From Maslab 2011
VEGA AND THE VOLTRONS
Black lion is go.
Yellow lion is go.
Blue lion is go.
Red Lion is go.
Green lion is go.
Ready to form Voltron! Activate interlocks! Dyna-therms connected. Infra-cells up; mega-thrusters are go! Let's go, Voltron Force!
Blue lion: We could only get the Hello world program to run if BotClient was running on BOTH the eeePC and the laptop. Unsure why, but hey, it works.
Yellow lion: Yes, the Hello World program would not operate with a TextChannel alone. We ended up needing a BotClient running on both ends in order to establish a connection.
Green lion: Today, 1/3/11, our pride was split into three. After lecture, both the blue and yellow lion focused on coding, and focused they were indeed. The hello world program on botclient didn't take much time, but talking to the orc board and running the motors posed a serious problem. Luckily the problem seemed to be common among the other teams and it was resolved once everyone realized that it was the new orc board's default ESTOP connection that was defective. The red lion and myself dealt with connecting the uorc, via soldering, to the various components. Outside of the fact that we soldered directly to our orc board at first, everything turned out functional. Our team leader, the black lion, finished mounting the motor brackets and then left us to fight for ourselves in the jungle that is MASLAB! He eventually joined us again and we finally conglomerated to discuss our strategy to protect the universe and compete in the final competition. Solid first day.
Red lion: Still 1/3/11, we had a meeting at Voltron headquarters to discuss strategy and design. First we ordered alot of pizza and had a Voltron: Lion Force marathon. After that we got to work. Blue lion was coding nonstop to develop our AI (read: playing video games) and Yellow lion was hard at work designing our camera interface (read: sleeping). We have agreed to go for what we originally planned before IAP, which is a bot that will exclusively go for scoring balls over the yellow dividing wall. We feel this not only maximizes our possible score each round, but also allows us to defend against other robots dumping balls into our half of the field. This way we dont need to discern the colors of our team's ball vs the other teams ball, we just pick up any ball we encounter and put it over the wall. In terms of our structural design, we have decided to use a combination of rollers. We'll have a wide opening in front with a rubber band roller to gather the balls. Then we'll have a large drum roller behind a collecting area for the balls. This drum will carry the balls from the ground level collecting bay to an elevated collecting bay that is slanted downwards towards the front of the bot. Both of these rollers will continuously turn throughout the round to continuously collect balls. The front of our top collecting bay will have a door, hinged on the bottom, about 6" tall. This will lower via a servo to release the balls when we encounter the yellow dividing walls, then tilt back upwards to contain any more balls collected. The one control on this ball collecting and lifting mechanism will be two break sensors, one in between the front and rear rollers, and one right before the top collection bay. This way we know if each ball makes it up to the top, and if the bottom sensor is tripped without the top being tripped soon afterwards, we can reverse the rollers and undo the jam. We also decided that our camera will be front mounted, and that on the rear we will have a marker dropping system. The marker will be orange or purple and tall, and the bot will place it on the ground when it is near the yellow dividing wall. This way, wherever the bot is on the field, if it wants to return to the wall to score, it needs only to locate the marker over all the other walls and find its way back to the marker. For a driving system, we definitely want the ability to strafe and also the ability to rotate around the central axis. Therefore we decided to use omniwheels. If we can find mecanum wheels that are cheap enough, we want to use those since they will be easier to mount, and have a pretty significant swag-factor. If we cant though, we will use 4 omniwheels, one at each corner, mounted 45 degrees to the walls of the robot, to give us the same abilities. Our eeePC will be mounted in a slot directly above the bottom (floor level) ball collecting bay, and below the top bay. This way our center of gravity will still be low, and we like the sound of that. We may also have a trackball mouse for odometry. We like the idea of a trackball better than optical because we feel that will be better for rolling. We aren't quite sure yet if its needed though. As space explorers, we have also found way to combat the evil forces of the universe. We will have a tall antenna with a 360 degree array of IR beams. These will shine out to confuse/disable the other team's IR sensors, while at the same time being far enough away from the robot to not interfere with our own IR sensors (which will be mounted on the front to aid in wall locating and following). Green voltron is currently drawing our first sketch. Black voltron is making our schedule. Blue voltron is doing something productive. Yellow lion is still sleeping 2 hours later.
Black lion: Kept everyone in line.
Blue lion: I've noticed that both green and red lions are having issues with telling time as they believe it was Sunday yesterday. Besides that, we've finalized the design "structure" for our programming and AI. That is currently in a word document in my possession. Black lion has reviewed it and approves. I am working on getting everyone setup and instructed in SVN + organizing our Java structure. Update: SVN is up and running with vision code as well.
Black lion: We made a lot of design progress today. We've divided up tasks for coding, and started the CAD process. I'd estimate we're about a quarter done with CAD; we've got a number of individual components done, but little integration. Still, what we've done has already led us to a number of design decisions, and we're on pace with our schedule.
Yellow lion: Code for Checkpoint 3 is complete. Our team is now shifting focus on dividing up the labor and getting ready for an all out blitz of work to get this robot in working order as soon as possible. We're going to start in on Checkpoint 4 and hopefully we'll actually be able to finish that by today. It seems much more difficult than Checkpoint 3 but we already have some vision code written which should help a great deal.