Saturday, April 5, 2014

We knew it was trouble...

This semester I'm taking an Artificial Intelligence course.  It is an interesting course because unlike the past courses I've taken where we knew our programs would work in our controlled environment, there wasn't a controlled environment.  We still used a set of test variables but a lot had to do with our external environment.
Team Trouble
Our big project we did was right before spring break.  We broke off into teams to create a robot to remove toxic waste, or soda bottles which is what we used to represent the waste.  Our professor set up an obstacle course which consisted of us going down a ramp to remove a door before entering a ring.  Then we entered the ring and had to find the three soda bottles and remove them.  Once our robot removed the bottles, it had to head back up the ramp and shut off at the end.
Trouble, the robot

It was a tiring process.  We built our robot out of a LEGO Mindstorms kit.  It was slightly exciting for me since my brother used to make anything I wanted out LEGOs and I had no real skill for it.  We spent a lot of hours on this project because one thing this taught us was how difficult it would be to factor in external environments.  For example, if the color sensor missed the red dot on the floor, our robot would drive off the course.  Or if the touch sensor didn't registrar the bottle was in its grasp, then the robot would keep pushing the bottle around.  It was a bit frustrating but I learned a very important lesson during the process.

Trouble removing the door.  We built a lever to hold the door
until it was outside the circle and dropped it.
Trouble had a touch sensor and bars on the side to remove
a bottle from the field.
 We did fairly well during our presentation.  Our main problem was the search field was so big that it took awhile to find all the bottles.  Anyways take a look at this video one of my teammates made that shows Trouble completing the required tasks:

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