Saturday, February 14, 2009

New Developments!


We are making great progress with improvements to our robot. After I proposed a new idea, we got right to work on making a prototype of our new acquisition method out of cardboard, and another, small-scale one out of graph paper.

By the end of the week we have completed about half of our new design. Luckily, this time, we know it works very well, and we are quite certain we can get significantly higher in the rankings.

Next steps: finishing out the design, and optimizing performance with little tweaks.


I began to write an improvement to the programming, which now uses multiple tasks in RobotC to clean the code up. Our previous program was in a fast infinite loop controlled by various variables that switched the robot's modes.

The new program takes advantages of tasks that are run at the same time. For example, we use one Servo task that loops quickly, while the main task is a one-time set of commands. The servos don't work unless you keep looping to update them, so this solves that problem while allowing us to have more simple main code.

In addition, we're planning for the line-following code to be in another task.

I made a few improvements to my options selection menu so it draws better, and experimented with a reverse-engineered draw tool I found online to make RobotC images to display on the NXT, and we worked on a debug task that checks all batteries and sensors for problems (for instance, if they're not turned on or plugged in).

Solving a problem I had with commenting out and uncommenting the FTC's "waitForStart()" function, i put it in an if statement controlled by another menu option. Here's the PolyGnomes' Autonomous startup sequence:
  1. Splash screen
  2. Menu: Game Mode (practice or tournament)
  3. Menu: Team
  4. Menu: Placement (ground or platform)
  5. Program either waits or begins immediately depending on the mode.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Garden State Rumble

The Polygnomes and Percilla spent today in Trenton, NJ. After several mechanical failures in the form of loose wires, we managed to make it on to the second best Alliance by the end of the qualification matches. While we did not progress any further, we learned a lot about what we need to do and had fun doing it.

ps- A more thorough post will probably be posted by someone *coughGavincough* tomorrow when we're not so tired.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Meet the Team: Alex

Name: Alex E.
Specialty: Videogames/Driving/Co-Chief Engineer
Joined: 2006-2007 Year
Bio: I was one of the founding members of this team back when I was in 9th grade, but we didn't compete until last year. Along with Emma, I am head of the engineering department. In addition, I drive the robot around the field and I like doing doughnuts (Woohoo!) during practice.


Meet the Team: Zaq

Name: Zaq S
Specialty: Driver/engineer
Joined: 2008-2009 Year
Bio: Hello, I am Zaq, I am part of the engineering team. I joined because I like building things, and I have friends in the robotics team. I have also made new friends in it. I am also one of the drivers, for the arm and intake.

Zaq S.