Summer Robotics Project #11 – Finals Checks and Future Plans

This was our last session for this summer, and we will continue when we get back to University in a couple of weeks time. As mentioned in the last post, we managed to get the compass to work in our Turn function and also got the collision avoidance up and running. We tested the collision avoidance multiple times this session, to ensure there were no loopholes in the code.

One thing we hadn’t tested was the robot travelling backward. We wrote another ‘if’ statement within our function forward(), which takes a boolean value. If true, the robot travels forward; if false, it travels backwards using alternative code written the ‘else’ loop in the ‘if’ statement. We tested this on it’s own, and found it was fine, and proceeded to put this a long loop of manoeuvres. We tested this loop, again, a number of times – some where we did checks for the collision avoidance, and some without. We wanted to make sure that, with a long list of moves in the loop, the robot doesn’t suddenly skip a number of them when the collision avoidance is triggered. We did think this problem was present, but after checking multiple times, we can confirm that when the robot is stopped by an obstacle, once the obstacle is removed, the robot resumes its manoeuvres from where it left off.

There was not much else for us to do after this point, as we had tested all of the components we wanted, and we now have a working code which uses collision avoidance (a compulsory piece needed in Eurobot last year). Once heading back to university, we will have access to equipment we can use to cut a better chassis, and we will be able to tweak the code accordingly. The official rules for next year’s competition are to be released at the end of next month (September 2015), and we aim to be starting the designing and building of the new chassis around this time as well. Of course, the chassis will most likely no longer be a simple rectangular shape, as the competition, depending on the requirements for that year, have seen various shapes and sizes for the robots in the past. An example of this would be my team’s robot for this year’s competition.

We also want to construct a calibration mechanism, in order to be able to calibrate the robot more accurately. Our current design idea for this is a simple circular disk, mounted on a square base (larger than itself). The disk will have small castors attached to the understand, and lines etched on the top using the laser cutter, at 45 degree intervals. Likewise, the base will have similar lines etched into it, but will indicate the angles (0, 45, 90 etc). These lines (designed using CAD and cut using CAM) will be aligned with one another to help us rotate the disk accurately. I will post updates about this and the robot in the next few weeks once work resumes, and I will post those under the heading “Eurobot 2016”.

Thank you to those who have been reading these updates about the robot. I hope it has inspired some of you.


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