The difference between satisficing and satisfaction…


“To decide on and pursue a course of action that will satisfy the minimum requirements necessary to achieve a particular goal.” (Oxford English Dictionary, online (accessed 20/02/2017))

We now have a robot that can attempt most of the challenges. The ball flicker for the skittles challenge is still a work in progress, but should get there. So currently, we can complete:

  • Straight-Line Speed Test
  • Minimal Maze
  • Line Following
  • Pi Noon – the Robot vs Robot Duel
  • Obstacle Course
  • Slightly Deranged Golf

The problem is, there’s a big difference between between completing a challenge and doing it well! I think we can complete the straight-line speed test without hitting the walls, but at this stage, straight we are not.

 And similar for the minimal maze. For the line following, we can (mostly) stick to the line, but it can be a bit of a jerky traversal. The remote control stuff we are pretty happy with… but overall, we are far from satisfied! Soooo… over the next few weeks we will be tweaking, tuning, refining and decorating Glitterator.

Tweaking, tuning and refining to do things like removing steering over-correction, removing the jerkiness from our line following, and generally speeding things up. (Currently we run at best at 70% of our maximum speed, or things get out of control!)

As I said, the ball flicker is a work in progress: at the moment just being tested with a separate battery pack, as seen here. 

And decorating because currently Glitterator does not glitter at all. The original plan was to put some motes on, but Glitterator’s footprint has ended up being considerably smaller than first planned, and the mote sticks stick out like jousting poles. We could work with that, but it might make the maze and obstacle course more challenging. So instead I think we’ll be looking at some strips of APA102 LEDs. I’m not sure though if we’ll need another controller to handle them, as their control relies on timing, and we might have too much other stuff going on on the pi… we’ll have to see what happens. (They’re on order and we haven’t had a chance to test them yet.)

Anyway, where we’re at is that we have a robot that (mostly) works, but we’re far from satisfaction. Hopefully over the next few weeks we’ll be shifting more towards satisfaction.


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