Dates for your diary

I just wanted to give advance warning of the most important RoboSumo-related dates for your diary. These dates are subject to modification at the discretion of the tutors, should the need arise. However, I don’t think they’re likely to change.

There are 13 teaching weeks in each the semester. Last week and this week (weeks 1 and 2), we focused primarily on the LED Flash Challenge, which most teams will hopefully complete by Friday. In the remainder of the module, there are two major competitive challenges:

  • Week 6: The Race to the Wall This is a time trial, in which your robot drives across a table, touches a block, reverses back across the table and stops on a coloured line. You can read more about it here (instructions from last semester). Week 6 is the week commencing 23-2-2015. You will perform the challenge during your normal class time.
  • Week 12: RoboSumo Tournament This is the final competition and the explosive conclusion to the RoboSumo project. Your robot will compete in a series of sumo bouts trying to shove your opponent out of the RoboSumo arena. Week 12 is the week commencing 20-4-2015. We are currently trying to identify the best time to hold the tournament, since it will involve teams from two programmes (DT066A and DT009). Likely possibilities include Wednesday afternoon or Friday afternoon of that week.

Starting now, you need to focus on having your robot ready for the Race to the Wall in four weeks’ time. If you focus on building a thorough understanding of the basic building blocks (selecting and controlling digital output pins, controlling a motor via the driver chip, reading input from a switch, wiring and reading input from the IR colour sensor), you have time to get everything you need working, but if you waste the next couple of weeks wondering what you’re supposed to be doing, you’re very likely to end up without a working robot at the Race to the Wall.

My number 1 piece of advice for the Race to the Wall is:

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Just focus on building something very straightforward that can drive forwards and backwards in a straight line (controlled by the MSP430) and can read a switch on the front bumper and a colour sensor to detect the finish line. It doesn’t need to be titanium plated. It doesn’t need to withstand a nuclear blast. It just needs to go forwards and backwards, and know when to change direction and when to stop. Simple, simple, simple!

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