Hello robotics! Before starting the article, I would like to say that we are just amateurs and we are still sooo far from real professionals.
We love robots. We are students of technical schools, designers, electronic engineers, programmers, and we all love to create robots. Two years ago, our AmberBot team appeared on the basis of School 56 (resource center) and the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University and we took part in the Eurobot Open competition for creating mobile autonomous robots for young robotics enthusiasts. The team played 2 seasons. We programmed, soldered, assembled and disassembled our robots, and then still launched them. We also got an unforgettable experience and developed a number of interesting solutions, which we will talk about in a series of articles. This year we even received an award in the nomination “Original technical solution”.
Eurobot Open is an international competition for autonomous robots. The tasks, the field of “matches” and game elements change every year, but the meaning remains the same – the team creates two autonomous robots that will compete with the opponent’s robots on a small field for limited resources for 100 seconds. This short sentence hides a huge number of tasks that the team has to solve, because the robots must be fast, agile, able to complete tasks on their own and not collide with the enemy. And every year you have to develop new robots. And yet, the experience and developments of past years gives some advantage. From season to season, we need localization systems, predicting the movement of opponents and avoiding collisions, route planners, flexible behavior control systems, our own electronics and mechanics. Yes, there are standard algorithms and libraries for solving many of these tasks, but most of them one way or another have to be heavily modified or written from scratch due to the specificity of the functionality and resource requirements.
The game theme for 2023 is Cherry on the Cake. Game tasks and elements were given thematic names. It was necessary to collect cakes according to the recipe from Grandma Monique, collect cherries (Nerf balls) in a basket and count their number, as well as put on an “outfit” and celebrate the party.
We will talk about these robots in another article. And now let’s talk about another robot, which we have been developing for half a year and, unfortunately, we had to abandon it, but it cannot be left without attention!
So, after getting acquainted with the regulations, we started brainstorming over the mechanics and decided that the first robot would assemble cakes!
Here we didn’t bother with the word “absolutely” and took the experience of last year, namely 3 omni wheels. An interesting feature is the use of an omniwheel platform as a drive, which can move forward in any direction without making unnecessary turns, which increases the maneuverability of the robot by an order of magnitude.
Drum or sorting
Since there are only 3 cake layers for making a cake, we made a rotating drum for sorting them
Our real headache in this robot and one of the main reasons for abandoning this robot. The 3 dof manipulator was needed to collect and lay out the cherries on plates. At the end of the manipulator there were 3 suction cups that ensured the capture of the cakes. To create a vacuum at the ends of the suction cup, a pump and a valve from an old Mercedes were used (to “remove” the vacuum). All parts of the manipulator and not in general the entire robot were printed on a 3D printer.
Unloading cherries on cakes
Since each team is given 10 cherries at the beginning of the match, we decided to unload them on cakes inside the robot and made a separate mechanism for this. The mechanism could unload cherries on both 1 and 2 and 3 layers of the cake (because initially we wanted to collect one-layer cakes with cherries – this would give more points than recipe cakes).
Traveling guide for capturing cakes
In front of the manipulator, we made moving out guides to increase the accuracy of getting the cakes into the manipulator
We have gained a lot of experience by participating in eurobot.
As a result, we had to abandon this robot, because. we did not have enough time to debug the mechanics to a competitive state and we decided to make simple and efficient robots. During development, we modeled the robot, but unfortunately we did not have the final files. The robot turned out to be quite interesting and at the same time difficult for us!
PS In the following articles we will talk about navigation, localization and other technical solutions of our team.