by Kyla Qi
RoboCup 2022 is 7 months away, and the team is hard at work tuning gameplay and building their second fleet.
Having achieved a stable platform for the software team to test on, the electrical and mechatronics subteams are making good progress on the second fleet, with the intent of using the new bots to test improvements on the electrical and mechanical side. On the topic of the electrical improvements, Project Manager Bernardo Perez said: “We decided to do revisions to some of our most important boards, which largely entailed replacing obsolete/out of stock components and fixing some lingering issues with our previous design.” The subteam is ordering a new set of boards with the aforementioned revisions, which they plan to assemble in the spring. Aside from the board revisions, a robot shell ID board is also being added, which will allow the bots to “automatically determine their IDs at the start of a match based on the color code of their shell”, instead of team members having to manually set the IDs before every match and testing session.
The mechatronics team spent the fall designing a number of small mechanical improvements that they plan to test on the new fleet, which they will begin assembling in the spring. “Everything is electrically compatible… so we’ll be testing these alongside our old robots to compare and make changes as needed,” said Dan Lam, the RoboCup mechatronics lead. Regarding specific changes, the team plans to increase the width of the dribbler, and change its pivot geometry and damping materials to improve the bots’ ability to receive passes. The solenoid’s attachment has been simplified to allow for easier removal, now only attaching to the baseplate as opposed to multiple other parts like it was before.
For the chassis and drivetrain, the midplate and baseplate attachment “is now independent of motor stands, allowing for easier disassembly and access to solenoids for troubleshooting / replacement,” Dan said. The subteam is also adding dedicated wiring channels to reduce the likelihood of “wires getting caught on the shell and and being plugged into the wrong places.” Finally, the shell design was overhauled – instead of having a top half that constantly got caught on wires and a bottom half that was fixed to the baseplate and restricted access to solenoids and motors, the new design is a single piece that attaches to the midplate. This not only alleviates the previously mentioned issues, but will also make it easier to swap out color plates.
The software team continues to make progress on their overhaul of the team’s gameplay, implementing a number of new features since the 2021 competition. The most important of these features is the fleet’s ability to pass the ball to each other. In the past, the team was unable to implement passing due to their role assignment algorithm, which constrained bots to three levels of priority and was not dynamic enough to reassign roles at the speed required to determine effective plays. Having now overhauled this process, the team was able to implement passing, which opens up a number of gameplay strategies that weren’t available to the team in previous years. Said Bernardo: “This feature is still in its early stages, but has been tested and shown to be functional through simulation.”
Congratulations to the entire team for all of the progress they’ve made, and we’re excited to see what they accomplish in the upcoming semester!