Tag Archives: robot

First Competition Night a Qualified Success

Last weekend we held our first Fifth Sunday Competition and it was a success. I say a qualified success because we have to keep in mind it was our first and it was fairly short notice.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with our Fifth Sunday Competitions, I can’t blame you. It was something I dropped on the membership with less than six weeks notice, which is not a lot of time for folks to get their robots into competition shape. But, nevertheless, I am pleased with the turnout.

In actuality, we had a single competitor. Several of our members tried to have their Raspberry Pi ‘bots, from the workshops, ready for the competition, but didn’t quite make it. Apparently, Michelle experienced failure in three of her four motors. Chip and George just weren’t ready with such short notice, especially because we had covered PID control the weekend prior. So, the fault there is mine. But, next time! Right folks?

Thank you, Mitch, for bringing out your ‘bot for the edge finding contest. After successfully completing the course, Mitch won the coveted kudos from the attendees. Mitch’s solution was pretty impressive. He had taken the edge finding to heart and built a robot with sensors on an arm, offset from the main body. It would approach the edge of the table then, when detected, align itself with the edge and then follow it around the entire table. Very well done.

Mitch also attempted the line following contest. After making some adjustments to the sensors, he placed his ‘bot on the line and let it go. The bot roared forward, promptly lost the line, and headed straight to the edge of the table… which it was no longer configured to detect. Fortunately, Mitch anticipated this and was there to catch it. So, having not actually completing the course, we were unable to award him with the line following win. We don’t do auto-wins… you have to complete the course.

In addition to Mitch’s bot, Michael brought his chess playing Prusa conversion. He has taken a Prusa i3 3D printer, converted the printe head to a grasper, added a camera, and hooked it up to a computer with a chess program. Though it operated a little slowly, it was an impressive conversion. Very well done.

These Fifth Sunday Competitions will occur on every 5th Sunday of the month, naturally. This means they will happen, roughly, four time per year. The next one will be happening on October 29th. This is 12 weeks away, so plenty of time to prep or build a ‘bot to participate. Since we had low participation at this last one, we will be repeating the contests at the next. For more information check out our competition page.

Nomad

The Nomad is an outdoor roving robot built on the robot chassis kit from Servo City of the same name. It was initially built as an extension of the review I wrote of the chassis for Servo Magazine (which was published in the March 2015 issue). Check out that article for my experience building the chassis and my initial impressions. Here I will discuss more about the technology on board and plans for Nomad.

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Zumo by Pololu

From pololu.com: “The Pololu Zumo robot is an Arduino-controllable tracked robot platform that is less than 10 cm × 10 cm—small enough to qualify for Mini Sumo. It includes two micro metal gearmotors coupled to a pair of silicone tracks, a stainless steel bulldozer-style blade, an array of six infrared reflectance sensors for line following or edge detection, a buzzer for simple sounds and music, a 3-axis accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyro for detecting impacts and tracking orientation.”

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m3pi by Pololu

From pololu.com: “The Pololu m3pi robot consists of a 3pi robot base with a fully assembled m3pi expansion board as its second level. This expansion board enables the use of a powerful 32-bit mbed development board as the robot’s high-level controller, which offers significantly more processing power and free I/O lines than the 3pi’s built-in 8-bit AVR microcontroller. There are also sockets for Wixel and XBee wireless serial modules as well as prototyping space for additional sensors and electronics.”

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IRVing: A Group Robotics Project

Introducing IRVing, the Industrial Robotic Vacuum. IRVing is going to be the first group project for the Robot Group. Sometime in mid to late march I will be announcing the first build day for IRVing. So, what is the idea behind IRVing? The answer after the jump.

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