LaserMotive was one of two Laser-powered teams in this year’s games. I had great hopes for their performance, but alas, things did not work out well for them. I’ll be posting more about them in the future (along with some videos and pix I have).
This is from the LaserMotive blog:
“Back From Utah, and Recovering
The entire LaserMotive team is back from Utah. Equipment is safely stowed, and everyone is working to fight off sleep deprivation and various illnesses that have cropped up (probably due to the aforementioned sleep deprivation). No one won this year’s competition, which means that next year the prize purse will be $900,000.
We’re disappointed that we weren’t able to show the world the power of our system. A detailed analysis of what happened will have to wait for another time, but the brief summary is that our system was working before we left Seattle, and we demonstrated it working again during the first qualifying run on Wednesday (10/17). We then made adjustments to the on-board electronics for Thursday’s attempt, but those changes prevented the motor controller from working properly the first time Thursday night. More frustrating, the vehicle tried to climb on our second attempt Thursday but due to miscommunication and lack of visibility, the person holding the belay line wound up pulling both the up and down directions and held the vehicle in place so that it couldn’t climb (he was standing outside our safety curtain and couldn’t see in, and given that it was midnight and rainy, it was difficult to figure out the problem on the fly). Such errors are what happens for a team that hasn’t entered the competition before and hence hasn’t had enough time to practice. Next year we will, of course, be much more practiced.
Bad weather prevented any climbs on Friday and Saturday, and just as we were getting ready to mount the ribbon for a climb on Sunday, winds forced Spaceward to take down the crane. We then had to pack up our system for people to get home Monday for their other jobs.
Now that we have some time, I will soon post the qualifying video we submitted to Spaceward at the beginning of October (I need to compress it for YouTube).
I want to thank the entire team, their families, and all of the other volunteers (including Howard Tayler and his friend Tim) who helped us out at the event. As we figure out our plans for the future over the next few weeks, I will try and post more information.”