Botball Robot Building and Programming Team

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Botball 2007

We are starting all over again.

News 4/15/07: 

The tournament was on 3/31/07, the day after ASB Ball at LJHS. Farz stayed home from the dance and worked through the night with Sebastian, who came right afterwards, to get the robot to get at least some points.

We had spent the earlier 7 weeks not working as much on programming as we did on building. Programming had been up to Farz and Noah, though Noah didn't show up as often due to the influence of Peter and Farz busied himself with building more than he should have.

On the day of the competition we scored no points as our robot was always slightly off of each point-scoring item. The other robot, Housebot, had been programming to go over a pipe, turn and run into the other team's side. Housebot would either run over both pipes and fly off or no pipe and run into the other robot. Either way, Housebot failed us everytime and Harvesterbot tried its best and got really close twice.

We won a game only through tie-breakers that ended up against us the second time we went up against the BeWiSE team on the same table. However, we won a Judges' Choice Award (Most Effort from a Small Team, all Sebastian's doing) and a Judges' Choice Trophy (Hacking the Firmware, Farz's summer-of-code project).

We would all like to thank our sponsor, The Dini Group for paying the registration fee for this year and also apologize for our lack of sincere effort.


News 9/23/06: 

In an ironic manner, after that last post, Botball slipped my mind. From school starting to other personal matters, I've become busy. On Monday Fahhem will ask several teachers about their "star pupils" in the Science and Math departments for possible Botball members.

Also, the shirts will be priced and possibly designed within the next week. The design will be posted online once it is available to Fahhem.


News 8/21/06: 

I have been thinking about Botball quite a bit recently and have come to a conclusion. We will not be approaching Botball the same way we have been in the past years. This year, we will create a robot through "modules."

I put quotes around modules because it is not quite in the traditional sense. I mean modules in the sense that each part of our robot will be separable from the rest. This does not mean it has to be weak, no. I created several of these modules last year without thinking of them as modules, but as ready-to-go pieces. One modules is the two white motors which were very hard to get secure in our robots without extremely fancy designs. Instead, I created a setup of about 8 pieces that created a LEGO "interface" for the motor to be attached to a robot of Legos.

Definitions before you continue:
   Multiple pieces that can be attached as a whole to a robot to add functionality.
   The point(s) where a module connects to a robot. Ideally, made of two or more planes to increase stability and strength.
Connection Dock:
   Designed by the robot's main designer(s). Specifies what the interface of the module that wants to connect there will look like.

The main advantage of this design is more spread out development of the robot. Each person will be able to work on a single part of the robot without too much worry about other people needing their part. This allows much quicker building of a robot, which was part of the problem last year.

A drawback is if someone takes a needed module but creates a bad "interface" for it. This could be a single-planar interface (very weak) or a specifies an impossible connection dock. With such a module, the robot will not function without it and cannot be changed to add it.

Another advantage, however, is that unneeded module sets, such as a box dumper's motor and sensor, can be disconnected from the robot with minimal changes to the code if it is not functioning correctly. In this sense, if the team is up for a round but the dumping motor has failed, the robot is not out-of-commission, but merely without some functionality.

As long as everybody still has access to the core of the robot and all of its connection docks, the "bad-module" virus should not affect us.


Another thing I have been doing recently: I have been investigating the IC firmware that is loaded onto the XBCs each year. This firmware currently implements few things, but changing it may allow extra functions, from wavs to bluetooth to a different screen setup (I personnally want to have a bit better screen set up). I am currently having trouble compiling things, but a new friend and a Botball developer contact may allow this project to go forward.


News 8/16/06: 

The team is regrouping for a renewed attack next year. We are hoping to get more than 4 participating members this year so if you live in the La Jolla (or close enough to drive a couple times a week) and wish to participate in Botball, send an email my way.



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