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)
  • Blender Guru
    Sure the mice are cool, but can we talk about the animations at 8:40? So impressive! No idea how they were made, but it really helped understand the concepts. Hats off to the team behind them.
  • みやてゃ
    As one of those who missed the podium of the All-Japan Competition this year, I can tell you that the level at which they are competing for the champion is on a completely different level.
    one of them mentioned that he changed the optical rotary encoder disc from plastic to paper, making it 0.15g lighter!
  • 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 :)
  • 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.
  • 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 😂😂😂
  • cup o stuff
    Those turns are unreal, it looks like the mouse is simply teleporting across across certain parts of the maze
  • Sipje Dekat
    Sometimes you come across a thing you've never heard off, and it opens up a whole world for you.
    I never heard of this, but it seems to be a longstanding scene of people exited and engaged in a very specific hobby going on for half a century.
    People are awesome.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Mr. Wilkinson
    It’d be cool to see a maze with different elevations throughout.
  • This channel has consistently dished out amazing science and tech content for so many years.
  • 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!
  • Drew Miller
    I would love to see mazes that allow non-straight walls
  • 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
  • ManXY
    Wow, how dedicated are these guys.
    Amazing how people set goals and fully commit themselves to it.
  • PeterC
    As an electronic engineer, this is one of the most epic electronic engineering vids I've seen. Thanks Veritasium
  • Tiberius
    The next step will be to turn this into something more difficult like recognising stuff on the path, avoid moving traffic, add wall materials, curves, different path sizes, etc. Very nice to watch and to learn different strategies along the years. Thank you.