We would like to introduce our new series of monthly updates for the UBRobotics club! This November has been an exciting time for UBRobotics, with testing fully underway and design almost complete. We would love to share with you a few of the exciting projects we're currently working on:
A new year means new robots. Completely redesigned from the ground up, the new robots for this year’s competition will allow us to compete at a far more advanced level with a new, modular assembly which allows for fast redesigns of subsystems and easy maintenance. This year, we are bringing more computing power on-board in the form of a small Linux based single board computer called the Raspberry Pi. With these computers on board we are opening the door to new technologies such as pathfinding, computer vision and telemetry. We are hoping that the chassis designed this year can form a basis for future competitions, in order to solve new problems with increasing complexity.
Taking advantage of the new Raspberry Pi’s processing power we have started to develop more complex movement control and planning. Implementing a grid-based A* search generates the shortest path to the destination and real-time re-planning allows avoidance of moving obstacles. Combined with a more reliable control system and a whole new differential drive we can traverse the play area in seconds, giving us the advantage in time critical problems while maintaining positional accuracy.
Sponsors play an integral role within the club and allow us to do what we do! We are pleased to announce our continued partnership with the Hands Up fund, a University of Birmingham alumni fund which endeavours to help student groups to flourish. Last year Hands Up allowed us to travel to Paris to compete at the international finals and are supporting us this year to deliver a series of hands-on robotics workshops where club members can learn about programming embedded hardware, computer vision and control algorithms: all things that are essential to our robots. These have been very well received this year and we hope to continue the programme into the new year.