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| FIRST Robots
The design process and competition is not limited to the
mechanics of the machine but also includes the means by
which the robot is controlled. For the
2006 FIRST Robotics
Competition, many robots were created with a drive system, a
ball scoring mechanism, and a ball collection device. The most
successful of these machines incorporated ingenious mecha-
nisms and sophisticated controls to accomplish the game’s
challenges.
Team
190, from Worcester, Massachusetts, stood out among
the competition for the ingenuity and cleverness manifested
in their robot and controls. Mathematical analysis and an
extensive variety of sensors were used to monitor, guide, and
predict system performance. Their work served as a case
study on integrating a control system with a well-engineered
machine to create a superior robot.
ELECTRONICS,
MATHEMATICS,
AND ROGRAMMING
—OH, MY!
TEAM 190
COMBINING
MECHANISMS
AND CONTROL
OPERATIONS
TO BUILD A
BETTER
ROBOT
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Modeling and Matrices
When the FIRST 2006 game was
announced, Team 190 anxiously
watched the details over an Internet
broadcast at Worcester Polytechnic
Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Ideas were generated even before the
kick-off presentation was over. A priori-
tized list of possible strategies soon
emerged, and the team began present-
ing its ideas and sketches for a robot
that would dominate the competition.
With so many ideas, the team’s
designers needed a way to narrow
them into one design. They accom-
plished this through use of an engineer-
ing decision matrix that compared
design attributes for different robots.
Categories covered by the matrix
included the ability to score on the
ramp, power consumption, drivability,
low design risk, attractiveness, speed,
agility, ease of programming, robust-
ness, and, of course, weight and were
weighted for their importance relative to
all other categories.
Each robot design idea was pre-
sented to the team. Team members
evaluated each design for every cate-
gory listed in the decision matrix. The
scores were collected and assembled
to determine which robot would be
constructed. The design chosen
91
Industrial Design Award
|
A well-designed control system assists in the
management of the components that make up
Team 190’s robot.
C
C
Sketches were a large part of the initial
brainstorming process, when team members
expressed their design ideas.
C
C
C
C
C
C
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through this analysis beat out the other
designs by a margin of 15 percent. With
a design chosen, sketches that had
been drawn by hand were reviewed,
with more detail added as a clearer def-
inition of the robot came into being. The
hand sketches were next converted into
three-dimensional computer models
using
PTC Pro/Engineer and Autodesk
Inventor
CAD software. Each compo-
nent on the robot was first modeled
separately using
CAD. A robot was later
created with
CAD by assembling the vir-
tual parts into a composite structure.
The computer models allowed the
team to visualize the entire robot before
any parts were manufactured. This
allowed them to examine how the
components fit together and if the size
requirements were being met. This level
of planning avoided problems, saved
time, and conserved resources by
manufacturing only the correct parts.
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| FIRST Robots
An engineering matrix is constructed to
weigh and compare the different aspects of
components. Seen here is a matrix comparing a
holonomic drive with a six-wheel drive.
Computer models provide early insight of the
robot design. Each component is created with
sophisticated, three-dimensional modeling soft-
ware and then assembled to build the complete
robot in a virtual environment.
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