Today we moved from “I reckon XYZ will work” to “Here’s how XYZ will work.” We heard back from the 8020 guy, we might be able to get it in-house by the end of the week. We got our floor loader designed:
The picture really ought to be rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise to show the floor loader in the floor-loading position.
This prototype is one of a matching pair, each on an opposite side of the robot and on either side of the lift. With respect to the robot, Y being forward, Z being vertical, and X being sides, the two floor loaders would both pivot together on the X axis to come out of the robot’s perimeter and reach the floor, and independently(?) on the Z axis to open and close on a game piece. When we gain control of a game piece, we’ll pivot both back on the X axis and the piece will land on our “peg” – aggressively passive manipulator. From there we can raise or lower the game piece to scoring-peg height.
Another a-ha moment came when we realized the lift can be set back on the robot. All along we had envisioned it being as far forward as possible; when we placed the chassis under the field elements, we discovered we can almost put it in the midpoint of the base. This means the floor loader can go forward on the frame, and not only allow us more space for the minibot/deployer, but center our weight even more and take full advantage of our mecanum drive system.
LabView installed incorrectly on our new netbook, we’ll get it reinstalled soon and import some mecanum drive code, some vision target code, some line tracker code, and all kinds of other stuff. The problem was our netbook doesn’t have a CD drive; we copied the LabView install CD onto a flash drive and installed from that. In doing so, the vision code got messed up somehow. We’re borrowing an external CD drive to load it better.
The minibot climbed up the pole. That was a cool thing to see. It took about 8 seconds on a low battery. Unfortunately we don’t have video yet; tomorrow we’ll be sure to take some. Now it’s just refining the design and working on deployment.
This year’s robot has real potential. Hopefully it can live up to that potential on the playing field, and hopefully it can get a lot of playing time on Saturdays.