The Fastest Maze-Solving Competition On Earth

Published 2023-05-24
Welcome to Micromouse, the fastest maze-solving competition on Earth. Join Onshape’s community of over 3 million CAD users by creating a free account here:

A huge thank you to Peter Harrison for all of his help introducing us to the world of Micromouse – check out &
Thank you to David Otten, APEC, and the All-Japan Micromouse Competition for having us.
Thank you to Juing-Hei ( & Derek Hall ( for usage of their micromouse videos.
Thank you to John McBride, Yusaku Kanagawa, and Katie Barnshaw for their help with Japanese translations.

Claude Shannon Demonstrates Machine Learning, AT&T Tech Channel Archive -
Mighty mouse, MIT News Magazine -
History, Micromouse Online Blog -
Christiansen, D. (1977). Spectral lines: Announcing the Amazing Micro-Mouse Maze Contest. IEEE Spectrum, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 27-27 -
Allan, R. (1979). Microprocessors: The amazing micromice: See how they won: Probing the innards of the smartest and fastest entries in the Amazing Micro-Mouse Maze Contest. IEEE Spectrum, vol. 16, no. 9, pp. 62-65, -
1977-79 – “MOONLIGHT SPECIAL” Battelle Inst. (American), CyberNetic Zoo -
Christiansen, D. (2014). The Amazing MicroMouse Roars On. Spectral Lines -
1986 - MicroMouse history, competition & how it got started in the USA, via YouTube -
The first World Micromouse Contest in Tsubuka, Japan, August 1985 [1/2] by TKsTclip via YouTube -
IEEE. (2018). Micromouse Competition Rules -
Tondra, D. (2004). The Inception of Chedda: A detailed design and analysis of micromouse. University of Nevada -
Braunl, T. (1999). Research relevance of mobile robot competitions. IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 32-37 -
All Japan Micromouse 2017 by Peter Harrison, Micromouse Online -
Winning record of the national competition micromouse (half size) competition. mm3sakusya @ wiki (Google translated from Japanese) -
The Fosbury Flop—A Game-Changing Technique, Smithsonian Magazine -
Gold medal winning heights in the Men's and Women's high jump at the Summer Olympics from 1896 to 2020, Statistica -
Zhang, H., Wang, Y., Wang, Y., & Soon, P. L. (2016). Design and realization of two-wheel micro-mouse diagonal dashing. Journal of Intelligent & Fuzzy Systems, 31(4), 2299-2306. -
Micromouse Turn List, Keri’s Lab -
Green Ye via YouTube -
Classic Micromouse, Excel 9a. Demonstrate fan suction, by TzongYong Khiew via YouTube -
Vacuum Micromouse by Eliot, HACKADAY -

Special thanks to our Patreon supporters:
Emil Abu Milad, Tj Steyn, meg noah, Bernard McGee, KeyWestr, Amadeo Bee, TTST, Balkrishna Heroor, John H. Austin, Jr., john kiehl, Anton Ragin, Diffbot, Gnare, Dave Kircher, Burt Humburg, Blake Byers, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Bill Linder, Paul Peijzel, Josh Hibschman, Mac Malkawi, Juan Benet, Ubiquity Ventures, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Stephen Wilcox, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Michael Krugman, Sam Lutfi.

Written by Tom Lum and Emily Zhang
Edited by Trenton Oliver
Animated by Ivy Tello
Coordinated by Emily Zhang
Filmed by Yusaku Kanagawa, Emily Zhang, and Derek Muller
Additional video/photos supplied by Getty Images and Pond5
Music from Epidemic Sound
Thumbnail by Ren Hurley and Ignat Berbeci
References by Katie Barnshaw
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, and Emily Zhang

All Comments (21)
  • Bebeus XL
    It's amazing how such a simple concept as a robotical mouse running in a maze can have so many implications and thought put into it.
  • Quaternionic
    Wow, I'm almost 40 and I remember competing in this kind of competition back when I was 15 and studying for my IT GCSE. I remember spending hours tweaking the motor commands to the main 2 wheels to be able to take corners as quickly as possible and very crude attempts at a maze searching algorithm - I think I made some terrible combination of trial and error and "always keep your hand on the left wall". One of my best memories of that class :)
  • mbnew
    I think it would be very interesting to re-create mazes from earlier years to compare current mice side-by-side with the times of their great, great grandfather mice, had they run the same maze together.
  • Aaron Aaronsen
    Im a motorsport enthusiast and got really excited when they announced Roborace. Sadly it never caught on and became a joke before disappearing.
    Seeing those robot mices racing in those mazes really is awesome and I'd happily watch an AI race with full size cars and tracks.
  • Rein Turtle
    I love these kinds of things. It feels like you met someone 10 years ago and thought their hobby was kinda interesting. Then you come back and they have taken it 1000x further than you could even conceive of 😂😂😂
  • I wish competitions like this were big in the US as an educational circuit with different divisions for middle school, high school, and college. There isn't really the massive hurdle of cost and equipment required next to most other competitive events/sports, but there's room to learn so much about all the different disciplines involved. I've helped teach some basic programming and embedded systems lessons at my old rural high school when a teacher of mine asked me to come in for her class, but she was the last teacher left that would even think about interesting academic adventures for the students. A cool result of those lessons was that she went on to really get into robotics and the next school she went actually allowed a robotics club, and they competed in all kinds of stuff at a national level.
  • Percival
    the way they manage to maintain a perfect distance from the walls, and go SO FAST is insane
  • Optimization has always been my issue as a programmer. I love the initial phase of learning and growth. Just discovering a problem and new tools to solve said problem is great. I'd say the most improvement you'll ever make is gonna be during the initial stage of problem solving. You'll go from not being able to solve it, to solving it, to minor tweaks that yield big gains, to slightly smaller gains until it tapers off. Then you hit a point where the amount of effort and tedium required for even small breakthroughs starts to be so much it doesn't feel rewarding. It's something I'm aware of, and wish I could change, but I still haven't quite worked out in my motivation.
  • This channel has consistently dished out amazing science and tech content for so many years.
  • Michael Trap
    Productivity never happens by chance; it is always the result of careful preparation, dedication, and consistency. I thank God for my advisor, Mr Yuval Eric Brokman; with his assistance, I am now financially solid, earning between $10,000 and $25,000 every week.
  • Marco Duarte
    I was dying imagining how it worked at the start. And then you came with the most freakish didactic and animation that blow my mind. Congratulations, this channel is crazy awesome
  • JD McMurray
    The suction fan was originally introduced by Jim Hall, the inventor of the Chaparral race car team. In 1970 he invented and built the "sucker" car, the J2, in my hometown of Midland Texas.
  • Call me AndoRu
    One thing I like about this engineering competition is that, since there aren't heavy financial incentives involved (like pretty much any other engineering project), people are given the chance to try whatever they want and be as innovative as they like.
  • Hiselbii
    As someone who has participated in robotics competitions, it's so emotional, it's like horse racing, but you have spent months building the horse with everything you have. Just being there with all these people, seeing their genius solutions to the problem, it's so much fun. I would truly recommend it to anyone
  • imjustinb
    This is a phenomenal little doc. Super interesting, and info is presented in a way with essentially zero fluff, which is just so rare these days. Thank you!
  • ManXY
    Wow, how dedicated are these guys.
    Amazing how people set goals and fully commit themselves to it.
  • Drew Miller
    I would love to see mazes that allow non-straight walls
  • Niklas B
    Derek I just wanted to thank you. The quality of your videos is so insanely high, it eclipses all competition on YouTube.
  • Alex Rankin
    The section about the mouse choosing the longer but straighter path really struck home with me. Too often in map software, and even games with a GPS system, the "shorter" path will be taken, even though the longer path is actually faster when factoring in deceleration, waiting at stop signs, etc. It's really a fascinating area for optimization.
  • googleislame
    The optimization discussed at 10:25 is interesting to me. Taking into account the cost of a turn is something that I wish navigation apps like Waze or Google Nav took into account. Oftentimes, when I use Google Nav, it would try to send me on a zig-zagging route with many turns. And unprotected left turns are expensive time-wise, especially during heavy traffic.