Joey here: The whole moonbots experience was fun. From never having the whole team there at one time, to D-day being the first day of high school, i was stressed. We had been having robot troubles the last few days before the competition but when it came time for the real runs we did well. It was a different experience but it was worth doing and I would do it again. I am currently mentally fried after stress from my first day of high school, moonbots competition, and the fact that i have only been home for 3 days. Thanks for Google and LEGO's support. Getting all the LEGOs was an unexpected bonus.
Jacob talking here. This is my last moonbots blog I am very sad that this is over i have had so much fun talking to all of you. I would thank the people at Lego for supplying us with the field. We hope that the judges choose us for a prize. I love Lego Mindstorms so much I couldn't write enough about Mindstorms. Now that I know about Moonbots i wish to do this a second year. I cant wait to hear or see the new topic for next years "Moonbots'' I love Lego and Google so much. Thank you
Philip for this part: So we just, literally JUST finished our competition run submission! It went great!!! We scored a 220 points out of the possible 250 we went for. This means that we picked up 4 yellow rings, and 1 blue ring. We only missed one ring. We filmed our run, took pictures of the artifacts, stood on the peak of eternal light, and made it back to base with our rings. Joey, Jacob, and our coaches/mentors were here too, but Ginnie was absent :( because she moved to Chicago a week ago. It was sad to see her leave, but we are DEFINITELY going to send her our video's and the results when they come out. Overall, it was a great experience, and we did GREAT considering Ginnie is now in Chicago, Jacob was in Canada, and Joey was sailing his heart out across the country! Also, we had originally heard that ring orientation was to be decided, so we built an arm to pick up rings from the base to be able to pick up from any angle.
Jamie and Judy: This was quite the adventure! The Cougar's goal was to have everything done by August 12th. The last official team practice was August 12th. Dr. Judy left for New York and Canada on the 11th. Coach Jamie left for Canada on the 13th. Jacob left for Canada on the 14th. And Ginnie moved to Chicago (forever, sob) on the 15th. Philip was loaned a key to our house (the field is in our basement), and he carried on with programming and testing while the rest of the team was out of town. We all shared ideas by emails and phone with Philip as he programmed and tested. And everybody blogged from wherever they were when they had the chance
The ruling that came out on the 13th that the rings would be lined up as in the Challenge Blueprint. We emailed back and forth about about whether we should build a simpler arm that could spear multiple rings and once, and raise and lower faster. We decided, as a team, that it was too late to make any significant hardware changes. Besides, the arm works pretty well. Just for fun, Joey just ran and videoed one last run with the rings facing different directions and the arm was able to pick up all the rings.
Joey again: Everybody (except Ginnie) got back into town sometime on Sunday, August 22nd. We met that evening to finish up and submit our video. Here are some of the things we did since then:
- We reprogrammed mission 1 to move across the field on a hybrid of distance & proximity instead of just distance (too inaccurate) or just proximity (which frequently failed because we are at the upper limit of the ultrasonic sensor's range).
- We added a catch to the arm so that it catches at the top and resists pulling away from the robot. This seems to have stopped the rubber band issues.
- We had to rebuild the end of the arm gearing because it started to lock up at the top. New gears, same design, seemed to fix the problem.
- We had to build at least 3 different camera mounts before getting one that worked
- We added an ultrasonic start to the mission so that we don't have to use the computer to start a run. We just wave a hand in fromt of the sensor.
- We shortened the main mission up to stay within the 3 minute time limit. The robot is capable of picking up the blue rings in the craters and we had written the code to do so. But just getting in and out of the craters took too much time. We now get the 1st 2 yellow rings along the back wall, park on the POEL, pick up 1 blue ring from the right crater, cross the center wall, pick up the two yellow rings, dash for home. If all goes well we get 220 points. We put in a timer reset block right after the ultrasonic start. The robot now checks the time and if it has time, turns around and picks up 1 blue ring without entering the left crater then dashes for home for 250 points. If there isn't enough have time to pick up that last ring, then the robot just dashes for home
- We made a test Skype call with James Isom to make sure it was going to work well.
- We talked about the live mission webcast
-We put together a pre-mission checklist which included tightening both omni wheels, tighten arm and check tension, turn on the on board camera.