NASA TETRIX Projects

Day 4: Friday, 7/8

by on Jul.08, 2011, under Week 1

Today we started Labview programming and constructing walking TETRIX/LEGO robots.  The original plan was to make TETRIX walking robots, but we could not figure out why the TETRIX DC motors/servo’s wouldn’t run.  Neither I, nor Morgan could get them running, so we decided to make LEGO Mindstorms walking robots.  The robots were to not use wheels and simulate walking.  The two general ideas were to make a robot that actually walks, like Lawrence’s “horse” idea or to make a robot that drags itself, like Dean/Jess and Sarah/Briyana’s dragging bots.  For the Labview programming, Morgan gave a 1.5 hour-long programming demo and introduction; thereafter we made our own sample codes and eventually used these codes of the walking robots.

Horse bot: Lawrence

The goal was to make the robot run like a horse, but figuring out the timing and the power levels of the front/back NXT motor was a nightmare.  Eventually the robot ended up working with an awkward sort of dragging/limping motion, rather than a smooth gallop.

Dragging bot: Dean/Jess

This robot operated by dragging itself on two corner brackets and pulling a sled which held the NXT brick.

Destroyer bot: Sarah/Briyana:

Destroyer Bot – Short Demo

Originally a more complex robot; upon testing it, it broke a few connections and accidentally formed this robot, which rolls along the floor much like the Destroyer droids in Star Wars (hence it’s name).

Also, ultimate frisbee with other CEEO employees at noon.

Daily Thoughts:

Dean: Walking robots: Didn’t do it, instead, built the Tank.  Destroyer robot and horsey was pretty cool though.  Labview: reminds me of mindstorms NXT program; boring.

Lawrence: Labview programming was not the greatest thing because it was time consuming and boring. The result of the programs we made is really what is great about Labview because some of the programs are really fascinating like the buttons one. The buttons one was programmed to make the NXT like a controller. We had the middle button to go forward and the right button to go right an the left button to go left it was actually really cool and not that hard to program. The Horse Robot that I made was really simple and cool. It was a disaster but in the same was a success. My intentions were to get it to walk without falling. It didn’t quite work like that though it just fell and started to drag itself with its 2 front legs and it went straighter than I expected. I also got it to flip itself so that the legs that were being dragged before actually were doing the dragging now. This ended up working even though it wasn’t intentional.  The only difficult part about this robot is the controlling because I used the buttons controls to run it and once you get the hang of it works well. Also during lunch time this day I played my first game of ultimate frisbee with the CEEO colleagues and it was really intense and fun.

Jess: Both making a walking robot and programming in labview came rather easily. In my robotics class at school a group of friends and myself had had a no-wheels robot race, and so most of the robots had been non-standard vehicles that dragged themselves like half-paralyzed, demented vertebrates. So I just attempted to recreate an idea I had had then. Labview was somewhat similar to the Mindstorms programming, which I also had background in, so it was somewhat easy to explore and discover. Within an hour or so I managed to accomplish my goal of making a robot that would start when its touch sensor was pressed, drive straight until it spotted darkness, t hen back up and turn right before going straight some more. I suppose it was a line-avoiding robot. Ultimate frisbee was pretty awesome.

Briyana: I originally wanted to make a walking robot with four equal length legs, that didn’t work at all. Then I took two of the legs off, had a base for the NXT brick, which fell off anyway. Then made the last two legs shorter. When I tested the robot it worked quite differently then I had first planned, but it still worked. Programming is definitely hard, I’ve done it before but nothing this advanced. I mostly had done programming but mostly just getting the motor to move around with different sequence pattern and have the sensor stop if it sees black tape, for example.

Sarah: It was extremely hilarious to watch the destroyer bot destroy itself on the first run. Creating walking robots was difficult to do using pieces provided and the robot also had to the hold the heavy NXT brick, which was a problem for balance.


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