You Better Not Pout...

A project log for The Emergence Project

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

Greg DaneauGreg Daneau 07/15/2014 at 02:410 Comments

We were hoping to be able to title this log entry 'You Better Watch Out!' and publish the details of us installing and troubleshooting the IR and visable light sensors on the 'bots. Unfortunately, we forgot to inform them of our schedule. Both Frankie and Johnny have been reluctant if not downright rebellious this past weekend, and our progress came to a screeching halt. However, when we decided to enter the Emergence Project into consideration for the Hackaday Prize, we made the promise that we would keep updating through thick or thin. It's been a thin week. But, we're not even close to throwing in the towel yet!

The 'bots were going to diverge a bit from each other this week. The plan was that after we figured out the edge sensor problems, we would install the light sensing systems on Frankie. After we made certain they were working to expectations, Frankie would be handed over to the programming team, who would start on the laborious process of scripting the code. In the meantime, Greg would take Johnny, and start work on the power system, as he managed to find solar cells and auxillary batteries that might suit our needs. This was the reason we built two prototypes to begin with. One team could work with one 'bot while another worked on the second. We'd manage to get two things done in the same time frame, without stepping on each other's toes. The 'bots had other ideas...

We tried to make Frankie a bit leaner and meaner. We disposed of one of the front levels, and at the same time were able to use shorter screws to fasten the remaining two together to reduce the weight. It worked out pretty well, and it's likely that the final 'bots will have some version of this configuration. This was the one positive move for the week. We also moved the wheels back a bit, to try to put as much distance between them and the front of the 'bot to see if we could get an extra moment for the edge detectors to react. It didn't. More disturbing than the rest of the problems, though, was the return of erratic behavior. We couldn't see if it was happening with both 'bots, because by now Johnny had decided to quit working altogether. We tried to rewire him with shorter jumper wires in preparation for getting solar cells stuck on his back, as the previous wiring would have gotten in the way. Unfortunately, it seems our Fearless Leader managed at some point to connect A to C instead of to B somewhere along the line, and now it refused to move at all.

So, it seems that the first step forward from this point will be to take a step backwards. We're going to strip both 'bots down to the breadboards, pull out the schematics, and start from Step 1. We're fairly certain that we must have something crosswired somewhere on Johnny, and once we get him up and running we can see if we can replicate Frankie's unpredictability. With a bit of luck, maybe the next entry will indeed start 'You Better Watch Out!'