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Bouncin' Right Along...

A project log for The Emergence Project

An experiment in group machine intellegence (Or lack thereof...)

Greg DaneauGreg Daneau 11/09/2015 at 03:310 Comments

Greetings True Believers! A quick project update...

We've finally, positively identified the gremlin that's been plaguing the project for so long. As we've long suspected, it was something simple that our Fearless Leader managed to overlook while doing his pre-project research. This phenomenon is known as 'contact bounce'.

When mechanical switches like the ones we use for obstacle avoidance are tripped, they don't make positive contact instantaneously. In that split second it takes to go from 'off' to 'on', it may arc hundreds, or even thousands, of times. This understandably freaks out the controller, making the action it decides to implement erratic. It also explains why the problem seemed to be getting worse over time. When we thought the problem was faulty switches, we were replacing the relatively expensive switches we had bought for the prototypes with the cheaper ones that we're going to use for the swarm. The more switches we replaced, the worse the problem got. The worse the problem got, the more switches we replaced, and so on.

Now that we've gotten the problem identified, we need to do two things:

First, we need to eliminate the noise. You can use capacitors to try to smooth out the noise, but most of the material we've read on the subject suggests that it's easier and more effective to take care of the problem in the software. That's the tactic we're going to try first.

The second thing we need to do is to throw an evil glance and a wagging finger at you, True Believers. We know some of you out there are electronics gurus. You could have spoken up when these problems began, but you chose to let us fumble in the dark for months. We place this whole affair squarely on your shoulders...

It's all your fault...

Shame on you...

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