Monday, December 15, 2014

First set of MOARbots

The first set of MOARbots are coming together. Pictured above are the 4 cart bodies in this set. I will be assembling them before I leave for the holidays, so that Sector 67 can bring them to Saturday Science. They won't be doing anything fancy; the game is human-controlled bumper cars. The setup:

  • 4 USB game controllers
  • 1 transmitter wixel
  • 1 receiver wixel per robot
  • 6 or so red LED 'damage' indicators per robot
  • Some limit switches and wire bumpers
  • A modular set of acrylic arena walls, hinged with duct tape, and with holes for snapping the supports into it (to keep the robots from ramming down the wall)
The game works as follows: Control (joystick) data gets sent out from each controller to each robot (if the controllers don't switch USB slots, it ought to be possible to color code the controllers to the corresponding robots). Each robot starts with full health, so no damage indicators are on. Each time the rear bumper gets hit (note the rear is the side with the marble) all the LEDs flash and the robot is in "invulnerable" mode. After "invulnerable" mode the LEDs light up to reflect how much total damage the robot has suffered since the round started. If all the LEDs light up, the robot enters a slow blink mode and stops moving, regardless of controller input. The supervisor (the person sitting at the computer that ties this all together) can hit a key at the Python script to reset the game. This sends a reset signal to all robots, who reset their damage indicators and start anew.

This game was designed specifically to allow one way communication only (controller computer to robots only), and to not involve the webcam.

Upcoming posts are expected to be MOARbots and holiday season related. Happy Hannukah and so on.

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