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[DPRG] Re: Contest Course ideas from RPL

Subject: [DPRG] Re: Contest Course ideas from RPL
From: Dennis Draheim ddra at airmail.net
Date: Sat Aug 12 09:51:12 CDT 2000


Looks like you meant to send this to the whole list, but it was
addressed to just me.  I agree with all of your points.  Do you know of
a source for the thin rubber mat?


Ed Koffeman wrote:
> >  How long can it take to cut some plywood into 4' squares and paint it
> flat
> > black?  I'm willing to help, but we would need to move quickly, because
> I'm out of town
> > from August 18 - September 8.
> We need the pieces to lie flat on the floor, so just using ordinary plywood
> probably won't be satisfactory.  Perhaps marine (5 -ply?) plywood would not
> curl so much.
> Rubber sheeting, indoor-outdoor carpet (almost no pile), or thin hardboard
> (pressboard) are candidates.
> Where pieces join, we will need to tape them together underneath or on top
> to avoid gaps or steps.
> If the covering is limp, we can roll it up and there is less likelyhood of a
> curl causing a high spot or a step.
> A stiffer material like a plywood might rock a bit on an undulating floor,
> but if thin enough might conform well enough to fllow the floor.
> At the Science Place, the floor is hard and flat, so almost anything will
> work.  But on a regular concrete area there are undulations.
> In general, I think realtively limp materials are best.
> Whatever we choose should have enough body to it that it lies flat and
> doesn't wrinkle up ahead of a robot or from someone walking on it.
> The other option is to do like the fire-fighter course and have a floor that
> has thickness, but that requires enough support under the surface to avoid
> being damaged by heavy robots or people with sharp heels.  This would have
> the advantage of controlling the joints more closely, and likely avoiding
> any warping.
> We leave open the option of using the existing carpet on the smaller course.
> It won't be as much trouble to store it correctly in the smaller size, and
> so avoid the wrinkles.
> Criteria for evaluating flooring:
> 1. Must form a continuous (no gaps, no bumps, no steps) surface when being
> used.
> 2. Must be a uniform color that contrasts with the walls and navigation
> lines.
> 3. Must be cost-effective.  Either long lived or cheap.
> 4. Must allow robots and people traffic without deteriorating or moving out
> of place.
> 5. Must allow taped lines to be applied and removed without damage.  This
> means it may be best to use something that doesn't need to be painted.
> 4. Should have some surface roughness.  This helps with traction and reduces
> specular reflection (shinyness), but also helps keep dust and dirt from
> footprints being so obvious.
> 5. Should be easy and quick to prepare the course floor for use.  For
> example, if we want to practice at a meeting.  Relatively less taping or
> joining is better.
> 6. Should transport easily in a pickup truck..  This means it needs to be in
> sections of about 4 ft. by 6 ft. or a roll.  Also needs to arrive undamaged.
> 7. Should store well.  For example, should not become unuseable from
> humidity or high temperature.
> 8. Should be readily available so individuals can duplicate the course.
> 9. Should have characteristics like flooring typically found in a home or
> office, so robots that work in a home environment will have good mobility on
> the course.
> Candidates mentioned:
> Plywood - regular, marine
> Hardboard - regular, black (baked?)
> Poster board - black
> Carpet - automotive (the current carpet), indoor-outdoor
> garden cloth - black thin
> tarpaper - (too dirty)
> rubber horse barn mat (too expensive)
> thin rubber mat
> tile
> linoleum
> kids' play area interlocking mat (too expensive)
> Well that's my straw man - everybody can chime in to revise the criteria.
> I don't think we should spend any money unless the new material meets or
> exceeds the present carpet's ability to meet whatever criteria we agree on.
> Ed Koffeman

Dennis Draheim
ddra at airmail.net

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