by Jonathan Spalten
RoboWrestling has been busy the last semester designing their newest generation of 3 kg Sumo Bot, dubbed Spici. The biggest change with this new robot is that the plow is hinged. RoboJackets has iterated on a few plow designs throughout their history, beginning with a compound plow with a rigid aluminum section at a steeper angle and a flexible spring steel tip at a low angle. More recent plows have reduced the difference between these two angles, and replaced the flexible spring steel with a rigid steel tip. What Spici adds to that is a hinge on the plow that prevents enemy robots from using our own plow against us.
In the event that an enemy robot’s plow is able to get under our plow, instead of the plow being used as a longer moment arm, the new hinged plow design will simply rotate out of the way, preventing Spici from being flipped as easily from the front. To ensure the plow remains flush with the steel dohyo floor otherwise, weaker magnets are attached and maintain a downward force.
The team plans to begin manufacturing Spici in the spring semester. Aside from Spici, the team has also made small adjustments to Guccii and Kirbii, including addressing mechanical issues with the plows and making changes to the sensor arrays on the robots. Like Spici, both Guccii and Kirbii will use 6 TF Minis (miniature single-beam LIDARs) in an array to detect and track their opponents.
Unfortunately, because of COVID considerations, including the travel restrictions in Japan, the All-Japan Robot Sumo Tournament (our typical competition for Sumo) has been put on indefinite hiatus. RoboJackets is continuing development on our robots and will be keeping our eyes out for other competitions where we can bring our robots. Additionally, because we have multiple functional robots, the team is able to test them against each other to practice for when competitions present themselves again. The team has plans to build a full size dohyo for this exact purpose, which will enable accelerated iteration even in the absence of competitions.