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dlavery
05-16-2005, 06:17 PM
This thread is a spin-off of this discussion (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?p=383483), and has been started to focus on suggestions for autonomous elements of the game, and other new technologies that could be introduced into the game or kit of parts. While autonomy need not be a part of a specific game, creative uses of autonomous components in any game are sought. For example, a discussion may be presented that proposes no dedicated autonomous time period during the game, but may require that a robot complete a certain function during the course of the game autonomously while other robots on the field are being controlled by their drivers. Alternately, ideas about new drive technologies (anyone know of a source for inexpensive CVTs?) or inter-robot communications may be reviewed.

-dave

Eugenia Gabrielov
05-16-2005, 06:23 PM
I have a few thoughts, as a spectator.

The concept of inter-robot communication fascinates me, but I have one or two concerns. First of all, how would this affect teams who don't have that kind of funding, or is it just kind of an extra thing?

I really enjoy watching the autonomous mode improve from all teams over the course of the season, so I support keeping a 15 second mode. I think learning to refine that is great technique, and gives the match a focus. That extra hanging tetra in autonomous was sometimes what it took to get the match.

I think new drive technologies could be helpful, but it really depends on the context of the game. I felt that many of this year's were chosen appropriately to the game, but they really may not apply from year to year. The CMU wouldn't have helped much last year, unless you wanted to seek out that big yellow ball.

sanddrag
05-16-2005, 06:31 PM
Ever since the autonomous mode started in 2003, there has been a bigger and bigger push to get teams to complete tasks autonomously. However, there has not been a huge leap in the number of teams that are able to complete complex autonomous tasks very well.

The game must have some provision for huge points scoring for completing a task in autonomous mode. There needs to be so much incentive to do it that no one will not try. It needs to be easy enough for everyone to do, but hard enough to make a lot of effort go into it. Also, this huge amount of points should be available only in autonomous mode. So basically, I'm just saying more points for auto mode.

As for hardware, the gear tooth sensors were a step in the right direction but many teams find it easier to work with shaft encoders. I know many of the kit parts are donated, but perhaps the switch could be made somehow.

Also, I would say to include a couple good potentiometers along with all the instructions on how to use them.

I don't think we need to give up on the camera. But if we are to keep it we should let everyone know that as soon as possible. I would say include it again, but make the task a little easier (like pushing/pulling open a colored door or climbing up a colored ramp) and worth more points. Let teams be aware of what the sensing device (camera, IR, etc) will be and give it to them in a preseason kit so they can try it out sooner.


What would be really interesting would be if you had an autonomous mode that could be actuated at any time during the match by the opponent team/alliance. But I'm afraid that for fear of messing up the robot many teams would elect to have no autonomous mode. You would still need the really big incentive, and it would probably be only effective on a flat field with few obstacles.

Conor Ryan
05-16-2005, 06:34 PM
I love autonomous, It just shows where the technology is headed, look at programs like DARPA, and all the NASA (as in the space robots not the sponsored ones) the demand for autonomous is there and growing. If anything, it should be growing (Cameras were a big step) But one thing may help autonomous, make it simple enough to learn, that every rookie team could use it. Like the Kit Transmission this year.

Continously Variable Transmissions (CVTs) are great, snowmobiles have them. You can do just about anything with them.

Interrobot Communication is great, there is just soo many possibilities of what can happen.

Thinking outside of the box is the only way First is going to get better.

Mike
05-16-2005, 06:42 PM
I say definitely a bigger reward for those who complete the autonomous goal. For example, this year capping a vision tetra on the center goal was the "big thing". No teams did it, making it one of the hardest things to do in FIRST history. Yet if we were to do it, we would receive only 9 points.

I support sanddrag's view on keeping the camera, but disagree on making the task easier. Maybe you should make an easy task, worth a small amount of points, and also a larger task. The larger task would be worth 30 points or some high amount like that. This method lets rookie teams learn about the camera and autonomy, and also lets veteran teams expand on their knowledge.

Autonomous mode should definitely be a bigger portion of the game, as that is surely where robotics is going in the future. Maybe having robots interact with humans during autonomous?

Meandmyself
05-16-2005, 07:32 PM
What would be really interesting would be if you had an autonomous mode that could be actuated at any time during the match by the opponent team/alliance. But I'm afraid that for fear of messing up the robot many teams would elect to have no autonomous mode. You would still need the really big incentive, and it would probably be only effective on a flat field with few obstacles.


I would love to see an autonomous mode sometime in the middle of a match, or at the end. It would be at some set time, not activated randomly, for example the last 15 seconds would be autonomous. If the points for autonomous tasks were high enough, few teams would elect not to have autonomous. It would give a big advantage to teams who used sensors to effectively track robot position, but teams who didn't have time/money/weren't ingenious enough could still pull it off by driving the robot during manual operation to some sort of starting point.

Donut
05-16-2005, 07:46 PM
The autonomous has to use another tracking sensor (like IR and the CMU cam). Maybe we can do something with sonar sensors? I've been wanting to try those out.

Autonomous should have more point incentive to get more teams to attempt it, but I think it should also include a tactical advantage. For example, there could be a gate giving your robot easy access to scoring objects or goals, but the gate is only open during autonomous mode.

There should be multiple tasks, some harder than others, to allow both veteran and rookie teams a shot to do something in autonomous. If the amount of the robots on the field continues stays at 6 or gets any bigger, there needs to be a way to tell where other robots are on the field (if robots are going to be moving alot in autonomous, we don't want them crashing into each other). Alliance robots and opposing robots could also be distinguished between, so teams could attempt to implement defensive autonomous modes.

Pat Fairbank
05-16-2005, 07:59 PM
I would say that there would be a lot of benefit in having two radically different autonomous goals each year: a "super hard" goal worth a lot of points, and a "super easy" one worth fewer points but much more easily attainable.

The hard goal would require actuation of an arm or other appendage as well as the drive-train and would necessarily rely on sensors like the camera and not soley on dead reckoning, just like capping with the vision tetras this year.

The easy goal would simply be to have the robot move itself to a predefined location, for example onto a coloured 4' by 3.5' rectangle. If the robot were completely within the area (i.e. not touching the carpet outside) at the end of autonomous mode, the alliance would get bonus points added to their final score.

Although this task would be laughably simple in comparison to past games, I think it would encourage most of the less programatically-advanced teams to attempt an autonomous mode. As a result the autonomous period would be much more interesting to the majority of spectators who aren't programmers, who I'm sure think it's a lot more fun to see six uncontrolled robots charging forward in unison than five robots sitting idly while one attempts to manipulate a game object.

Pat McCarthy
05-16-2005, 08:00 PM
More memory on the RC would be great!
We ran a three wheel omni/automotive drive with each wheel being independently powered and each turret rotating independent of the others. We only had 10% of memory left after our drive program was put on! 10% wasn't really enough space for a complex autonomous like we had hoped to pull off. A memory expansion chip or something like a thumb drive would be cool for those who like to do really amazing things with code! :)

ColleenShaver
05-16-2005, 08:17 PM
I think autonomous mode was an innovative addition to the games the last few years and is worth keeping in some regard (beginning, middle, end of match, whatever).

However, I think the auto options, like the entire game itself, gets caught up in trying to force teams down a specific path of what they should do rather than keeping options open to do lots of things. For instance, this year there was a huge focus on the vision tetras and have many have said, the payoff wasn't worth the effort. Some of the coolest, most unique auto modes came from teams that didn't even worry about the vision tetras (ala using freebies to knock and cap, etc.).

I actually don't think there needs to be any auto function worth specific points per say. The 2k4 game I think is a good example of this. Although the push seemed to be for teams to knock the 10pt ball in auto, it wasn't as popular as one would expect. However, there were tons teams could do: Knock the 10 pt ball, go for a yellow ball, grab a mobile goal, jockey for position, hang, etc. More advanced teams could go bigger, while less advanced teams could just drive a try and push a mobile goal or get in a better position for the match.

My point is... include whatever technology FIRST can get donated, and then make sure teams have the accessibility and the budget allowances to get better or different sensors if they like. Then stress to teams that autonomous isn't necessarily about achieving the biggest, hardest task possible, but maybe about having a lot of options to make yourself a better alliance partner. Too much technology can be overwhelming and teams give up rather than just trying it simply (some great auto mode have been done with dead reckoning and a lot of fine tuning).

Billfred
05-16-2005, 09:07 PM
Inter-robot communication? Did somebody just say laser tag? :D

Seriously, though, I'm thinking of the real world. You've got some things that are strictly human-controlled and some things that are strictly autonomous. But then you've got some things that have some human input, but do a lot of the stuff on their own.

So imagine this. Autonomous mode ends, and your operators take over, operating four push-button switches to handle the entire robot operation for the next N seconds. Teams can program their robots to react to those switches however they choose, but they can only use those four switches; joysticks and other switches are still disabled. I assume this would either take some trickery on IFI's part, or FIRST ordering a lot more penalty flags.

If this actually works, I will kindly ask that all rocks, baseball bats, torches, and pitchforks be kept away from me. Thank you for your cooperation.

Mike
05-16-2005, 09:50 PM
I'm definitely liking the idea of autonomous at the end of a match, rather than at the beginning.

StephLee
05-16-2005, 10:46 PM
I would love to see an autonomous mode sometime in the middle of a match, or at the end. It would be at some set time, not activated randomly, for example the last 15 seconds would be autonomous. If the points for autonomous tasks were high enough, few teams would elect not to have autonomous.
If the autonomous mode was the last 15 seconds, teams might not be willing to not have one even if the points weren't that high. Think about it: the end of the match is determined with no driver control at all. It's like a basketball coach backing off and not coaching for the last 30 seconds of a tight game. If FIRST went with this format, they would probably have even more over stressed drive teams on their hands than they have now. Vision would be really important in a format like this. The drivers would otherwise have to be extremely careful to place the robot in exactly the right spot so the autonomous mode works correctly. Of course, having 6 robots(assuming FIRST keeps the 3v3 format) all running autonomously with vision systems at the same time might cause some damage to a few bots...But I do think having the autonomous mode somewhere other than the beginning would be cool.

Conor Ryan
05-17-2005, 02:21 PM
Would a RC thats based more like a computer be a possibility?

A faster processor for the RC would be great to, there are some ideas that I've had that could call for one.

dhitchco
05-19-2005, 10:13 AM
I totally agree with sanddrag who said
Ever since the autonomous mode started in 2003, there has been a bigger and bigger push to get teams to complete tasks autonomously. However, there has not been a huge leap in the number of teams that are able to complete complex autonomous tasks very well.

Having an autonomous mode IS CRITICAL to the game. However, I believe it should remain at the BEGINNING of the game, and human driver mode really becomes the BACKUP plan for auto mode.

I would like to see the autonomous mode last for more than 15 seconds, but not shrink the 120 second human mode.

Each year, we're asked to push the technology more and more in autonomous, which is a good thing. Some teams did get the camera working, other teams did "work-arounds" in auto mode (using dead reckoning) while other teams chose to not participate in auto mode. All are good flexible strategies.

I'd like to see a return toa bit more focus on drive train technologies by re-introducing a three-dimensional aspect which would invlove steps or ramps....

Andrew Rudolph
05-19-2005, 07:35 PM
I really liked the fact that this years autonomous forced teams to use sensors. I think one of the biggest issues with firsts "autonomous" setup is that teams don't have to use sensors. I'm sure many teams in the first two years of the autonomous mode used no sensor input. My team included. But in the true terms of autonomous mode the robots should be using sensors to track their progress, not simply timing.

With that said, I like having an autonomous mode where the goal isn't in the same place every time. But, I still think theres a need for the game to have some autonomous possibilities not using sensors. If your a rookie team, its a feat to have your robot drive straight, let alone drive into a stack of boxes around a corner.

I think something like what was in 2004 where you just had to hit something that interacted with the field was good fun, maybe having it at different lengths or spots along the wall? Or just in different places on the field. If this years autonomous was that all you had to do was get the vision tetra off the ground to get those 2 caps, i think more teams would have gotten the job done.

A big part of the autonomous just the game itself. This years game didn't have many different things for robots to do, in turn there really weren't allot of possibilities for what robots could do. When the game is designed, remember the creativity of the FIRST strategist. You may not think of every way a team can do autonomous, but if theres a variety of field elements or scoring objects you open up a plethora of opportunities for teams in autonomous.

I would love to see a gyro make its way back into the kit. I think its a very useful tool for autonomous. Just look at Wildstang in 2004, their system was amazing for the first year of autonomous, and the roots of autonomous in 2001 when teams would use the gyro to autonomously balance the ramp. I would also like to see Infrared Rangers, like the ones from sharp. These are cheap enough that teams can buy them, if they know how to use them. I think having something built into the IFI controller to help with say using a sharp gp2d12 ranger would be great for some teams.

sanddrag
05-25-2005, 10:32 PM
I would like to see Back EMF sensing implemented into motor control as mentioned by Dr. Joe in this thread (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?p=386117)

Billfred
05-26-2005, 12:00 AM
Alright, this is a rather big theory. I have no idea whether it'd work or not, but I figure that the worst-case scenario is that I use up two minutes of my life.

I believe it's a fair assumption to say that the sweeping majority of FIRST teams hate the 2004+ joysticks. Some hate them with a passion, while others (such as yours truly, who never had a chance to deal with Flightsticks other than feeling them in Manchester at Kickoff this year where they were used on the demo robots) just grin and bear it.

I've had a few experiences with the Vex system (I just got my kit today, and will be working on it over summer), and I've always felt the controller to be nice, solid, and good at what it does (controlling a robot).

What I'm thinking involves taking the Vex controller (or a non-Vex version, or whatever works the best), and tethering it to a revised version of the OI. Then add one or two legacy ports for folks who want to wire up the custom stuff, or who still won't let go of those Flightsticks.

If it happens, I sure won't mind.

UCGL_Guy
05-27-2005, 01:02 PM
1. let teams have new technology and software early - sometime in September would be good. Most teams do not have the time nor resources to implement a new sensor during build season. Our resources are limited so some direction in what to look at would be good.
2. Increase the electronics/ sensor budget --- There is some really cool stuff out there to use if we could get it in the budget.
this years electronics was the best offerd yet - keep up the good work

Goobergunch
05-29-2005, 02:06 PM
I've seen a lot of comments in this thread suggesting that there be multiple tasks in autonomous mode, with varying point scores. We had that (after a fashion) this year, and I think the variety of possible autonomous tasks should be encouraged. That being said, an increase in the reward for autonomous would encourage teams to develop autonomous modes. Preferably, establish it in such a way that a team that had no autonomous mode would be at a large (but not insurmountable) disadvantage in a competition.

I'm a supporter of keeping autonomous mode at the beginning because I think that dead reckoning should be preserved as a viable autonomous mode. Although it ought to be the least desirable of autonomous modes (and the reward allotment should reflect that), it should at least be possible, as many teams do not have time to construct a more complex autonomous mode. Dead reckoning is rather difficult if you're initiating autonomous mode in the middle or at the end, and these outcomes would most likely only serve to reduce the number of teams that had a functional autonomous mode.

sanddrag
05-29-2005, 02:56 PM
I believe it's a fair assumption to say that the sweeping majority of FIRST teams hate the 2004+ joysticks.I agree. I saw several teams having lots of trim/centering problems causing unsafe conditions in the pits. For example, they would turn the robot on and it would just start moving for no reason other than the joystick was not centering well. To me, a (nearly) runaway robot is not safe.

Personally, I have not come across a better joystick for robots than the old CH Flightsticks. I know they are discontinued, but if we could get CH to make a special production run just for FIRST, or if FIRST could some how get/buy the plans for it and have another company make them, that would be totally awesome. Or maybe somewhere in the deepest darkest corner of the CH fabrication facility they still have all the tooling laying around for these joysticks, and even if they don't want to make any more, maybe FIRST could purchase the tooling so then another company could do it for FIRST.

eugenebrooks
05-29-2005, 09:48 PM
Although I am a fan of the short autonomous period at the beginning of the game, there is no reason why one could not introduce a game element that requires autonomous operation of the robot, while human players are at the controls.

As an example, consider a panel in the center of the field with colored game pieces positioned on it. The game pieces for a given alliance would be on the side of the panel opposite them, concealing the location of the game pieces from driver view. The panel might be up off the floor on posts, so that drivers can see the location of their robot, but can't see the location of an arm relative to game pieces to be picked off the panel by the robot. Teams that do not code automatic seeking and grabbing of game pieces could perhaps use their "human player" on the opposite side of the field, giving directions with regard to where to position the robot, and the arm, in order to grab game pieces, a new level of team work... Teams that code a vision system to find and grab a game piece will be able to operate more automatically, but still might use a human player to direct rough positioning of the robot.

The opposing alliance would get to watch your robot collect game pieces, but might not be allowed to interfere. The crowd would also get to watch the robot grab game pieces automatically, making this aspect of the game interesting to watch.

EricH
05-30-2005, 02:08 PM
I really liked the fact that this years autonomous forced teams to use sensors. I think one of the biggest issues with firsts "autonomous" setup is that teams don't have to use sensors.

Force to use sensors? Wait a minute! I can think of several auto modes that most certainly did NOT use sensors, including the most popular ("Mars Rock"). Seriously, it was quite possible to knock down the hanging tetra (or even capture it) with no sensor except the timer in the computer (if it had one).

If FIRST has one autonomous task that you don't need sensors for, but sensors give a team a big advantage, and another that cannot be done without sensors, I would be happy. The rookies can do something in auto mode without a lot of extra work, the second year and older teams have a challenge that they can do easily with or without sensors, and the teams that love a challenge or have a huge programming staff get a challenge.

Sensor-wise, more (complex) is not always better. Beachbots tried to get their camera working through a preprocessor. Six weeks later, the camera was talking to the preprocessor, but the "Rabbit" (preprocessor) was not talking to the RC.

If FIRST gives teams a complex sensor (camera, IR sensor, anything on that order), they should give it to teams as soon as they register and say "Here. This is a ________. Here are some activities that will prepare you for the use of this _________. Have fun."

Mike
06-08-2005, 08:11 PM
I was thinking about inter-robot communication, but first dismissed it as a good idea, but too hard to pull off. I've been thinking about it again, and thought about some kind of a standard. Each robot would send out a signal from a specified list. Instead of each time sending out different signals, you would have transmissions such as:
RED1: HEAD_TWDS_AUTOLOAD1
RED2: HEAD_TWDS_AUTOLOAD2
*RED3's programming tells it not to go to the auto loaders, as they are full.*
RED3:WAITING
RED1: AT_AUTOLOAD1
RED2: AT_AUTOLOAD2
RED1: DEPART_AUTOLOAD1
*RED3's programming tells it to go to autoload1, now that it's open.*
RED3: HEAD_TWDS_AUTOLOAD1

These are just simple commands, maybe more advanced ones can be made available (such as a robots coordinates on the field).
I think having that would be real cool, beyond real cool. As cool as bagels cool, and bagels are pretty cool 8)

Towards the technical ends of it, I don't think setting it up as an ad hoc network would work. Rather, have the robots each send the messages to a centralized server of some sort, which then sends the appropriate messages to the appropriate robots (EG: Doesn't send RED1's messages to RED1 or BLUE*, only red team)


In conclusion, Dave, if you give us inter-robot communication, I personally will deliver you 3 dozen Krispy Kremes. You know you can't beat that offer ;)

Billfred
06-08-2005, 08:27 PM
Well, since pneumatics is a technology...can we get a break on the prohibition on non-kit hose? I'm not an engineer, but it just seems silly to be restricted to one big piece of hose when using other hoses, unless someone can point out something to the contrary, can do the exact same thing the same way (read: move air from point A to point B at X pressure without exploding into 1,293 pieces).

Sparks333
06-08-2005, 10:59 PM
Hello!
Here's a bit of a messed up autonomous idea- force robots to work together to get a task done in such a way that they would have to communicate with each other. I have no idea how it could be implimented, but as FIRST is all about achieveing a common goal through communication, it might make things interesting.

Sparks

Al Skierkiewicz
06-09-2005, 07:49 AM
The game must have some provision for huge points scoring for completing a task in autonomous mode. There needs to be so much incentive to do it that no one will not try.

I don't think we need to give up on the camera. But if we are to keep it we should let everyone know that as soon as possible. I would say include it again, but make the task a little easier (like pushing/pulling open a colored door or climbing up a colored ramp) and worth more points.

I like most of sanddrag's ideas but especially the above. Auto mode must have an incentive, either bonus or multiplier scoring or presetting the field for the alliance. If the camera or any other auto mode device is going to be included, put it in the hands of teams in the fall, no later than November 1.
What is really needed is a method of letting teams calculate (or detect) absolute positioning on the field. Auto mode needs to be a short distance goal with several tasks or a whole field exercise with absolute positioning info. Without these types of improvements, auto mode will be attempted by less than half the teams.

Joe Lambie
06-09-2005, 02:18 PM
I have a few thoughts about auto mode, and the use of a challenging playing field to drive innovative drive trains.

Initially I was somewhat skeptical of an auto mode, having been a driver for 2 of my 4 years as a student in FIRST, none of which having an autonomous mode. For me, part of the inspiration has been and will be being able to go out on the field and drive the machine you built. However, watching over the last few years, it is pretty amazing to watch the robots do the tasks on their own. As a result I now enjoy auto mode for the most part. However I think it should stay at the start of the match. I would much rather be in control of my own destiny at the end of a match then letting the robot decide, something they may be good at, but they are bound to a certain number of options unlike a human.
In regards to the scoring of auto mode, I like having a tiered setup. The harder something is, the more you should be rewarded for it. However, I do not think the auto mode should be made worth so much as to severely impact the outcome of a match. Not all teams are equal, especially in the department of autonomous robots. I would much rather see smaller points for smaller actions that all teams can get at.

In regards to the playing field, I think each year should be and has been different. Thinking back the last several years, back to 1999 actually, FIRST has done an excellent job of varying the levels of the playing field. Although, I would say that some of the more interesting years had some sort of obstacle or playing field level change in them. My favorite field and game would still have to be 2000. Lots of offensive and defensive options, an exciting and simple scoring system, a "finish line" i.e. hanging on the bar, and the field was not all flat. But a varied field to challenge drive trains is something I would like to see more of, something to drive change.

PS. I read recently that corn was used in 1992 on the field. Maybe we need to go to an extreme of say, a beech or muddy playing surface? Probably not something so messy but it would be oh so fun :).

Mike
07-14-2005, 04:49 PM
If you do decide to go down the route of a more interactive field, maybe something that could be sent to the robot via the communications system that would tell the robot what state the field is in.

EG: In the 2004 game, at a certain point in the game balls were dropped from overhead (not too sure of the specifics, I wasn't around then :p). When that happened, data would be sent to the robot saying it happened so that the robot could act accordingly.

mechanicalbrain
07-14-2005, 05:16 PM
i was thinking along the lines of giving robots simple problem solving problems.

Karthik1
08-01-2005, 12:08 AM
As far as technology goes it would be cool to have CVT's in the kit. CVT's are not only found in cars and snowmobiles, they are also found in mini scooters. These CVT's happen to be the perfect size and cost for a first robot.

Scooter CVT (http://store.yahoo.com/yhst-4791491626017/trans-cvt.html)
Scooter CVT (http://www.scooterpartsdepot.com/web_gas/FS529_Pocketbike_CVT.htm)

John Wanninger
08-01-2005, 12:32 AM
As far as technology goes it would be cool to have CVT's in the kit. CVT's are not only found in cars and snowmobiles, they are also found in mini scooters. These CVT's happen to be the perfect size and cost for a first robot.

Scooter CVT (http://store.yahoo.com/yhst-4791491626017/trans-cvt.html)
Scooter CVT (http://www.scooterpartsdepot.com/web_gas/FS529_Pocketbike_CVT.htm) Cool find. I wonder if they work in reverse as well as forward?

Andrew Blair
08-01-2005, 11:03 AM
As has been mentioned, it would be very difficult to execute a decent autonomous at the end of a match, because you do'nt know where you are. This year we used radios that were on telescoping tripods at the corner of the playing field. I am not sure how this might be done, but if radios were placed at the 4 corners of the field, you could effectively have a FPS, Field Positioning System. With a program that splits the field up into a coordinate plane, you can just access maybe two variables, and get your position. Depending on how you did it, you might be able to get your position to within a few inches, maybe 1 foot blocks would work. Some inventive person elaborate please, I want FPS! :)

Billfred
08-22-2005, 11:11 PM
Alright, now here's a technology I wouldn't mind seeing in the kit (or at least being made explicitly legal):

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=39394&page=1&pp=15

Squirrelrock
09-19-2005, 01:53 PM
As has been mentioned, it would be very difficult to execute a decent autonomous at the end of a match, because you do'nt know where you are. This year we used radios that were on telescoping tripods at the corner of the playing field. I am not sure how this might be done, but if radios were placed at the 4 corners of the field, you could effectively have a FPS, Field Positioning System. With a program that splits the field up into a coordinate plane, you can just access maybe two variables, and get your position. Depending on how you did it, you might be able to get your position to within a few inches, maybe 1 foot blocks would work. Some inventive person elaborate please, I want FPS! :)

Im not that inventive of a person, but I'll try:

With any three of the radios metioned above, you could triangulate (read: use trig) to find your robot's position on the field. Then, depending on how good your programming team is, you may or may not be able to tell the robot during auton to go from hereA to hereB to hereC and between B and C raise the arm and at C drop the arm to cap the tetra.

With a really inventive group, you might even be able to write a sensor-controlled program to pick the shortest plausible route to the next destination if you have programmed in the locations of various field elements as line segments not to be crossed by the path of the robot (ie, make sure that the lines never intersect. The robot may need to have two paths drawn for it, though, because it is not as thin as the one path line that is easy to program for. And for a challenge, one might be able to use touch and/or light sensors to avoid other robots in the middle of competition. That, I dont know any details of. Anyone who actually knows what I'm talking about care to elaberate?

Andrew Blair
09-19-2005, 08:43 PM
What would be really interesting is to have a field with one very difficult obstruction, perhaps only capable of having one or two robots on it, much like the 2004 field. On this obstacle are game pieces, which are easily given to alliance members, or are worth more points, once the obstacle is tackled.

On the actual field there are low point game pieces, are perhaps they are slow to obtain. In this way inter-team communication is very important in order to transfer the high point or plentiful pieces to a scoring position. In this way lone rangers wouldn't be the ones dominating the field; the important players would constantly be switching places.

Andrew Schuetze
11-12-2005, 05:49 PM
In a bit of cicular thread linking, the following post
http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=386053&postcount=1
sparked a lot of discussion on that thread. (Nut shell description of post) Charmed Labs and Rich LeGrand has designed a robot controller using a Gameboy interface which can autononously control a robot using no electronic sensors. It uses the back emf generated by the motors.

Innovation FIRST , FIRST , & Charmed need to get together with National Instruments & CMU to work up a kit bot interface that can do this out of the box. It also has a newer and improved vision camera on this lego robot. I saw one demonstrated by Rich in person yesterday. Really very cool. Our school district is working on implementing Botball with this new robot at our middle schools. FIRST is going to have to step up the game or my future students are going to complain how easy it was in middle school to do this and now they have to buy encoders, write code, and .... :yikes:

Make sure you view some of the video dl of the robot.