Archive for the ‘Robotics’ Category

Roborodentia Contest

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Cal Poly, my alma mater, holds an annual open house where the general public can go in and see what new stuff is going on at the school. All the colleges and clubs put their best face forward and show off, and some try to make a few bucks by selling stuff to the attendees. This is also when the IEEE Computer Society holds their Roborodentia contest, where students make robots and compete with them against other teams. The first year of the aforementioned contest I built a robot as my senior project and hoped to use it to compete in the contest. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get it programmed in time but I did get an ‘A’ on my senior project, and I got the programming done for the following year’s contest. I came in second place, because although my robot did finish the course and do everything that was asked of it, another robot did the same thing in about 30 seconds less time. a year or so after that I built another robot for the competition, and it also did very well, but didn’t win again. Since then I have gone to watch the contest annually, but haven’t really been serious about competing, at least not for more than an hour or so at a time. Usually the hour coincides with the time I’m actually at the contest watching enviously all the other teams with their robots compete. Hmm. Something seriously wrong with this picture. Yes, now I’m all fired up about the roborodentia contest because last weekend I went to Cal Poly and watched it. Hopefully next year will be different, and I will be able to finish a robot and get it programmed in time for the contest.

Vex Explorer

Friday, January 16th, 2009

So i got this Vexplorer robot that has some cool parts, wheels, gearmotors, a camera, etc., it’s kind of like a radio controlled erector set. Not really a robot, in the sense that a robot is a mechanical device that is controlled by a computer, but for the price, the parts will be useful for building a robot. not having to reinvent the wheel is nice.Their web site is Vex Robotics. I’m planning on using the base as a test bed for one of my robot projects, if I can just get the time to do it.

The Vex is in my opinion not really a robot, as I understand the definition to be. It’s more of a radio controlled Erector Set. It wasn’t really expensive, and it does have the wireless camera and receiver, as well as the complete radio control system, and a host of other useful parts. For someone who doesn’t want to build a robot chassis from scratch, it would be a nice platform. I got it put together and drove it around a bit, now I plan to remove the radio control system and use a microcontroller to turn it into a real robot that will do stuff on its own.