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[DPRG] Re: Robo-magellan

Subject: [DPRG] Re: Robo-magellan
From: Ted Larson ted at larsonland.com
Date: Mon Sep 27 16:02:42 CDT 2004

It was an amazing event.  There were four cones laid out in the Seattle
center.  Three of them were bonus cones.  To win the $1000 prize, you had to
navigate to the final cone from the starting point faster than anyone else,
which was about 500 feet away, with many obstacles in the way...trees,
rocks, park benches, outdoor trash cans, decorative sculptures...a whole
bunch of stuff I never anticipated seeing.  There was definitely, no
straight-shot way to get from the start to the finish.  If you went to a
bonus cone first, you got a multiplier applied to your time.  The time was
scored on the best of best of three attempts.  Out of the 10 robots that
showed up, none of them touched a cone, on any attempt.   So, nobody won the
cash prize.   They ended up judging the winners of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place
based upon two criteria, who went the farthest, and who had the greatest
chance of success based upon their performance, and the technology equipped
on the robot.

The event starting line was in a wooded area, with a narrow path leading out
of it, and up onto a lawn area.  Most of the robots never got out of the
woods by their 2nd attempt.  Most of them got hung up on a rock, or a tree
or hit a railing, or pole or something.  The trees and the big building near
the starting line, gave trouble to those who had a working GPS, so it made
for an interesting start.
We had some major GPS problems on our robot (which is a long story) so, at
the last minute, I went in and modified our algorithm to navigate using only
the compass.  I totally anticipated we were going to loose, big time.
Anyway, it worked out better than expected, and we got very far, and took
2nd place.  Needless to say, I was quite surprised.

The guy who won the event got very close to the final cone, within 50 feet,
but the robot decided to take a path that lead him through a narrow space
between a tree and a garbage can, and he got stuck.  He didn't have much in
the way of proximity sensors on-board, but he did have a very-nice,
articulated frame design, that almost gave him the abilty to un-stick
himself.  I imagine next year he will have a sonar array on his bot.

I think next year someone will win the cash prize for sure.  I thought the
event organizers did a great job for the first time of the event too.  There
were a lot of spectators....I would guess about 100 people or so.  It was
like watching a golf tournament.  This huge crowd following a robot through
the Seattle center to see how it would fare...and then you would hear a big
cheer when it cleared an obstacle, or ran into something....it was really
fun for the spectators as well as the competitors.  I think the SRS is onto
something good with this event.

It was a lot of work to build the robot, and the competition was excellent!
Now that we have something built, we are already planning our strategy for
next year. Dave, I definitely would like to see you there next year with an

- Ted 

-----Original Message-----
From: David P. Anderson [mailto:dpa at io.isem.smu.edu] 
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 12:11 PM
To: dprglist at dprg.org
Subject: [DPRG] Re: Robo-magellan


So, how did you do this weekend?  Did you complete the course?
Did anyone?  Any post-event diagnoses?


> Thanks!  I guess I should take a photo or two with a coke can or 
> something in there for reference.  The wheels are 12" in diameter.  
> They are go-kart wheels.
>- Ted
-----Original Message-----
From: David P. Anderson [mailto:dpa at io.isem.smu.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 10:59 AM
To: ted at larsonland.com
Cc: dprglist at dprg.org
Subject: Re: [DPRG] Robo-magellan...


Excellent!  It really doesn't look that heavy.  How large diameter are the


> Dave,
> I finally put some pictures on my website of our Robo-Magellan robot.  
> I will try to shoot some vide of it roaming around later in the week.
> http://www.tedlarson.com/robots/odyssey.htm
> Enjoy!
> - Ted
> -----Original Message-----
> From: David P. Anderson [mailto:dpa at io.isem.smu.edu]
> Sent: Wednesday, September 08, 2004 11:45 AM
> To: ted at larsonland.com
> Cc: dprglist at dprg.org
> Subject: Re: [DPRG] serial baudrate converter
> Ted, how's your Robomagellan comming?  Any pictures?
> thanks,
> dpa
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