Bootcamp and Beginning of Year

As October begins, we at CWRUbotix are moving into the next stages of work on our competition teams. The NASA RMC team is actually headed into its second design review while the MATE ROV team and NRC teams are forming and working on initial concept designs. For three weeks in September, we held what we call "Robotics bootcamp." This is a 3-week mini competition that we hold, primarily to introduce new members to our team and how we operate as well as the fundamentals of robotics. This year, 90 people were involved, including an amazing 70 new members. They were divided up into 10 teams and each was given a cheap RC car. The challenge was to hack the RC car, add an Arduino, and get it to navigate a maze, all over the course of the three weeks.

The starting point: each team was given an RC car, Arduino, as well as access to color, ultrasonic, and touch sensors.

The course was set up on the 2nd floor of think[box] using large lego blocks as obstacles as well as colored tape lines for line following robots. Here a team is testing out their robot and trying to prevent it from driving into a wall. Thank you think[box] for letting us use the space!

Over the three-week period, we also ran mechanical, electrical, and software learning series geared specifically towards the problems the teams encountered and the steps they had to go through in order to create a functional robot, teaching them the fundamentals of robotics along the way. The mechanical series focused on teaching new members Solidworks by modelling a shell to be 3d printed for the car. The electrical and software series focused on basic Arduino and circuits as well as sensor integration, sensor feedback, and autonomy.

The last week was frantic as half of the teams actually broke the onboard circuit and had to switch to a motor controller. Even those teams that hadn’t were having trouble with their sensors in testing. However, when race day came, I’m happy to say that 9 out of the 10 cars were operational. Of these, a couple needed a little assistance to get across the finish line, but it was a great showing. We’ll have to work more with sensors in the future as only 3 of the cars were able to get any viable data from their color and ultrasonic sensors.

Look at that line following!

At the end, we had all of the cars run together and here they are lined up at the start.

Lydia Sgouros
Vice President: Education Committee Chair
October 11, 2018