Date: August 3, 2018
Our focus in programming our robot was efficiency, which is why we spent a lot of time planning what function of our robot was to go with which button on the gamepad. As such, we have planned our most important functions beforehand. For driving, we have decided to add a toggle named “slow-mode”, where the robot drives with less than full capacity, so we can drive with more precision. That might come in handy when repositioning the robot in front of the atomic plant for example, or the wind turbine, where precision matters a lot.
For our driving system, we have decided on a tank drive, that will be controlled with the gamepad sticks, since it is the method our two drivers prefer.
While programming, we have also changed quite a few hardware aspects, since it has shown us a few issues we still had to solve. While we wanted to leave our omnom running for most of the time while collecting, we have also toggled this mechanism. The elevator runs on a toggle as well, but as we discovered, we had to build in a stopper so the cubes wouldn’t fall out over the top of the robot while the shooter isn’t running. The shooter itself isn’t toggled, as we don’t spend a lot of time shooting the cubes.
To avoid shooting the cubes one after another too fast, which might reduce our precision and lead to cubes falling short of the goal or missing in case of the atomic plant, we have built in a touch sensor that measures the pull on the frame that happens during shooting. Like this, the elevator is stopped shortly so the mechanism can fully recover before shooting the next cube, and the drivers can steer the robot with more precision to avoid misses.
As for the rest of the mechanisms, we used servos, as we rely on positioning rather than power. As such, our solar panel picker has four main positions, not counting the one at the start. They are up, mostly up, hovering just above the ground and pressing down, which are the results of trial and error runs. Like this, our solar picking works pretty well. The opening and closing of the solar picker is a programmed servo as well, since it takes precision rather than power.
We are using two servos for the wind turbine mechanism as well, one of them to move the mechanism out of the main robot body, and the other one to twist.