11) Notebook 11

1) Choosing the Project

Date: 02/02 2012
Group members participating: Falk, Jeppe and Jakob
Duration of activity: 3 hours

1.1) Goal

The goal of today is to choose and describe the end course project.

1.2) Plan

  • Find and describe three projects.
  • Select one of the three projects as the end course project.
  • Make a plan for the end course project.

1.3) Results

1.3.1) First Project Proposal - Animal Behavior/Robot Game


A predator-prey setting with one predator robot and 5-8 prey robots. The predator is remotely controlled, and the preys drive around autonomously.
The predator is be big and slow and the preys are small and fast.
The preys search for food while avoiding each other, other objects and the predator. When the predator approaches they scream and scatter.
If one prey hears another prey screaming, it panics. Different sounds indicate different behaviors.
The predator is able to kill a prey robot by hitting it on the top.

Hardware/Software Requirements:
Each robot have to be build around a NXT, so around 7 NXTs are needed.
The prey have two touch sensors, a microphone and a color sensor, and two motors for driving.
The predator needs no sensors as it is remote controlled, but two motors for driving and one for hitting the preys.
The predator is remotely controlled through bluetooth by a pc or a smart phone.

Software Architecture:
The preys use a behavior-based architecture for controlling their actions, and all processing would be done on the NXTs.

Make the prey move autonomously and making a proper avoiding behavior could be a challenge.
It could be tricky to make the preys navigate using only the touch sensors. A solution to this could be to make some sort of inner map of the environment made with tachocount.
Detecting sounds of different frequencies can be a problem.

Presentation at the End:
A presentation would be showing someone playing the game, i.e. controlling the predator and hunting the preys until all prey are dead.

1.3.2) Second Project Proposal - The Lost Robots

Collaborating, map building, communication.

Three robots with different skills collaborate in solving a task. The task can be finding different colored objects in an environment and returning them to some spot in a certain sequence.
One robot has the task of mapping the environment and locating the objects, another robot grabs the objects and give them to the third robot which transports them to the goal zone.

Hardware/Software Requirements:
Three NXTs are needed, one for each robot, each equipt with motors for driving and a ultrasonic sensor for avoiding objects. A color sensor is needed to detect objects, a touch sensor and a motor for grabbing and finally a touch sensor on the transport robot.

Software Architecture:
All processing would be done in a behavior-based architecure on and between the NXTs. The NXTs communicate using bluetooth.

The issues are communication between the robots and mapping an environment correctly.
The accuracy of the map could be improved if a controlled environment with some sort of grid is used.

Presentation at the End:
Showing the three robots solving a task by collaborating.

1.3.3) Third Project Proposal - The Driverless Car

Mapping, navigation, smart-phone.

A driverless car drives around a city (of lego roads) and maps the environment and takes pictures of the whole city, and matches the pictures to related spots (mini google streetview car).

Hardware/Software Requirements:
A light sensor and an ultrasonic sensor for navigation. Using the tacho-counter to help mapping and a smart phone for taking pictures.

Software Architecture:
The robot would be controlled with a behavior-based architecture and communicates with a pc via bluetooth.

The biggest challenge here is mapping an environment correctly using the tacho-counter.

Presentation at the End:
The robot drives around the track, making the map and sending pictures and the map to the pc.

1.4) Conclusion

We ended up choosing the first proposal, because it sounds fun and it has a lot of challanges. The project is easily extendable if we have a lot of time, e.g. we could make the predator move autonomously or making the preys move slower if they haven't eaten for a long time or similar more advanced behavior.

1.4.1) The Overall Plan

  • Experiment with the sensors.
  • Designing the architecture of the prey robots.
  • Start building and testing one prey robot.
  • Design and build the environment.
  • Make a prey robot move around in the environment.
  • Make all the prey robots move around and interact with each other in the environment.
  • Build the predator and implement remote control.
  • Make the preys interact with the predator.
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