Giant Robotic Labyrinth Project
1.22.2009 (Thursday) — Day 1 —
Power of the Arduino.
Arduino’s give an average person the ability to do things they never thought possible. I feel empowered when I build a project using an Arduino and get it to work. It is important to encourage others to feel like they can do something too. An Arduino is capable of controlling a small table game as well as the giant game we’re designing now.
Science City is about learning new things and seeing technology in action. I believe the Arduino helps bring this technology closer to their average visitor. At least to a level where a high school student could do something like this too. Since mentoring FIRST robotics teams in Kansas City, I’ve tried to encourage them to start experimenting with robotics not just at school but show how they can build their own robotics labs at home. The Arduino makes this happen. Since it is an open source hardware design and supports open source software it is the ideal device to learn.
This day began with a flurry of emails and continued all day long. Our team started working on concepts for different parts of the project.
Wii Library for Linux
Jestin wrote the Linux Wii library used with our original labyrinth game. He is going to investigate the WiiFit further to see about any additional hacks we might want. It would be good to run external power to the balance board with a few other tweaks and modifications. One improvement we need is to connect the WiiFit without picking it up and pushing the reset button.
FYI: Jestin has posted his wiipluspluslib source code to CCCKC files area.
Stepper Motors and Controller
Terry is an electronics wizard designing his own surface mount circuit boards. We are planning on using one of his boards to control stepper motors to drive the game platform. Terry and Jestin are working out communication protocols. Richard has some good sized stepper motors and is selecting a few from his personal stash.
Tom stepped up to begin designing a base the game platform will set on. Right now this is looking a lot like Junk Yard Wars scrounging for parts as he considers our gimbal mechanism. Tom is an avid track bike enthusiast and wants a light weight universal joint from a shaft drive motorcycle.
Labyrinth Maze Platform
The properties we’re looking for with the maze platform are strength, rigidity, and light weight. Characteristics that work against each other as we consider moving around a 12′ platform. Tom has some good ideas for building a frame and grid to support the playing surface. His experience comes from repairing and building tractor equipment for farming but he is a software developer by trade.
The direction I’m proposing is to build a self supporting composite platform using extruded styrene building insulation foam and aluminum skins.