This Should Be Interesting……..

Rain threatens, and the lane markers painted on the ground are water-based. This could be like herding cats tomorrow………………
Robot bridge.jpg
Aluminator’s sensors are having a little trouble picking up the white lines painted on the ground, and today’s cloud cover has cut the contrast between the grass and the lines so that has been a problem. We saw a few paint buckets on the sidelines late today but it’s not clear if we’ll get a new paint job or not. Even if we do rain threatens most of tomorrow (in fact it is sprinkling right now) so the lines might not even exist by the time S&T’s Aluminator hits the course. Wonder how you score a machine’s performance between the lines when there are no lines to see?
For some reason our Miners didn’t get to qualify on the test track today before theSunglasses robot.jpg practice area was shut down. They’ll have to get an early start and hope their veteran chassis will remain water tight in the bad weather and its stereo camera systems (on the right, with the cool sunglasses) won’t pick up any distracting water droplets.
Here are some shots that show the ups and downs of student-built autonomous robots: Wisconsin #1.jpg Wisconsin’s machine seemed to handle the first practice obstacles with aplomb, as its jubilant crew clearly shows. Just minutes later the same crew was……….well, you can figure out from their expressions………….Wisconsin #3.jpg………..encountering a radically different situation just twenty yards past their bridge success.
If last year was any indication these little “aberrations” will be far more common than teams would wish. Successfully navigating one obstacle is no guarantee of future success; each new turn, ramp, switchback or construction barrel is a whole new world to these machines; a source of great tension for the builders and great entertainment (or high comedy) for the spectators. Any robot that goes as far as half way through the course creates a real buzz in the crowd; people start whispering “Could this one make it?” Could this really be the one?” And the farther the machine goes, the more the crowd reacts so you can pretty much figure that not many machines make it through the entire course.
And we haven’t even covered the potential havoc that getting rain inside your circuit boards could cause.
Lastly, we mentioned that Aluminator’s motor control problems have been fixed. Here are two examples of how much low-end torque S&T’s machine now has, courtesy of Mike Chrisco here and Robert Adams here.
Who says you can’t have a little fun at these events?