The spring university semester is coming to an end, and the Infotronic course closed with a Sumo robot challenge. Great challenge, new technologies, innovative approaches and funny designs 🙂
ToF (Time-of-Flight, see “Tutorial: STMicroelectronics VL6180X Time-of-Flight LIDAR Sensor“) sensors are fun: they measure the time the light takes to travel to an object and back again. That way they can measure the distance to object with a millimeter accuracy. An ideal sensor for a battle robot: 🙂
The good thing with failure is: it is an opportunity to learn :-).
So here is a case: For a STEM roadshow (see “MINTomat: World’s Most Complicated Bubble Gum Automata?“), we have produced in a rush an autonomous robot with a shiny printed 3D cover:
How to fascinate kids for technology? Show them that engineering is fun :-). At the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts we have created the ‘MINTomat’: a robotics system for STEM activities rewarding interaction with bubble gums:
Yes, pretty over engineered compared to a normal bubble gum automata, but that’s part of the fun :-).
“Learning-by-doing” is one of the core principles of my embedded systems and robotics course at the Lucerne University. For this the students apply what they learned using a robotics platform. In earlier semesters we did a Sumo battle at the end. This time the challenge was to build a remote controller plus to add the ability to explore and solve a line maze:
We are using robots to teach advanced embedded system programming at the Lucerne University (see “Sumo Robot Competition“). Students can buy the kit, and we are running out of available hardware. Time to produce a new series of robots :-). It took us a while to get to the next revision of the Zumo Robot, but finally the first one has been produced and assembled, and I think it is looking good :-).
With Freescale merged into NXP, I guess this was the last FTF (Freescale Technology Forum) after a history of 10 years. Maybe it will transform into a ‘NTF’, at least I hope that such an energizing event and conference will continue in the new NXP area. I was busy with delivering my own sessions, but had time to meet and greet and see a lot of interesting stuff. After visiting the TechLab several times and after all the discussions with other embedded enthusiasts I have now many cool projects in mind :-).
So what I do here is to share some impressions with pictures and videos. It will take me weeks to absorb everything. Not to talk about the huge email backlog I have now ;-). So enjoy:
Students worked hard implementing their robots for the coming Sumo battles. Amazing looking Sumo Robots are the result :-). Have a look yourself:
Happy Sumoing 🙂
Finally, winter with lots of snow arrived in Switzerland. Getting up at 5am this morning to free up my front yard from the 25 cm snow which came down overnight, so I can drive my wife to work. She does not like driving in snow conditions, but it is fun for me :-). But lots of snow, I thought I could use a little helper bot:
The Sumo robots are ready to battle today!
The PCB’s for the Sumo robot (see “New Sumo Robot Assembled, and looking good!“) arrived. It is the ‘production’ version of that shield I have shown in “Sensor and Communication Shield for Sumo Robot” which adds following to the robot:
- Ultrasonic module
- Bluetooth module
- nRF24L01+ module
- I2C I/O Expander for 8 extra I/Os
- One general purpose I/O header
- One general purpose I2C header
- Up to 6 infrared distance sensors
Finally, the new Sumo robot is assembled, and up and moving :-):
The semester started last week. Ideally I wanted to have the boards for the new S robot (see “Zumo Robot with WiFi and GPS“) ready in the first week. But our manufacturer was not able to get the four-layer boards with parts populated and delivered in that time frame. Until the new boards arrive, we have anyway plenty of things to cover. One thing is to build a prototype shield to host several distance sensors, nRF24L01+ and Bluetooth transceiver:
It always takes longer than expected: actually 4 weeks from the first board out of the reflow oven (“First New Zumo Board out of the Reflow Oven“), until I have it working on the Pololu chassis. But now I have a mobile Robot with WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, nRF24L01+ and all the stuff I have dreamed off 🙂