electronic circuit schematic
finite state machine diagram
testing stepper motor direction and tracks
My 3-D model of the robots frame. These pieces were cut out of acrylic and press fit together.
shooting ping pong balls
testing turret movement
testing mobility and centering ourselves in the arena
I volunteered at the Provo Peaks Elementary School on Center St. on Monday’s after school for one hour every week, coordinated my team with Peter Rich, and competed in the Saturday morning Lego Mindstorm competition against a dozen or so local schools.
There were definitely some ups and downs of this experience but overall I feel incredibly blessed to have had the chance to do this. My hope is that in briefly addressing the less positive parts of the experience in this assignment that future students participating in this competition might have a better experience. Basically the only thing that needs to be improved is communication to the volunteer. I missed the Saturday morning training session so that may be where a lot of this was communicated! But, at the beginning I didn’t know I was the only one helping the kids, I didn’t know where the robot was, our robot turned out to be a generation that was incompatible with the existing software installed on the school computers, we were missing some parts, haha and I didn’t know that I was the one that was supposed to know all this stuff. I feel like this made it a little bit unduly stressful. If I’d known beforehand what my role was I could have been a lot better prepared. “Mentor” made me think all that was required was my mere physical presence and advice.
I had a team of 3 boys and basically all they wanted to do was punch each other! Haha it reminded me of growing up with my brothers, I had forgotten what being a little kid is like and somehow after each day trying to get them to focus and work together I left a happier person. The very first day I still remember at the very end Casin says to me, “You know what? You’re awesome!” I think it was the fact I was telling them all about robots which they think is magic basically and the fact that I had a motorcycle helmet so they thought I was cool. Then at the competition I learned Michael had stayed after school without me during the week to work on our code and he had also convinced his Mom to buy him his own Lego Mindstorm set for him! I was super impressed with how smart this kid was and tried to make sure he felt good about his work even though we didn’t win the competition. We only won one round but that one round was pure gold! Haha this is a picture of Michael and our robot together after winning that one round.
This is the first version. It is pretty lame. I took apart an old plastic pressure gauge and wired in some LED’s and connected them to three 9V batteries in line with a button switch. Let me explain the disadvantages.
- Too bulky. Iron Mans chest light is noticeable but it doesn’t stick out like a snowplow. To give the appearance of it actually being inside your chest the light actually has to be pretty slim.
- Too many wires. I wired everything up inefficiently the first time. Carrying around three 9V batteries is overkill, especially because you wear the light like a necklace but then you carry the batteries in your pocket. All the wires is awkward and cumbersome.
- Including a button-switch was the wrong move. It was fun for a little while to be able to blink the light on and off with your hand in your pocket but for the light to stay on you had to keep your finger on the button. Kinda lame at parties.
This is the Iron Man chest light 2.0. It’s got a different version of his armor in the vinyl silhouette which I like better. This version solves all the problems that the first version had. It’s slim because I custom made the cylinder from cutting rings out of acrylic. The 9V acts as a stabilizing weight keeping the light in the center of your chest. To turn on the light you push a switch that is next to the battery and it stays on. I also used large LED’s and they produce a light that seems more unified instead of lots of small lights. Overall it cost me about $7.
I’m on the top left, my chest light doesn’t look great in the bright light but in the corn maze at night it was awesome!
Made w AtTiny85 Dev Board, a Mosfet, and an automotive “halo” light. IMG_0181