Thursday, May 15, 2014

Robotic Takedown

It's flattering when students think your the best programmer in the world. It's all the more exciting for them when their robot takes the teacher's bot down.

The computer science guys had their Lego Mindstorm NXT Sumo Bot contest today. They had lots of fun and used quite a bit of problem solving skills. I spent most of my time helping them work through bugs in the code, logic errors and figuring out why the robots were not behaving the way they wanted.

My code was the most complex, using two sensors: a light sensor to detect the edge and an ultrasound to sense how close the other bot was. Where I got into trouble was writing a functioning code, but not having a plan to attack.

The next challenge uses the same playing surface, but will have a couple dozen plastic gold practice balls scattered about. We are going to see who can clear the circle of all the golf balls in the shortest amount of time. This is a similar problem for robotic vacuums, lawn mowers and most distribution systems that need to find the most efficient method for covering an area.