Well, the holidays have come and gone, and though this blog may have been quiet, the LRES Robotics Program certainly hasn’t. The team has been trying to decide between two primary methods of movement for the robot: Ground or air. The biggest problem that I’ve seen between these two would be getting the maneuverability that would be needed along the trail, with the speed that it would need to maintain (to make sure the video isn’t several hours long) while getting around/over the obstacles. I know that many of them wanted walking robots, so in an effort to let them discover the difficulties of making a walking robot (just look at how long Boston Dynamics has been working on theirs), I tasked them with building a fully articulated set of robot legs.
After two weeks of working on them and attempting to give as many tips, tricks, and hints as I could, to just get them articulated (let alone motorized and autonomous), last week we decided to begin coming up with final design ideas, beginning with how it was going to get around. After a brief discussion, the team decided that wheels or treads were not the direction they wanted to go, and making a walking robot was going to be far to difficult to get to work and still finish before the year’s out. That left something that was airborne.
Mrs. O’Neill was instrumental in leading the discussion as we looked at rotor-drones, hovercraft, and a dirigible-type design. We looked at videos of each type of propulsion and listed each with their Pro’s and Con’s. Once that was done, we were out of time, so left the decision to next week and each student to mull it over.
I’ll admit, I still think the dirigible design would be the most interesting, as I don’t think I’ve seen anything done like this yet, but, as I keep telling the kids, it’s not my design and not my decision. Luckily for me, it’s not my decision to make, so I don’t have to worry about whatever design they choose, until, of course, they make the choice. Then I do get to worry about it.
I think that this week, I’ll have them worry about what to name it…