Sidmouth Science Festival

Each year, Sidmouth (in the southwest of England) has a science festival.  This, year it takes place between the 8th and the 17th October 2021.

We like to go to the festival for the rocket car contest. If you’re an avid follower of our blog, you may recall that our entries won the rocket car contests in 2017 and 2018; see this blog post.

This year, on the 16th of October, there is to be a robot workshop where families can build, drive and code robots.  We have agreed to demonstrate P21, probably doing a derivative of the Tidy Up the Toys challenge.  However, we decided to make some changes to the robot (and a new arena) first:

  • The TUtT gameplay will change.  The arena (which I hope will be on a tabletop) will have a robot parking bay at one end and a “stack zone” at the other.  People will be able to place the blocks in the arena, then press a go button (either P21’s existing start button, or perhaps one on the arena).  The robot will collect the boxes and re-stack them in the stack zone.  Possibly there will be a P21 camera view displayed on a monitor somewhere.
  • The end zones on the arena will be coloured so that the robot can use them to localise.  We will use walls to stop the robot from falling from the table; the walls will also be coloured so that the robot should be able to avoid them visually too.
  • We may use barrels instead of boxes since they have the same width from any direction; this means the robot can approach them from any direction to lift them too.
  • We might take a look at P21’s headlights.  We don’t know what the lighting is like in the demonstration venue; it would be a good idea if P21 could provide it’s own illumination of the game arena if required.
  • Finally, we’ll update the start-up and shut-down procedures for the robot; SSH-ing into the Pi to do a demonstration is going to be too slow!

So, if you find yourself near Sidmouth on October 16th, come and say hello!

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