|TEAM 4909 - BIONICS|
This week the team worked on finalizing the robot. With only 4 days until we have to stop building, most of the time was spent putting the finishing touches on the robot and programming. On the mechanical side, we finished the elevator mechanism and worked out the kinks on our cargo intake and hatch panel intake. Programming spent their time finalizing the software to control all the subsystems of the robot. This included stabilizing the elevator arms to reduce bouncing, fine tuning the software to make the robot run more smoothly and accurately, and program the climbing software. The team has also started driving and testing the robot sub-systems to identify areas of strength and weakness.
The software team is currently working with the mechanical team on the placement of on-board sensors and cameras to ensure the drivers have the visibility and tools needed when driving and maneuvering the robot.
Name: Dylan Walker
Title: Team Member (Software)
Years on Team: 2nd year
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “Involved with software, and helps with general programming and coding/problem solving.”
Impact FIRST has had: “Learned how to complete tasks in a group and made new friends.”
Favorite 4909 memory: “Fixed the autonomous code during the last week of the build season.”
Plans After High School: Go to college for applied mathematics and aerospace engineering.
Ideal Job: NASA aerospace engineer or mathematician
This week, all build leads and their groups converged with the robot leads to work on the main robot. The battery box was first moved due to an issue we discovered, where another component of the robot would interfere with it. Then, we figured out how to string our elevator to generate the type of motion we wanted. We attached the cargo and hatch panel manipulators together and mounted them to the robot using linking arms. We assembled lots of gearboxes and attached motors, pulleys, belts, chains, and sprockets. We moved our electronics on our modular board to be more space efficient. We moved our motor controllers on a separate modular board to fit better and allow space for elevator motors. This was done after figuring out where to mount the elevator motors. We also made and mounted bumper brackets to allow the robot to be protected during game-play. Finally, we fabricated the designed “stilts”, or the back poles that lift up our robot to allow us to get onto a tall step, in addition to our elevator.
Over the past week, the software team has been relentlessly working on finishing up programming the remaining subsytems for the robot. This includes the elevator,
the elevator arm, and the climbing mechanism as well. Also, we have been testing various cameras and programs in order to get vision processing, real-time camera analysis, working as well. Finally, as previous subsystems have been completed by the mechanical team, we have been testing them.
Name: Timothy Wallace
Title: Team Member (Mechanical)
Years on Team: 1st Year
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “Actively involved in the build process of the robot.”
Impact FIRST has had: “I have found a group of kids that feels like a family and they share my passions.”
Favorite 4909 memory: “Making new connections with the other students on the team. It has only been a year and I have met so many new people.”
Plans After High School: To attend college and receive a major in mechanical engineering.
Ideal Job: Research and Development or Design and Development.
At the beginning of the week, we finished the fabrication of some of the smaller parts of our elevator. Upon completing these smaller parts, we began to assemble the outer part of our elevator. First, we added rollers to the inside of the outer stage. Then, we added brackets, supports, and mounts where needed. We then proceeded to mount what we had of the elevator to the chassis. Our next step is to fabricate the remaining pieces and continue building the elevator.
This week the team put their hatch panel manipulator to the test. They found that the hinge they chose to use was not strong enough to handle the 40 pounds of force our piston was outputting. It would bend after a few articulations. So, we swapped the hinge out for a stainless steel one, and that works great. We combined this with full metal parts to build our final design. We also decided that we could modify our aluminum flipper to allow it to pick up hatch panels off the ground, a potentially valuable skill. After about 5 minutes on the grinder, we had a perfectly shaped, very hot aluminum flipper. After it cooled we put it on the final design, and are in the process of testing this. Once the other subsystems are complete, this can be attached to the final robot, and used in competition.
Over the past week we have completed the base parts for the bumper, which includes three main components for holding it in place. These parts are designed for minimal weight gain, and maximum support for the frame, allowing more crucial parts to be added onto the robot without putting us over the weight limit. Our bumpers are designed to withstand punishment, while giving us the support needed without compromising our mobility. Now that the bumpers are designed , and the parts have been fabricated, we are ready to begin assembly this week.
Name: Madhu Velmurugan
Title: Team Member (Mechanical)
Years on Team: 1st year
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: Actively involved in the build process of the robot.
Impact FIRST has had: FIRST is a fun community and it feels like a family. Not just within the team but the entire organization. Everyone comes together at competitions and we all have our common passion for robotics.
Favorite 4909 memory: Being human player in Battle of the Bay 2018
Plans After High School: Major in computer science
Ideal Job: Software Engineer
This week, the team started to make physical progress on the elevator. They made a small mockup to prove the concept before building. After finalizing the CAD design midweek, parts were ordered. As the parts came in, they quickly began constructing subsections of the elevator with our Bridgeport mill and Shapeoko CNC Router. Over the next week, the team will have their first iteration of the elevator done. This will allow software to test code and debug the elevator code.
Last week, the team was trying to design an intake that could manipulate both game pieces. However, this week, they determined that a specific cargo intake and specific hatch panel intake would work better. The team prototyped and tested their hatch panel manipulator. This design will ideally use a flipper powered by a piston to grab the disc and secure it onto the robot. The team is currently working on the design to ensure that the disc is secure when they grab it. Also, the team still needs to figure out how to make this intake mount on our elevator with the cargo manipulator. For the cargo intake, the team agreed on building a top-roller design and then built a prototype. The team is currently testing the design to see how well it manipulates the game piece. Once these intakes are fleshed out, the team can assemble final designs and put them on the actual robot.
The team also started the do some of the electrical work on the robot. They started to map out the electrical board and zip tie down the PDP (Power Distribution Panel), VRM (Voltage Regulation Module), and Robo Rio to the panel. Then, they wired the drive train to the PDP, and secured the CAN (Controller Area Network) wires. This week, the team will continue to finalize the electrical.
The team has been working on developing Line Follower code for every case in which the robot would approach one of the reflective tapes on the field. This takes factors such as length and width of reflective tape, configuration of photoelectric sensors, and orientation of the robot approaching the cargo ship/rocket into account. The software team is also using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) code will to measure distance from our robot to the cargo ship and/or rocket. This distance is useful to know so that we can coordinate with our other subsystems, namely our drivetrain and our elevator.
The build team of 4909 has officially finished the chassis of our robot for Deep Space. So, we on software are preparing to push the drivetrain code we have already been developing over the past couple of weeks to the robot and test it out.
The Green Alliance:
Name: Roshan Ravi
Title: Co-software Lead
Years on Team: 3 Years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: “Responsible for ensuring the robot software and match analysis platform work effectively.”
Impact FIRST has had: “Furthered my desire to pursue artificial intelligence”
Favorite 4909 memory: “Going to Worlds in 2018”
Plans After High School: BS in computer science and MBA
Ideal Job: Software entrepreneur
For the past week, the team has weighed pros and cons, finalized CAD designs, and has worked on prototypes for our final robot. Here is an in-depth analysis of what tasks each sub-team completed this week:
This week, development of the elevator continued as the elevator sub-group completed the CAD for the original design. They identified the faults in the this design and altered it to make one that was simpler to build. What they are going to use in terms of motors, motor controllers, and sensors in order to run the elevator have been discussed and have been given to the programming team. They will therefore be able to start to write the code required to run the elevator even before the team completes the build. Since the rest of the subsystems are either directly tied to or in some way involve the elevator, the team hopes to begin building next week.
This week the group of students working on intake designs for the hatch panels (discs) and cargo (13in balls) continued fleshing out designs that could handle both game pieces. Once the designs were pared down to two, they made drawing sheets (pieces of papers with several views of parts with dimensions). They used these to begin fabricating the designs. The team used the chop saw to cut metal tubing to size and the mill to drill precision holes. After that, the only remaining parts need to be cut our on our CNC router. This is a tool that cuts out complex precision parts using a side cutting drill bit to remove material until the desired shape is cut out. Once these are cut out, we can build both intakes and put them to the test to see which is better suited to the game.
This same group of students also worked on our drivetrain construction. They assembled pulleys and gearboxes to spin six wheels with only four motors. Once the drivetrain is complete, and the subsystems are assembled, the team can begin putting the entire robot together.
This week, the software team further developed the TGA User Interface. The app has been designed with tabs/sections for each part of a match: auto (sandstorm), teleoperated, and endgame. The app has been designed to be user-friendly and clearly shows all metrics that demonstrate how skilled a team is. They are working on implementing Arduino (a micro-controller that uses sensory input) and I2C (a processor) with LIDAR. LIDAR is a laser-based vision system that can be used to determine distance away from a distance. In our case, we will use LIDAR to line up with reflective tape that will be on the field. We will use I2C to process the data the LIDAR produces and then send this data to the Rio to tell the robot in which direction and how much to move. They are developing code for the robot subsystems the team expects to use, even though the team hasn’t started fabrication yet.
Different classes in the code correspond to different parts of the robot, and the software team is coding what they can without testing directly. They have also began the development of drivetrain code, which is very similar to last year’s.
Name: Bryan Mathews
Title: Build Lead and Drive Coach
Years on Team: 4 Years
Areas of Focus and Responsibilities: "Make sure the robot will be able to carry out strategies that will help us succeed"
Impact FIRST has had: "Solidified future plans improved communication skills"
Favorite 4909 memory: "Experiencing the World Championship in 2018"
Plans After High School: Masters in Electromechanical engineering at Wentworth Institute of Technology
Ideal Job: Walt Disney Imagineer