Introduction to Robotics

Spring 2001
Lab Report #1
The a-MAZE-ing Robot Contest

due Wednesday 14 March 2001

The goal of this lab is to demonstrate that you have learned the basics of programming an RCX using NQC, the fundamentals of construction using the LEGO MINDSTORMS kit and line-following behaviors.

You will work as a team to build and program a robot that can follow a black line on a white floor. The edge of the floor is marked in green. The black line may turn at right angles, at other angles or curve.

Your lab report must be done ALONE. It is worth 10% of your semester grade. It contains a write-up of the contest preparations and results.

The Robot Contest.

The contest will be held in class on Wednesday 28 February. There are four mazes, black lines on a white floor, edged in green. Your robot will attempt to complete all four mazes. You will be scored on speed and distance. The speed will be a raw score -- number of seconds to complete the maze. The distance will also be a raw score, a measure of the line followed. If your robot deviates from the line, then the point of departure will be marked. If your robot returns to the line, then the return point will also be marked. The total distance of the line followed will be measured (in cm) and added to the time (in seconds). The team with the highest mark wins the contest! If your robot leaves the floor (completely crosses any of the green edges), then the maze run is over. You will have a maximum of 5 minutes to complete each maze.

The Lab Report.

1. Include the names of your team members. Briefly describe the role that each team member played (e.g., robot body designer, programmer, both, neither, etc).

2. Include a description of the robot body that you used.

3. Include the NQC code that you used to complete the line-following task.

4. Explain how you approached the line-following problem. Outline the steps you went through, starting with the code and instructions I gave in class, ending your final solution. Describe how you made improvements, to speed up the machine and make it more accurate. You might include tables and graphs, to illustrate differences in performance achieved with different robot designs and/or programs.

5. Be sure to include any pertinent references, if you found information in books, on the Web and/or from your classmates or others.

6. Please bring a hardcopy of your report to class on the due date and also e-mail me an electronic copy of your report. MS-Word format preferred (I can't believe I just wrote that ;).