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Monday, 14 March 2011

What Next?

Our next assignment was to utilize everything we had learned and put into practise with the robots so far, to send them on a designated path, from A to B.  For our group, this was a struggle and in the end we weren't able to make it happen.

Our logic was sound,  we were going to avoid using sensors as this initially seemed like the more complicated programming choice.  Instead we would run our robot on a completely pre-ordained path, that we would input and perfect with trial and error.  There ended up being a whole lot of trial involved, and even more error.  With a little more time planning beforehand, and a little more time spent playing with the NXT software to learn the correct methods, we could have followed the approach that was employed by the majority of the other groups in class (moving our LEGO robot from A to B using sensors to gather and interpret the surrounding environment).

Our technique involved a lot of room for error.  Initially it was vital that our robot was set off from a consistent starting point.  The life of our batteries affected the rotation of the wheels, and therefore the length of its forward movements, and the degree of its turns.  We had to maintain the condition and allignment of the robot itself to insure consistent movement (a problem not helped by the fact that we had to take it apart in the morning to insert fresh batteries).  Lastly I'm fairly sure that the movement of the robots after programming was naturally pretty inconsistent anyway, so we were fighting an uphill battle from the start.  It would have been far more efficient to train the little guy to read the current situation, and decide for himself how to navigate from A to B.

I was losing my cool.

Even though we chose what seemed to be the easier option, we should have had the foresight to see that these issues were possible.  Probable even.  We were a fairly promising group to begin with, but we didn't make it to the end of the course when it mattered.

Props to our group for fitting into character though.  Our character the thief was implemented by sneaking around the outskirts of the room as opposed to a direct route, and our shady head movements charmed a few of our classmates.

Next time though we'll definately do things differently. Can't win em' all but.

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