More evolution

Well, at the start of the week, the plan was that half term would be devoted to adding suspension to the chassis. However by midweek, that had been done, and the decision was that it made control of the robot too difficult (because of sideways “give” that was a side effect of the design, I think). So by the time I got home on Thursday the bot had changed yet again to feature tracks… which can be easily replaced by our smaller wheels, but not the larger ones (because the track length means that the motors are too close together to put the larger wheels on them). Anyway, now we have a slower robot, that can turn very precisely, but I’m not convinced that we can control it very well (as shown in the video). It remains to be seen whether it is just a matter of practice or whether we need further adjustments to the design to improve controllability.

img_20161028_064759800A few weeks back I managed to fry one of my line following sensors (or maybe it was just a dud to start with – I’m not sure). I ordered my replacement from China, a fraction of the price for exactly the same product, and just to be sure I had some spares, I ordered five rather than just one (or so I thought). Even with expedited postage, that was cheaper than the original three that I ordered from a UK supplier. On Thursday, when I got home VERY late (nearly midnight) from work I found a parcel waiting for me with TWENTY-FIVE sensors in it! Yup, I should read the item description more carefully: “1 unit” in this case was five sensors. Guess I now have a lot of spares! Anyway, as a result of this, I’ve done some work this weekend on our line following, which I would love to say was working perfectly, but I haven’t had enough chance to test because of other team members hogging the platform 😉

What were other team members doing? Well, apart from practising driving skills, my son was having a go at developing his own code with the line follower sensors. Not full-on line following yet (he’s only just learning Python), but as a part-way task, to drive until the robot sees a line and then stop. My husband was helping to guide in this endeavour, while youngest was busy “supervising” the whole process.

We’re also starting to think about what sensors we’d like for the maze and have ordered a couple of different variants to try. I’ll report more on that when they’ve arrived and we’ve had a chance to play with them.


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