One week from yesterday, our robot will be bagged and tagged and off limits until the competition. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we still have a lot to do!

Our chassis is assembled, wheels are mounted, chain is connected, and gear boxes with motors are installed. The robot is fast! It drives over the 4″ barrier well which is a key part of our game strategy. The students also practiced balancing the robot on the bridge. While it was surprisingly difficult to balance a single robot, balancing two was not too bad. We were surprised to discover that we can drop our two rear wheels off the bridge while balanced and only consume 24″ of the bridge! This may prove to be an unexpected and very valuable competitive advantage!

The layout of all the electronics has been designed and the electronics are mounted. We are now in the process of wiring meters and meters of cable to interface with motors, servos, relays, lights, and sensors and creating specialized cables to connect to some of our specialized sensors.

The digital design for the ball collector is complete and all parts have arrived. Yesterday we bagan assembling it and we hope to have basketballs popping out of the top of the robot today!

We plan to start assembling the final version of the ball launcher today with the arrival of new shafts. While we need to test the robot bottom to top before “bag and tag,” we will keep the ball launcher mechanism for further testing right up until the first competition.

The programming team has been working on a dozen different things. They are making progress determining the robot’s distance to the hoop based on images from the camera. They now have a model for the basketball trajectory that can be used to set the speed of the ball launcher. They have code to drive the robot using a video game controller and various modes for adjusting the speed for different aspects of the game (e.g., balancing on the bridge). They have software to read different sensors and interpret their values. This week they will write the autonomous code which will, without human intervention, drive the robot from its starting position to one of the bridges to retrieve basketballs at the start of the game.

Tomorrow, we will submit of applications for various awards. We are putting the final touches on the most prestigious award, the Chairman’s Award. We are also updating our web site in preparation for the web site award also due in a week.

At this point every task that must be completed before Tuesday is scheduled and carefully sequenced.

7 days to bag and tag!