Saturday, November 15, 2008

Field Trip

This is Alex. On Friday we had our field trip to the Brazos River Authority which is where they make the biosolid fertilizer. It was a very interesting tour and we learned a lot of things about biosolids that we would never have found out before. For example, 100% of Belton's waste goes to the factory, and 66% of Temple's waste goes there. All that stuff smelled absolutely toxic. We also learned exactly how the biosolids are processed. It is a long and complicated process and I am quite glad that my mother was paying such strict attention.

They have to take the water and filter out all the large bits of junk.

Then, they completely remove all the water to turn it into sludge cakes (which smell worse than they did before). After that's done, they put it through another machine to make sure it's composed of exactly the right minerals and microscopic organisms, and then they pile it up so big that it combusts itself like a compost heap.

Believe me, it's more complicated than that, but we're going to go over it in more detail on Sunday. We are also, hopefully, going to get some more work done on the arrows and floodgate mission. I think we need to use the ultrasonic sensor to see when we're the right distance from the far wall before stopping and turning. If we can get the distance down straight, I'm pretty sure it'll make it a lot more consistent. So, that'll be one of our main objectives. That's all for now. bye.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

November 2nd, 6th and 9th

This is David and Alex. On the second of November, we worked on nothing but the robot. We worked on the house mission, and got it to the point where we can almost always gather all of the items. We tried to get the light sensor to work, but it was very difficult and we did not choose a very good line follower program.

That was pretty much all that we did on the second, but in between the second and the sixth, we found a new line follower program. On the sixth, we worked on the house mission again. We still couldn't get the light sensor to work so, we found yet another line follower program.

On the ninth, we tried the new program. It worked much better at the beginning, but then we decided to revise our plan and not raise the house or open the window. Now, we have decided to work on the directional arrows and the floodgate. We have a very good idea for how to set up the arrows. It's also very simple, but the only problem is that it takes up a lot of memory on the NXT. It shouldn't be that big a problem, but it could be. In any case, we'll do it and see where it gets us. While we worked on programming, Nic and Cheyne built a duplicate robot. They decided that the best way to differentiate between the robots was to make the second one as luridly colored as possible. So, all the arms are yellow, green, red, or other unconventional colors. And, they're not put on in any kind of pattern or style. So, we know which is which.

We also did a teamwork challenge, where we had to make two pillars to hold a yardstick up over a box, and then build a cradle for a pool ball to stand on top of the stick. It was difficult, but we got it all done in time.

That's all that we did for those last three meetings.