Today we went over the designs we came up with yesterday. The minibot uses three wheels, maybe like rollerblade wheels, spaced 120 degrees around the pole. The minibot will be pushed off the robot with a mechanism, probably pneumatics, and will snap around the pole. Then a trigger will activate the minibot's motor and it will run up the pole. One option is using the NXT, but a brain is not necessary and is heavy. We can just use a switch that flips when we hit the pole and completes a circuit, turning on the robot.
For the arm, we spent some time prototyping different ideas for grippers and lifting mechanisms that we will go over more tomorrow. These consisted of conveyor belts, scissor grabbers, and claw mechanisms.
We are checking on the Chief Delphi forum to see if the chassis can be V-shaped so that our robot can snugly center itself on the pole for the release of the minibot, but if this fails we can deploy guides of some sort.
We are considering using Mecanum wheels so our robot will have sideways motion, but this will use up all of our CIM motors and we might need them for the arm, so that will be a decision to make later.
Keep watching for updates! We meet from 10:00 to 2:00 tomorrow.
~Annie, Build Lead