Saturday, August 23, 2008

August 21st

Today we put the pieces for the competition on the mat. We couldn't figure out where some of the pieces went, but we did our best. We brainstormed about what we would have to do with the different pieces. Some of them, such as the ice core sample, the storm system, and the house were obvious, but we'll have to wait to find out what we do with the rest of the pieces.

Next, our coach put us to work trying to discuss designing a gear train to put on the robots we had built two weeks previously. We decided we will gear up a robot that has treads and gear down a robot that has very fast wheels. The robot with treads is slightly more accurate, but it is much slower. The robot with wheels is very fast, but not very accurate. We think that by gearing the second one down, we can improve its accuracy.

The last task our coach set before us was to brainstorm how we could use touch and light sensors to help us with the missions this year. We discussed attaching a touch sensor to the robot and have it extended so that when we touch the wall, a motorized arm can move up and hopefully pick up the ice core and the ice buoy. We also considered using the touch sensor so that when we hit the wall, we can use the motorized arm to push the lever on the flood gate and raise the gate up.

Since we don't know if the yellow and gray balls will be set on the field randomly, we talked about using a light sensor to determine the colors of the different balls, and to figure out which way the yellow direction arrow is pointing. We don't know if we have to move the direction arrows so that a particular color is facing us or our opponents or if we should collect the carbon dioxide and deliver that to a certain location and put the money somewhere else. We won't know this until the Challenge is announced on September 5th, but at least we thought of different ways we could use the light sensor.

Here are pictures of the team at our competition table.

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