23
Jun

Starting off day 8 with some touch up coding, especially on Station 3 (sprinkles and cherries).  After this will come putting all the code together in a nice format and adding the customization through the front panel of the bowl-bot program.

11:45

We now have a nice, user friendly interface!

A screenshot of our LabVIEW 2010 Front Panel Interface

As you can see, this allows the sundae maker to specify how much of each topping they want on their sundae.  Next we have to alter the programs to make them actually react to these numbers.  We are going to do this through more Bluetooth wireless communication.  Basically, the interface is on the Bowl-Bot program, so we can take the numbers entered and send them via Bluetooth to the station that needs to know.  So the chocolate level will be sent to the Choco-Squeezer Station.  We are performing some basic math on the levels to make them correspond with the correct amount of time for each task.  We’ve noticed whipped cream comes out much faster than chocolate syrup—so the chocolate level gets multiplied by 2 while the whipped cream level gets multiplied by 0.3.

3:19

After some promising initial progress, we’ve hit some significant technical difficulties.  Something is not right in the receiving of the user-input messages.  To try and isolate the problem, we’ve begun writing some test programs that involve a similar process (one NXT sends a message to 3 other NXTs, with varying actions that depend on receiving the message.)  Unfortunately, the Bluetooth is no longer cooperating.  We finally thought we’d nailed the process of connecting computer to NXT (hint: you have to connect it in about 4 different places.  It’s rough.) but now the computer seems to be rejecting the connection.  We have no idea why.

3:55

We’ve come to the conclusion that the Bluetooth-BowlBot connection was interfering with the Bluetooth NXT-NXT connections.  While it pains us greatly, we think the program will have to be downloaded onto the BowlBot using a cord, not wirelessly.  Our workroom is just not conditioned correctly for so many different wireless signals.

On the bright side, when we download the program onto BowlBot using the USB cord, the first part of the program works perfectly!  The Choco-Squeezer portion of the system is working well—it alters the amount of syrup dispensed based on the user input.  Progress feels good!  Unfortunately, the Whipped Cream-O-Rama and the Sprinkle-Mania both still run on infinite loop.  It would be perfect if we were making a table-long sundae…

4:50

No change in the whipped creamer’s behavior.  Despite many, many changes in the program, we haven’t figured out why it keeps spazzing.  Ending the day on a slightly discouraging note, but hopefully we will have better luck figuring it out tomorrow.

Google Searches:

  • types of mountains
  • Whoa
  • Whoah (clearly had to settle a debate…)
  • A lot of boring ones involving some combination of “nxt,” “bluetooth,” “not working” etc

Day 8 Conclusions:

  • You can’t do EVERYTHING with bluetooth.  These guys get confused after a while.
  • Work on a bunch of little robots completing tasks and you’ll start to treat them like children.  Ours were seriously misbehaving today.  We even turned a few of them off for a while.
  • Not all days are exciting days.  Some just need a lot of perseverance and thought.
  • This part of the project is definitely the hardest part.  Toppings and ice cream may still be a few days away.

To Do for Day 9:

  • Figure out why the whipped cream tower and sprinkler are going infinitely.
  • Change that.
  • Hopefully get everything working all together.