Colorado Robot ChallengeYear 4 Saturday April 10th, 2010
Location: Great Sand Dunes National Park Permit “willing”, we will be at the usual location on Saturday morning.
Goals We are: • attempting to develop small autonomous robots capable of traversing harsh terrain as they move towards a central beacon. • providing students with exceptional training in a growing technological discipline.
Let’s Look at the Basic Rules Don’t scheme ways of defeating the competition. We are all working together to solve the problem! No winners, no losers. Just learners.
Basic Rules Maximum Mass: 1.5 kg This is the mass of a small cat. Please don’t add electronics to cats and enter them. Keep them small!
Basic Rules A beaconing system will provide location information to the robots. This signal will be used for tracking and sending information to the robot. Details will be discussed later in the presentation.
Basic Rules No materials which could potentially harm the environment! We want good publicity, not bad publicity. After the event, we will also clean the activity area.
Basic Rules The robot must remain in contact with the ground! The goal is to navigate the terrain, not avoid it. Flying robots will not be allowed.
Overview of the Event We will have four courses.
Overview of the Event Course 1 will be fairly smooth and lacking major obstacles. The purpose of this course is to illustrate the robot’s ability to find the homing beacon.
Overview of the Event Course 2 will be essentially level, but will contain obstacles, natural or artificial. On this course, the robot will demonstrate its ability to detect and avoid obstacles while still homing to the beacon. The obstacles will be sizable.
Overview of the Event Course 3 will involve uneven terrain. This course will demonstrate the robot’s ability to make decisions regarding a safe route. Obstacles may be present
Overview of the Event Course 4 will be a nightmare, combination of all the course only at a harder level.
Overview of the Event Expect any and all weather conditions
Basic Systems Your robot will have at least these basic systems: 1) Motion 2) Sensory 3) Direction Determination
The Where am I Question! We will provide a base station beacon, details on the website. It will be capable of tracking your robot IF your robot requests to know where it is. It will sent back to your robot the angle between north and your robot. It should have an accuracy of about 5 degrees, more than adequate for our event.
Off the Shelf Sensors Parallax also sells pre-assembled IR sensors, ultrasonic sensors, tilt/acceleration sensors, etc. They are not unique in their offerings.
DANGER! DANGER! The fine sand at the Sand Dunes can find its way into your robot, causing it to stop working! Two years ago sand stopped the motors on a robot. Last year it stopped the ultrasonic sensors on a robot, leaving it “blind”.
Support If we are not alone, then you are not alone!
Traveling Workshops Randy Emmons will provide FREE beginning robotics workshops (Basic Stamp based) at your institution beginning in October. He will also continue to interact, at their request, with your students through the development phase. This interaction can include expansion to the PIC microcontroller.
Questions Answered Brian Sanders at CU was “encouraged” to provide assistance with groups who chose to use the Atmel microcontrollers. Both Brian and Randy can address questions on basic logic.
Web Support Brian will be expanding the Colorado Robot Challenge on the CSGC website. This site will include answers to questions that various groups encounter.
Money! CSGC has provided $2500 to be used as equipment money for this event. This is enough to buy a microcontroller and some basic sensors for 5 teams. Contact Randy Emmons (email@example.com) for more information.
Colorado Robot Challenge Philosophy We are working together on this project. It is not a contest. By working in teams, we increase the number of students exposed to this important technology. Different teams will take different approaches, allowing us to learn for each other. Share ideas! We, as a group, want to develop the best possible small, autonomous robots.
Many Omitted Details While many details have been omitted, there is enough information for you to form teams (can be more than one team) at your institution. The students will need some time to brain storm robot designs. Their lack of technological knowledge is not a handicap; we are all involve with this project to learn.
Where Should Your Students Start? They should design a platform – the unit responsible for movement
While Designing the Platform … Make arrangements for a workshop at firstname.lastname@example.org – he won’t respond until after October 5th. Look at different sensor options. Allow the students to be creative and ….
Think Outside the Box Many designs are possible
If You Must Stay with Wheels There is still a lot of room for creativity.