, react to each other, etc.

Linear Trackä – is the proprietary mechanism used in ChildLikes' BUGZ™ robots. The mechanism moves the feet of the robot in a straight line with constant velocity. The result is that the chassis of the robot moves smoothly so the process can be speeded up indefinitely without bouncing the robot off the table.

Orientation Sensing – refers to the ability of the gaming hub to detect the direction in which the playbot is situated. This is a necessary feature for efficient Remote Computer Piloting as well as for games that require orientation input such as laser tag. In laser tag, for example, the hub must know where your playbot is pointed in order to determine if your laser fire hit your opponent. Orientation Sensing is a separate ability from position sensing.

Playbots – are the physical players of Robotic Gamingä. They can take many forms such as humanoid robots, bugs, balls, cars, space ships, tanks, planes, animals, etc. (see also, gamebot, electromechanical character, bogie.)

Positioning Horizon - Robotic Gaming requires some form of position sensing to provide the gaming hub with precise positioning information for all of the characters in play. The positioning horizon is the perimeter defining the range of the positioning system. Since position sensing is akin to the gaming hub's ability to "see" the characters, the term refers to the horizon out to which the gaming hub can "see".

Power Transfer Area – Since uninterrupted play is essential for Robotic Gaming, some form of wireless power transfer is a requirement. Any type of wireless power transfer system will have a certain range of influence beyond which a playbot no longer receives sufficient power. The power transfer area is that area in which the playbot is adequately powered by the wireless power transfer system.

RPTä - Remote Power Transfer™ is the proprietary system used by the BUGZ™ game to provide unlimited energy to the BUGZ™ playbots without the use of wires or batteries and allowing uninterrupted play. It is based on a pad in which the toys pass over. Pads are 24” X 36” and can be set side by side to increase the play area.

Remote Computer Pilotingä – allows the gaming hub to command the actions of a drone playbot around the play area just as a video game controller commands the actions of video game characters. The gaming hub uses SPSä to pilot drones just as a human uses their eyes to control an RC toy.

Robotic Gamingä – is play involving real-world electromechanical characters (playbots), some of which are controlled by a gaming hub. The key to Robotic Gamingä is that the gaming hub has the ability to “see” all the playbots and pilot them along any desired path. Stated another way, Robotic Gaming™ must involve a centralized controller (gaming hub) with position sensing capability. This combination distinguishes Robotic Gaming™ from the realm of "interactive robots" like Furby or R.O.B. Robotic Gaming™ allows for the possibility of sophisticated games in which playbots have the apparent ability to see one another and their surroundings, communicate with one another at a high level, strategize, think, etc. The gaming hub also has the ability to autonomously control characters (drones). (See Remote Computer Piloting™ below). The sophistication of play parallels that of a video game, but in this case, played out in the real world.

SPSä – Sonic Positioning System™ is the proprietary system used in the first commercially available Robotic Gaming™ set - BUGZ™. This system gives a controller real-time position feedback of playbots to 1/10th of an inch using sophisticated yet inexpensive sonolocation technology. Each playbot emits an audio chirp that is detected by the gaming hub. The system uses innovative techniques (some borrowed from radar) to do this very economically, and hence enabling this first entry.

Uninterrupted Play – refers to the ability to play indefinitely without pausing due to the gaming hardware. Uninterrupted play is an important term for Robotic Gaming since it may involve many un-tethered playbots in play at once. The biggest concern with play interruption in Robotic Gaming is the issue of batteries. Since the number of playbots in play may be in the double-digits, battery operation would necessarily mean play is being continuously interrupted. It's for that reason that Robotic Gaming demands wireless power transfer such as the RPT system above.


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Last modified: August 24, 2003