Sheep-pen-ator Version 2.

In early May it became clear that our attachment for Shepherds Pi wouldn’t work because the combined length of the robot and attachment was too much to permit a turn within the delivery pen.  So, here is the new version:

Perhaps Doofus should have a hard hat?

As you can see, this version can lift the sheep completely above the body of the robot; thereby not increasing the overall length of the machine.  In this configuration the robot is (just) able to turn within the pen.

This version has the added advantages that it can place a sheep over the fence of the pen, and it lifts the sheep out of the view of the camera.  However, it can only lift a sheep from the side (version 1 could lift from the side or from end on).

We did some experiments with the new lift, and it works well.

There’s a lot to do to get this game working though:

  • For now, the video guidance system aligns on the “sky” around the sheep.  However, there’s more blue around the head end of the sheep graphic and this pulls the centroid of the colour away from the cuboid centre.  Sometimes this causes a rather “lop-sided” lift of a sheep, although the lift still doesn’t usually drop the sheep.
  • The bigger problem is that the arena is too crowded for our control system.  In most games the rather vague nature of our dead reckoning system can be countered by the camera and ToF sensor.  But in Shepherds Pi there is need for more manoeuvres between visual guidance opportunities and this usually results in the robot displacing play pieces inadvertently.

We’ve decided to stop further work on this game for the time being.  We will prioritise the other games and videos, then use what time we have left to have another go later.

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