We recently had a Mindstorms challenge with the following rules:
- robot must move in a straight line
- robot need not move quickly, nor even roll (it might crawl or drag parts of itself along the ground)
- the winning robot is the robot made out of the fewest pieces.
We counted every piece, including every single peg and cable. Battery and EV3 brick counted as one.
Of three competing teams, a first submission was made up of 23 pieces. That team was asked to study their robot for non-essential equipment. They returned with a robot consisting of 21 pieces, and later, with a robot consisting of 17 pieces.
A second team began with a robot made with 20 pieces, returned with a robot of 16 pieces, and ended with a robot with only 11 pieces.
The winning submission had only 8 pieces, on the first try.
Can we make do even less?