Hello Again

Hmm.  Keeping this blog up to date is one of the trickier aspects of PiWars.  A lot has happened since the last entry, both with our robot build and in the world.  This year has rather taken the wind out of our sails (and everyone else’s I think). Throughout lockdown, and now lockdown 2.0, we’ve been very slowly working on our robot and now we are working towards PiWars @ Home. 

So, let’s start with where we had got to in March, the time PiWars 2020 was postponed.  PiDrogen2020 (P20) was looking pretty impressive sporting the re-designed Nerf gun for Zombie Apocalypse.

P20 armed and ready for the Zombie Apocalypse

P20 was ready to take on many of the challenges:

  • P20 is quicker and has better ground clearance than PiDrogen 2019 (P19) so we were confident it was going to perform well on the obstacle course.
  • We can now fit mecanum wheels.  Nathan had been practicing driving with them, which is pretty tricky to do well, ready for PiNoon.
  • We were excited to show our upgraded Nerf gun to the world for Zombie Apocalypse.  The new design is more accurate and powerful.  It is also easier to align as the laser sight can be adjusted with thumb screws (machine screws actually).
  • Everything was also ready for Lava Palava which was to be performed using video camera guidance; this was a straight lift from P19.
  • We were also fully prepared for Escape Route.  P20 has three time-of-flight sensors mounted in its face plate; one facing forward, one left, one right (as can be seen in the photo above).  These allow P20 to follow a wall and detect when the wall comes to an end.  The maze route was pre-programmed.
  • Eco-Disaster was a little behind the curve.  An arm was developed that mounts under the robot chassis and this worked well; it can easily pick up a barrel.  But the code was easy to defeat. A barrel could easily be knocked over if it were between another barrel and the delivery zone – more work was needed (or kind/lucky barrel placement on the day!)
  • We also needed to do more work for Mine Sweeper.  The plan was to mount a mirror ball above an upward facing camera.  Experiments showed that it should work and that the robot should be able to see the entire arena. The code was set up for mecanum wheels and looked ready to test.  However we never built the mirror ball mount or the test arena.

We were pleased with P20. It was on target to be a strong competitor for PiWars 2020.  But we can do better…P21 is coming soon.

To be the first to see it in all its glory, follow @PiDrogen on Twitter or subscribe to our blog.

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