The GROTON USFIRST Robotics team consists of about 15 high school kids and 4 adult mentors. The USFIRST Robotics is sponsered
by NASA, Segway, BAE and many others.
Go to the USFIRST web site
The GROTON ROBOTICS team has entered the USFIRST competition. Our robot
is controlled by a Robot Controller from InnovationFirst Inc. It consists
of a user controller and robot controller, linked by radio using RS-232.
The user controler accepts up to 4 joysticks. These joysticks control the
outputs of the Robot Controller.
Go see the Robot Controller
Go see the Operator Interface
On the Robot Controller are 16 Pulse Width Modulated outputs, used to drive motors
thru Victor Mosfet H-bridge speed controller. It also has 8 TTL outputs used to trigger
solid-state relay modules by the Spike Co. There is also 18 Digital Input/Output lines
and 8 analog input lines. The Robot is programmed in C using an Itegrated Develepment Enviroment
suppled by MIcroChip.
See the VICTOR speed controller here
See the SPIKE relay module here
Our robot also has color vision. By using a ccd camera mounted on a servo motor driven gimbal assembly,
it can track a colored object and drive over to it.
The C program relates the various joystck controlls to the robot controller output.
For instance: Joystick #1 X axis and Y axis are programmed to control the drive motors.
Joystick #2 Y axis controls the motors in the lower arm and Joystick #3 controls the
upper arm motor. The thumbswitch on Joystick #3 controls a pnuematic valve that operates the tetris-grabbing arm.
After the programming is done, it is downloaded to the robot thru a serial cable. All states
of the controler can be read back into a laptop connected to the operator controller and
read out using a "Dashboard" program. This greatly facilitates de-bugging.
All in All, the kids have done a remarkable job, given the level of
technology involved and the ages of the kids.
Here is a side view of the robot base: