Our robot, The Brave Little Toaster, or BLT, was the product of 3 weeks of steady work, and although it did not win, its performance was very solid and reliable. The first week was spend building a chassis with which we could test code using the VPS (visual positioning system). The first chassis was very compact, and used the largest wheels. While useful for testing navigation code, it proved to not be optimal for what would actually be required of it for the real competition. The second week we remade the chassis much lower to the ground, with the smaller wheels, and made the robot wider, and not as long. This gave us plenty of room to attach the manipulators needed to turn the capturing gears set into the wall, and to pull the lever for gathering ping pong balls. There was almost zero clearance on the ground with this new chassis, and we decided just to use low friction skid pads, rather than the more common caster wheels, and they seemed to work fine. At the end of the second week we essentially finished constructing the robot, with its spinning gears for capturing territories (DC motor), its spinning arms in the front for lever pulling (modified continuous rotations servo), and a tray on the top to hold ping pong balls with a gate on one side for depositing (servo). The last week was spent on tuning the design and coding. By the end of that week we would have been able to compete as long as the other robot never got in the way. In the last few days, we wrote the opponent avoidance code, and of course throughout the entire experience we were debugging constantly, which takes more time than actually writing the initial code.
Below: BLT competing in a seeding round, game day, starting on the bottom of the video.
We tied (along with many other robots) for a 9th place overall, and we all had a ton of fun. We all gained much experience in C programming, working with sensors and microprocessors, and engineering.