MASLAB (Autonomous Robotic Competition)

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Fun with CAD

We’ve just finished IAP, MIT’s one-month period where students can choose to do anything, and as usually, it is the busiest time of the year. Students can take awesome classes (Trash can drumming, Astronomy field camp, Truffle-making class), participate in programming competitions, learn new languages, and partake in multiple PE classes. Me? For the past two IAPs, I’ve done MASLAB, an autonomous robotics competition where teams of 4 or 5 students cram to build a robot in a month. And it’s awesome (note: this is subjective. My sleep would disagree). Not only does it present programming challenges (as would programming any autonomous robot), MASLAB is the only IAP robotics competition where I can unleash my rapid prototyping and machine shop skills (note: actual materials, not legos), and when designing the robot, we have to consider assembly and integration with hardware. It’s fun, and it’s definitely rewarding. Feel free to peruse our final paper (and journals!) listed below. This year, we won second place and a $1000 check. The team was awesome. MASLAB 2014 Final Paper: http://maslab.mit.edu/2014/wiki/Team_Three/Final_Paper MASLAB 2013 Final Paper: http://maslab.mit.edu/2013/wiki/Team_Twelve/Final_Paper Some short details (and pictures!) about our 2014 robot that won second.Image

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Mechanisms:

Collection: Rubber band roller

Transport: Archimedes Screw

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With the second layer off, it’s easier to see that the balls are being collected at the bottom and roll off the ramp into the archimedes screw. The screw lifts the balls to the top, where they are color sorted into the right hopper, as red and green balls need to be scored in different ways.

Scoring: 2 collection hoppers (one for red balls, one for green balls) with different servo-controlled release mechanisms. There are two ramps for scoring in the 2 reactor ports.

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Ball released one by one with pacman shape on left side of robot

After the competition, now that we had access to a lasercutter, Kath and I decided to make little memorandums for our team. Yay laser cutter being able to raster pictures. It’s currently hanging on our door 🙂

Lasercut MDF MASLAB Memorabilia

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