Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Things are not as easy as they seem
















We're coming along, but it's hard with 13 days left to discover that there are a lot of little things that need to be though through. For me, time is the biggest priority right now - and that is why I am advising you with that in mind, going for concepts that are easier to successfully implement in the time that we have left, rather than trying out fancy things. If this does not jive with you, please let me know. Your priorities are the most important and all I can do is give you my best advice and support based on my experiences, and you can take it or leave it.

What's left to do? A lot of stuff!

LAUNCHER:

Kersten and Julia did some mulling over getting the 45 degree angle on the launcher and came up with a great idea of having the wheels not be right on top of each other. Fantastic! Unfortunately, we came up a little short - literally today. The frame being smaller, Emily will need to order new shorter timing belt pulleys on Wednesday for Thursday delivery. Yes, it will be another two days before you can get the launcher finished because once again, lest I remind you that parts require time to get shipped.

TURRET:

Aditi and Kersten put together a good plan for Bud to work on tomorrow, if he is free to do so. The plan was almost complete, and we talked about how a simple drawing with the hole patterns required to mount the frame as well as the casters would be useful since BUD is going to put the part on the CNC machine anyhow. I am going to stock the science project well from now on with graph paper. See my drawing below - you don't need CAD to covey to BUD or myself what you need done in the IDEO shop. (Kudos to Julia, who has already done this yesterday!)

GATE FOR BALLS:

Sophia, as much as I love your home made electromagnet, and as much as I appreciate you sharing those ideas with me, I have to admit your suggestion actually stressed me out a little bit. If this is your priority, please let us know and we'll focus on building an electromagnet, but I cannot ensure that we'll have something working for the gate by the end of this project. Again, I highly suggest choosing either the globe or denso motors, and just putting on a flag. Things take a LOT of time to calibrate. The build team hasn't really gotten to a point where they can understand how to structurally mount this motor so we're really waiting for them to reach that point as soon as possible.

BALL HOPPER / CATCHER:

Definitely needs some thinking. What is the plan here and how can we at IDEO help you out?

IN GENERAL:

With 13 days left, my realistic opinion is that we'll have a chassis that we can drive around and a turret that we can turn. The launcher, the ball hopper and the gate all still need to be integrated and I am not confident that this will happen in the time frame that we have.

At the core of this experience, it is my true pleasure to work with you, but I cannot help but to express my disappointment right now. You all had such high hopes at the beginning of the season and even with my hesitation, you managed to convince me that this was a path (shooting through the center goal. and getting the vision camera working) that we should take! This is no easy feat as I am not easily convinced. I am disappointed because of how things have come along, that we really aren't going to get to any of the autonomous stuff, nor the vision camera. That is fine, but I really wish you had told me not to spend the many hours I did already to understand the camera code, when we weren't going to really have a chance to use it at all. It's really frustrating being part of the programming team and not have anything to program or code when the hardware and the mechanical stuff isn't sorted out or even clearly conveyed to us. I will continue trying to be optimistic, but I am quickly running out of happy pills :(

A well planned engineering project and experience doesn't need to be like this. We don't need to stay up all night figuring things out. We don't need to work until the very last minute. Frankly, it would possibly be more useful to finish early and have the drivers get lots of practice with the robot. The truth is, as much as the rush of staying up all night in the very few last days, and as cool as we all think it might be, I don't think it's all that cool anymore. I wish we could work more efficiently and have clarity in what we do. Dang it, I want my 7 hours of sleep a night at my ripe old age of 24. I can't keep up with you anymore ;(

1 comment:

Sophia said...

I agree that our top priority needs to be something minimally functional. As I told you before, I was not at all wedded to my idea and I am now convinced that it would be harder than a flag, even though a flag would require an additional two sensors. Perhaps we should aim to get the ball through the centre hoop when we are as far away as the ramp extends. It's in the same distance range as you had it working before and it would make for an easy aim and *possibly* even autonomous if we used a touch sensor on our bumper. It doesn't really matter, let's just get something that can score somehow. A moving turret does no good if there's nothing on top of it.