Final Stretch!

Well, we feel like we’ll have something to show next Sunday, but we still have a fair bit of work to do this weekend. The skittle ball launcher has been completely redesigned, and seems to do its job, but it still needs to be thoroughly tested. The maze traversal is much improved, but that sticky-outy bit in the middle is still causing some headaches.

But the best news is, we have some glitter… our main task now is to work out how to mount our light show. The light show is managed by a pi zero, which has both a mote phat and scroll phat HD. The pi 3 that controls the robot sends high level commands to the pi zero, which then runs the low-level code to drive the light show. This is achieved by connecting the pis by USB, and using rPyC to create a service on the pi zero that has two threads, one for each phat. The pi 3 then issues commands like pulse(“red”) and the lights change accordingly. At the moment, I’ve just got the mote sticks connected to the mote phat, but another task for this weekend is to hack some wiring that will allow APA102 strips to connect instead, and work out how exactly these are going to be arranged on the robot.

Ooh, and we had an email today which confirms that we’re not the only ones having trouble with the line following samples, and hopefully there will be an electrical tape track for poor souls like us. I was rather resigned to just bombing out on that challenge, but we tested thoroughly with electrical tape last weekend and that went well. In an ideal world, we’d get it faster and smoother, but it seems to work.

We’re all looking forward to the competition, but most of all, we’re looking forward to seeing what everyone else has done with their robots.

We’ll give another update probably just before we set off, and a round up after the competition.

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