Pi Wars Post 4

Pi Wars Post 4

We were overjoyed to receive the news that we were accepted into the Pi Wars Competition. After weeks of nervous anticipation, we can finally put our game faces on and find ways to win the competition! On the 29th of October, we contemplated chassis with different turning mechanisms, and we were choosing out of two designs: fixed axles resulting in less motors or four-wheel drive, turning the wheel and its motor as one block. We believed that the latter idea will give us an advantage in the Spirit of Curiosity and Apollo 13 Obstacle Course Challenges, because the wheels will provide better traction and will be better on uneven ground, and thus we went with this.

Coretec Tiny

On Friday, the 9th of November, our Coretec Robotics "Tiny" arrived! This provided us with a set of four wheels that will help us dominate the Spirit of Curiosity and Apollo 13 Obstacle Course challenges, four motors and a miniature breadboard. With these parts, no challenge can stop us, as we have the traction for uneven grounds and the speed to overcome the time limits. Although we unfortunately weren't allowed access to the laboratory, we didn’t let that stop us, and commenced the building of our robot's base. 

We completed the building of the chassis on Monday, the 12th of November. Complete with four grippy wheels, acrylic and a motor board, all the robot needs now are wires and a Raspberry Pi board to begin its path to victory! As well as that, four motors for four wheels on the chassis will ensure that we get the full range of movement out of the robot. A week later, we finished the robot, giving us an extra 4 months to make adjustments and plan strategies to win the competition. With our speedy yet easily maneuverable robot, we will be able to carefully unload supplies, knock down pest aliens, pop opponents’ balloons and make our way through complicated courses, and this will lead us onto the path of victory!


  1. Pi Wars Post 4 (15/03/2019)

    Blog put as a comment due to lack of permissions to write blog :(

    Two programs were developed to control the robot remotely - one for use with a keyboard and one with a controller. Each has multiple features, such as variable power, various different control schemes and the remote even lights up different colours to indicate which control mapping and speed the robot is going!

    We then got a raspberry pi camera and managed to take a photo, saving it to the pi as a jpeg. We quickly adapted the command line code into a python file.

    We got pictures of the colours for the nebula challenge after going to the last meetup in Cambridge, where we were recommended to use a compass for more accurate turning for the automated tasks. Brian had kindly offered to print a custom front bracket for the tiny 4wd robot that are using as our chassis, which we also collected on the day. It was to connect the Pi Noon/Spirit of Curiosity connector to the robot and worked perfectly.

    After getting back to Reading, we bought a compass (CMPS12) and went about attaching an ultrasonic sensor that would aid us in many tasks. After swiftly wiring up the sensor, we ran into several problems, culminating in the sensor not responding. Having ruthlessly deconstructed the libraries we were using, rewriting code for the ultrasonic sensor from the very basics, we started to test the pins. We started to wonder if the schematic for the explorer phat was incorrect. However, by using an LED and lots of patience, we deduced that the explorer phat itself was at fault.

    The plan is to now further investigate if there is a way around the problem, and attach the compass.


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