All posts by Riley J. Wood

Trinity College Firefighting Robot Contest Recap

This past weekend, five Robotics Club members went out to Trinity College to compete in the annual Firefighting Robot Contest.

IMG_20160403_145228

We did pretty well too! We maintained our title as Olympiad champions:

IMG_20160408_141443

And had a successful run in the maze:

If this seems like a cool project to you, it’s easy to get involved! We start the project in September every year and teach workshops on all the skills necessary to build an awesome robot. Just come to one of our meetings and learn or join a team!

Weekend of Making

IMG_20160131_140324

Two weeks ago, the Tufts Robotics Club helped put on “The Weekend of Making” as part of the Tufts Maker Network. The event was packed, with everyone participating in workshops that revolved around learning by making. You can read more about it in the article in today’s Tufts Daily.

We’re really excited to be part of the making community at Tufts, along with groups like Tufts Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Crafts Center and Crafts House, Tufts Entrepreneurs Society and Tufts MAKE! Go check them out and stay tuned for more from the Tufts Maker Network!

Fall Semester Wrap-up

Fall semester has been a busy one for the robotics club! We kicked off our two projects for the year in September: the Firefighting Robot Competition, and the Intel Cornell Cup.

For the Firefighting Robot Competition, club members are building self-driving robots that can navigate a maze using intelligent sensor systems in order to find a candle and put it out, all as quickly as possible. This semester, we did a few different workshops where we rigged up robot chassis to drive along walls, designed parts in CAD, and brainstormed different robot designs for the competition in April. At the start of next semester, we will pick up where we’ve left off and put together our robots for the main competition. Wish us luck!

Here are some photos of the Firefighting group at work:

The Intel Cornell Cup group have begun working on a drone to assist search and rescue teams in the wake of an earthquake or other such natural disaster. The drone will autonomously search an area for people in need of help and report their locations back to the team. This should be a useful tool in determining where a rescue team’s efforts are most needed so that teams can be more efficient. So far, we have run a few different tests on the drone and on thermal cameras to assess how well they will perform for our particular application. We made it into the semi-finals of the competition in December, and are preparing for our presentation in January!

Here’s a photo of the ICC team this year:

ICC Team 2016

That’s a quick look at what we’ve been up to this semester. If you like working with robots, consider coming to our weekly meetings! No experience necessary – learning and teaching are a big part of what we do. Thanks for reading!

GIM Announcement

Hey Tufts!

The robotics club is going to be holding its general interest meeting on Friday, Sept. 18th at 3pm in the new building, 574 Boston Ave in room 404! We’ve got a fun meeting planned where you’ll learn the basics of Arduino programming, electronics & soldering, 3D modeling, and robot design to really get a flavor for what we do. We’ll also talk a bit about the projects we have planned for this year at the beginning. All are welcome – no experience required!

See you there!

Custom Servo library

Last night I wrote up a wrapper for I2C communication with our 2 RMCS-2203 servos. We also set up a github repository which will host and version-control all of our code. I also put our electronics schematics in there. Here’s a link to the repository so you can peek at what I’ve written: https://github.com/wincelet/tuftsrobotics_icc2015

My library appears in the “main_sketch” folder and consists of the RMCS2203.h and .cpp files.

I’m pretty proud of the library. It allows you to set and get every parameter described in the I2C section of the datasheet (which I’ve hosted here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzfnuj4LxfQ9VGFNV2k5dnhTNTQ/view?usp=sharing)

You create the RMCS2203 object like so:

RMCS2203 myMotor;

And in setup() you attach the motor to a particular I2C address:

myMotor.attach(0x10);

Then you should probably set the servo’s control system to default gains, since these can get set improperly when powering off the motors:

myMotor.defaultGains();

Simple as that. I have yet to write any code to move the smaller servo, but I should most likely be able to use the Servo library packaged with the Arduino IDE, so there’s not much work to do there.