Robot Rover Derby
One Section Available to Choose From:
|Course Dates||Weeks||Meeting Times||Status||Instructor(s)||CRN|
|June 24, 2013 - July 12, 2013||3||M-F 12:45-3:35P||Waitlisted||Jerry Daniels||10069|
Engineers design useful or desirable objects, employing scientific principles. In Robot Rover Derby you and two teammates will design, construct and program a useful and desirable rover that will compete with other rover teams in a ladder tournament.
Your rover can navigate autonomously by onboard computer signals. The rover will start remotely by 900MHz wireless transmission. Work on the rover can be divided into three parts: Mechanical, Electrical, and Programming; we expect that each student will learn something about each aspect of their rover, but may take responsibility for one.
A rover team's mechanical specialist will assemble the rover chassis from sections of grooved aluminum rail (see T-slot framing at http://www. 8020.net) or Tetrix parts. On the chassis the mechanic will connect (using #25 chain) from drive wheel sprockets to independent stepping motors. The rovers will use "tank steering;" therefore the wheels should align on an axle going through the rover's center of gravity. Motor driver circuit boards will be mounted near the motors. See steppers and drivers at http://www.anaheimautomation.com/. The mechanic will make provisions on the chassis for wall-detecting sensors, and phototransistors to search for a bright light over the team's goal. The rover will be in a contest where weighing less than its opponent counts for a bonus point, so the mechanic will want to minimize the weight of the rover he or she constructs. The default rover weighs about 20 pounds. The mechanical specialist will be concerned with shop safety: proper use of power tools, vises, safety goggles, etc.
The electrical specialist on the team will put together their rover's power unit and learn how to charge the two 12v lead-acid batteries in parallel. A triple-pole switch will convert the batteries to 24v of series voltage when in "drive" mode. The electrician will learn about toggle switches, heat-sensitive circuit breakers, voltage regulators, and proper grounding techniques for electrical assembly. She or he will put to use Ohm's Law, and logic gate truth tables. On the rover will be an Arduino microprocessor board (http://www.arduino.cc); the electrician will hook up wires connecting the computer "ports" to the motor drivers and sensors. The Arduino board will have a 900MHz XBee receiver for remote control. A handheld XBee transmitter unit will be assembled by the electrician, with help from the programmer. The electrician will learn how to solder reliable connections, and how to use terminal blocks, quick-disconnects, plus banana and binding post connectors. She or he will be concerned with safety issues for soldering.
The stepping motor drivers each have 3 inputs: Clock, Direction and Enable, to be controlled from the onboard computer. Clock rate determine rotation speed. The team programmer will learn the fundamentals of embedded C and the architecture of the Atmega 328 microprocessor used by Arduino. The programmer will be given example code to start with. Programming basics will include C syntax, data types (integer, floating point, etc.), conditional branching (if and switch choices), iteration (for and while loops), callable functions, interrupts, and header files. The programmer will learn to upload code from a desktop computer to the Arduino board. The Arduino editor generates a *.pde file that insulates the programmer from some details of C. An Arduino program has a one-time setup section that continues to an "infinite while loop" which runs over and over executing the control code for the rover. Debugging is achieved by a "serial monitor" that can print out variables as the program executes.
Teams will invariably spend considerable time troubleshooting problems. Teams will do best that learn to communicate, cooperate, collaborate and compromise (the 4 Cs). The 5th C--Cleanup up at the end of each day--will also turn out to be important. The 6th C--Competing--should be done with humility by winners and gracefulness by losers.
*Please note: This course has a Supplemental Fee of $300.00.