Welcome to RoboSumo – Semester 1, 2017-2018

Welcome to the RoboSumo project, which is undertaken by students of programme DT066 (Engineering common first year) and programme DT009 in the Dublin Institute of Technology. Over the course of this semester, you will work in teams of (usually) three to design and build a robot that will compete in a RoboSumo tournament. The tournament consists of a series of bouts in which two robots at a time compete to push each other off a table (the arena). The tournament rules (together with a small number of additional local rules) impose constraints on the cost, weight, physical dimensions and various other elements of the robot design. It is up to each team to improvise within the specified constraints to produce the most competitive robot they can.

Provisional Schedule

There are 13 teaching weeks in the semester. The provisional schedule for the RoboSumo project is shown below. This schedule is subject to modification and is provided here as a general guide to help you plan your work.

  • Week 1 (this week): Ice breakers, form teams, create blogs, begin LED Flash Challenge.
  • Week 2 (next week): Complete LED Flash Challenge, begin robot design and build.
  • Weeks 3-5: Robot design and build.
  • Weeks 6-7: Race to the Wall competition.
  • Weeks 8-11: Robot design and build.
  • Week 12: RoboSumo tournament.
  • Week 13: Closing date for RoboSumo blog entries.

Some things to be aware of

  • We are here to help you to learn and to manage your project effectively as a team. We will do our best to facilitate your work, but…
  • We are not here to tell you what to do every step of the way. You are expected to carry out independent research to figure out what you need to do to complete this project. We want to help you but we need you to be independent.
  • There is a limit to what we can provide in terms of materials and tools. Depending on your design, you may need to source materials or access to tools independently.
  • You will need some of your own tools – e.g. snips, pliers.
  • You and your teammates will need to look after your own robot, materials and components (including the RoboSumo kit) throughout the project. This applies as of today!
  • You need to supply your own batteries.
  • Please do not take apart the yellow motors we give you.
  • Please do not remove the backing sheet from the mini breadboard we give you (unless you’re absolutely certain that you want to stick it to something permanently).

What to do today (Wednesday 13-9-2017)

In today’s lecture (2-3pm in room KE3-008, which is the large lecture theatre on the third floor of the main building in Kevin St), I will describe the project objectives, review the provisional schedule and explain how the assessment works.

In today’s lab (3-6pm in various labs on the ground floor of the main building in Kevin St), you have five jobs to do. The first four are very short; the fifth is more challenging.

  1. Meet your tutor – this is the lecturer who will supervise your lab group and assist you in completing the project.
  2. Do some icebreakers.
  3. Form teams of 3 – your tutor will assign each team a number (see number range for each group below) and give you a RoboSumo kit. It is your responsibility to look after the kit throughout the project.
  4. Set up your individual WordPress.com blog – you will use this to document your work on the project. NB One blog per student (not per team) and provide the link to your tutor.
  5. Complete (or at least make significant progress on) the LED Flash Challenge. See the previous post on this blog for details.

Each team must have a unique name and team number. Your tutor will assign your team a number from the range allocated to your group, as shown below:

  • Teams 1-8: DT066 group C1 with David Dorran in room KEG-012
  • Teams 9-16: DT066 group C2 with Jane Courtney in room KEG-014
  • Teams 17-32: DT066 groups D1 and D2 with Ted Burke, Shannon Chance and Catherine Fitzgerald in room KEG-036
  • Teams 33-40: DT066 group E1 with Emma Robinson in room KEG-004
  • Teams 41-48: DT066 group E2 with Gavin Duffy in room KEG-014

Note: Tutors, please make a list of teams in your group that includes team number, team members! (Team name too, if known)

Your RoboSumo kit will eventually contain the following items:

  1. 1 x mini breadboard
  2. 1 x Arduino Nano (with ATmega 328 microcontroller)
  3. 1 x mini USB cable
  4. 1 x 4AA battery holder with built-in switch
  5. 2 x yellow geared DC motor
  6. 1 x SN754410NE driver chip
  7. 4 x TCRT5000 infrared reflective sensor
  8. 1 x microswitch
  9. 1 x 1000uF electrolytic capacitor
  10. 4 x green LED
  11. 4 x red LED
  12. 8 x 220 Ohm resistor
  13. 4 x 10 kOhm resistor
  14. 2 x 100 kOhm resistor

To set up your blog,

  • Go to wordpress.com.
  • Click on the “Get Started” button.
  • Step 1 of 4: Click on the “Start with a blog” button.
  • Step 2 of 4: Type in a blog name (whatever you want, as long as it’s not vulgar or offensive) – for example “tedsrobotblog” – and select the “Free” option.
  • Step 3 of 4: Click on the “Start with Free” button.
  • Step 4 of 5: Enter your email address and choose a password. Leave the username the same as your chosen domain name. Carefully note your username and password so that you don’t forget them. WordPress.com is a private company, so if you lose your details it’s between you and them (rather than DIT) to find out what they are.
  • Finally, click “Create My Account”.
  • Click on “View Site”.
  • Give the domain name (i.e. the web address of your blog) to your tutor along with your name.

Once everyone on your team has set up their blog, it’s time to proceed to the LED Flash Challenge.

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