Huskie Robotics is now one third of the way through the build season! Time flies when you are building robots! The unfettered optimism of the first week has evaporated into the harsh reality of design requirements, limited time, and the pesky laws of physics. The support of the parents and mentors continue to be essential and much appreciated!

This week’s video features a prototype of the ball collector. The ball collector team still has some challenges to overcome to design and build a reliable and robust mechanism. They have to meet the various rules specified by the competition which imposes significant constraints on their design. They continue to prototype and CAD.

The chassis and drivetrain teams have calculated the optimal gear ratios for the drivetrain. The motors, sprockets, and wheels have been ordered. While this design work was being done, other members of the team installed new wheels and chain on last year’s robot so they can test driving over the barrier.

Many students on the electrical team built all of the game elements. We now have a backboard with reflective tape and a rim, a barrier, and a bridge. We need to adjust the dynamics of the bridge to simulate the one used in the actual game, but we are ready when the robot is built! The electrical team has also been designing and building mounts for our new magnetic rotary encoders.

The programming team made a lot of progress defining and assigning tasks. The camera is recognizing reflective rectangles on the backboard. The Microsoft Kinect is up and running and recognizing gestures. The programmers are on their way to LabVIEW mastery!

The ball launcher team has the detailed design of the launcher done and has started to assemble what may be the production version of the launcher. Detailed design continues on the turret. They are also sharing their elite CAD skills with other teams!

Our goals for this week are several: use the video camera to calculate distance to the basketball rim; characterize the ball launcher range; drive over the barrier with various sized wheels; finalize detailed designs of the chassis, turret, and ball collector and send those designs out to be fabricated.

30 days to ship date!