Monday, November 28, 2011

Entry 05

Date : Wednesday, 02 November

Time: 1.30 - 5.30 p.m.

Subject: Even, even more research

Analysis of a few YouTube videos showing last year’s competition:

  1. Research continues pertaining to the robots used in last year’s competition. After watching a robot with caterpillar tracks perform, it appears that the caterpillar tracks are not sufficient to pull the robot up the ramp while its tall loops allow it to reach over the edge of the tilted midway bridge and move up with little difficulty.

  1. Another robot extracts the batons and moves them up to the top of the robot, releasing them into the rolling goal by using gravity to slide the batons down a thin chute that extends into the rolling goal.

  1. In a final match, a robot attempted to direct the batons it was containing into the rolling goal by sliding them down a V-shaped tray. The batons were well going to fall in when another robot came and stole the batons by pushing away the rolling goal so the batons would fall into the other robot’s container instead. The two robots were clearly from different colours, red and blue. Was this right?

Aaron has just built the base of our robot, using the |_| long bar arrangement. He

arranged two long bars in parallel, then connecting them perpendicularly with a combination of a few shorter bars. The whole process proceeded with precise measuring of the differing lengths of the bars. He is enduring certain difficulties screwing on the first wheel, making him frustrated to the point that he wishes to kill me and smash everything (though I doubt it was really so). He wants to use a particular gear ratio, the type of which I could not perceive at the time, but was discouraged by our robotics teacher Mr Soh.

He now fits a large-sized Tetrix wheel with the broad black ‘tyre’.



Aaron’s well detailed ideas of how the mechanism that collects the batons will be placed on the base: at the 2 sides, at the middle bar, or right at the edges.

Aaron connecting the parts together to form the frame, the base of the robot. A structure that is built on a firm base will not fall easily. Similarly, a structure with a poorly developed base will collapse easily. It goes to show how important the fundamentals are.

Aaron uses the Allen key to tighten the parts together. Everything must be constructed and put together securely. If not, things will certainly go haywire for the robot should it come with an unforeseen accident. Taking good care of the robot will prevent it from being needlessly damaged.

Aaron holds the humble yet completed base in triumph in the radiance of the bright ceiling light, which in the near future will become a successful baton-collecting robot. Some of the most amazing inventions have had lowly beginnings.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Entry 04

Date : Friday, 28 October
Time: 1.30 - .30 p.m.
Subject: Preparing for construction & Group Meeting
Aaron is now starting to deal with the Tetrix parts that will be fundamental material for the FTC robot. He is currently dismantling the base frame - the basic model robot that comes already assembled in the package, and organising the various Tetrix parts into their respective holes in the thin tray that is placed on the inward edges of the Tetrix box. He is highly skilled at using the Allen key to unscrew the robot plate by plate(or should that be Aaron key?)
As I watch him dismantle, I notice that there are two types of big wheels: the wheel with the big black outer ‘tyre’ and the wheel with rollers along it circumference. This bears some similarity to the Vex big wheel and Omni wheel respectively. Yet, Aaron claims that it is suggested that Vex and Tetrix be not combined together in construction. That is certainly suggestive of a few things…
In less than 25 minutes, Aaron has dismantled the whole base model. With the roles of each team member officially established, we are ready to begin plans pertaining to the design of the robot.
Aaron is studying the past mechanisms used in last year’s competition and perhaps this year’s to get the batons out of the baton compartment. After observing the previous FTC on YouTube and other mediums, he has found 3 mechanisms used and has evaluated the effectiveness of each, which can be found on the next page.
During the group meeting, we confirmed our respective duties. Because there were 6 roles, but 5 of us
as a team, some of our roles overlapped. For instance, Pranavi is the publicity manager and also the design manager. Matters get a bit complicated this way. Aaron even wants to be a programmer too, besides his role as robot builder.
Even after robotics session, we continue to communicate with each other via social platforms like FaceBook. We share documents related to the competition in a DropBox folder, like this very journal, some of the pictures we took during training, etc.

The 3 Mechanisms on YouTube

1. How the robots were like from the last time we went to the science centre (Singapore)
Pros: + Consistent retrieving of batons
Cons: - Slow
  • Conventional design
  • Simple

2. (From YouTube)
Pros: + Quick and efficient retrieving of batons
Cons: - No firm control of retrieving
  • A lot of resources would be wasted on the retriever

3.(From YouTube)
Pros: + Even quicker and efficient retrieving
  • Better control with 2 motors

Below are the URLs to some YouTube videos that he saw:

Entry 03

Date: Tuesday, 25 October

Time: 8.00 - 12.30 p.m.

Subject: Even more researching

After watching the robots in last year’s competition, it is noted that the robot should have 4 fundamental components in order to succeed:

1.One to interact with the rolling goal

- Able to push rolling goals around

2.One to obtain the batons

- Able to extract batons

3.One to release the batons

  • Able to drop rods into the rolling goal

and stationary goal

4.One to push down the midway bridge.

  • Keep the bridge tilted downwards to allow the

robot to ascend up

If the robot at least has all 4 working features (including combinations), it should be well capable of excelling in the competition against other robots.

Entry 02

Date : Monday, 24 October

Time: 8.00 - 12.30 p.m.

Subject: More updating and researching

Little much happened today. I am still in the process of updating the bios of the team members and studying the performances of the robots in last year’s competition, observing the average successes in picking the batons and placing them into the rolling goals. Problems such as inaccurate aiming when dropping the rods into the cans were noted.

This is important as we can foresee the shortcomings of our robot design, and improve it to overcome these problems.

What practical robots are there that have the task of picking up objects? The Roboscooper toy robot picks up little objects with its proportionally large hands and puts them on the cargo rack on its back.

Roboscooper, retrieved from It seems more designed to gather objects rather than to handle them with great dexterity

and flexibility, as the hands are large and fully extended out to receive the maximum amount of things possible.

Automotive robots in a video from

These robots are powerful and precise in their motion, being able to place the various parts of the car in the right place. They have high dexterity and flexible, being able to rotate to turn the parts in different angles. This is why they are so successful in manufacturing cars.

Kuka in RoboCup 2010 Singapore, in a video from This tiny robot prototype can pick a small object and place it in a person’s hands. The robot is able t

o sense the position hands and knows that it needs to orient its arm there and release the object. It appears to be a miniature version of the industry robots that work in the car manufacturing factories.

The Honda robots were designed mainly to walk like humans. As can be seen from the picture, the arms and hands were only added in the 8th robot out of the 11. So in this case, the propulsion of the robot was the main focus of design rather than the handling of objects. Nevertheless, today’s Asimo robot is able to grab various objects with great dexterity and care, and efficiently deliver it to the designated place.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Entry 01

Date : Friday, 21 October

Time: 1.30 - 4.30 p.m.

Subject: Beginning research on FTC from 2010

Today, I was writing out the first few parts of this engineering journal, which include the team bios. Half of our team is occupied in another robotics competition, so very little will be achieved in the following sessions. Thus, I see no use in adding the Task Column and Reflections Column until after 9 November. Aaron was conducting research on the FTC, watching videos online on YouTube related to the FTC “Get Over It” challenge and the performance of the robots that participated in last year’s competition. He has diligently noted down some important information pertaining to the competition, such as the points allocation.These are his notes..