Mecanum drive is a method of driving using specially designed wheels that allow the robot to drive in any direction without changing the orientation of the robot. A robot with a conventional drivetrain (four or six wheels) must turn in the direction it needs to drive. With this year's game being all about movement on the field, we felt this would be the best solution to optimize our effectiveness in picking up and moving the totes and bins. As of now, we have the chassis configured and the wheel mounts set. We still need to actually fasten the wheels in place but it works well enough now to complete a few test runs. Our next steps are to get the tote lifting mechanism from our design into production and then mounted to the robot.
This video shows our second test of the Mecanum Drive after the programming team uploaded their code to the robot. The first test was unsuccessful because a wire disconnected from the motor controller. Someone on the electronics team failed to properly crimp the connector.
Today, MegaHurtz representatives gave a presentation for the Buchanan Area Chamber of Commerce meeting. During the meeting, videos and pictures were shown from last year's competition (located under the 2014 tab). We also gave information regarding the team website. Once we enter this year's competition, we will be live streaming competition matches (located under the 2015 tab). Near the end of our presentation, we showed the video of this year's competition "Recycle Rush". We are excited to begin our journey to the top of this years challenge.
I do not like Mother Nature's sense of humor.
Last season Kick Off was on a Saturday. We had a nasty winter storm that kept us from doing much from Sunday to the following Wednesday. We lost three days before we even got started. The week after kickoff this year was only slightly better. We were able to meet Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday through Friday was blocked by school closings again because of the weather! We are now down to 36 days.
This game is going to be a much greater challenge than last year for a few reasons. Firstly, there is very little room for robots that are unable to pickup and stack totes. Last year there was a low goal so even bots that were not able to pick up the ball could still push it through the lower scoring area. While it is possible for a bot to push a tote into scoring position, this is a slow process and having several single layer totes will make it difficult to navigate the field. As a team we have decided to go for the entire challenge and build a robot that is capable manipulating and stacking each of the field objects. We are also looking into different drive systems to create a more nimble and responsive robot.
We are off to a great start. Hopefully we'll have progress to report very soon!