The Brobots entered JSDC 2014 facing a lot of setbacks along the way, including the partial closure of the machine shop, the random explosions of our BeagleBone Blacks (BBBs) and the fact that our manipulator did not work 3 days before the competition. Yet, we overcame all these obstacles and got our Robot working with 100% functionality with no communication issues.
We realized a few days before the competition that our original design of the manipulator (which used zip-ties) wasn’t able to pick up a stack of cones. Our mech head, Alex, redesigned a new manipulator within a day and with the help of a laser cutter we managed to make a manipulator which worked superbly in picking up cones. To see a video of our manipulator in action:
Our BBBs started frying a couple of weeks into the competition when we plugged in our spike inputs. It seems that they were not able to handle all the current that it was drawing from the various victors. 2 nights before the competition we came up with a new comms design which made used of an Arduino with an ethernet shield to handle all the manipulator functions using a UDP protocol. In the end, we had a BBB to control our drive train using TCP and a Arduino to control our manipulator concurrently. Both of them received data from a client side program we developed which had 2 open communication streams open all the time. Here is a pic of the set-up:
On the day of the competition, one of our welds broke for the crab modules. Within an hour, our mech team including our master welder Danny, got the robot to the ESPL and got the module fixed up. In our opinion, this was an amazing feat which shows how effective our team is under pressure.
We were one of the only teams from UIUC to reach the Quater Finals where we lost out to the 2 robots which reached the finals in a very close encounter. Regardless of the result we are extremely proud of our robot and what we have achieved this season. Our robot is in 100 working condition before and after the competition and we have a super cool robot to show-off during our demonstrations for the year to come.
We would like to thank our sponsors and anyone else who have supported is in one way or another. Also, a huge thanks to the UIUC supporters to came down on the day of the competition to support us!
Look out for our gallery which will be uploaded soon!