Blog of things

posts in category * Robotics

Applying for and getting into PiWars 2020

2019-10-10

So... we applied for and made it to PiWars 2020. We have managed to expand on our previous sketch and send off the application one day before applications closed.

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To PiWars or not to PiWars is the question! Or is it?

2019-9-15

By this time you all know PiWars 2020 is happening, same place same dates as 2019. This time there is more direct involvement from the community. Some of the courses have been suggested by the community and are going to be built by the community. In previous years, only a select few bits were built by the community, everything else was done by Tim Richardson and Mike Horne, the organisers.

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PiWars 2019 - Fail Whale Part 2 of 2, Onwards...

2019-6-3

It has been two months since I wrote my last post. It has taken a bit to fully get over the disappointment. But last weekend marked the official end of Robot J2...

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PiWars 2019 - Failure and heartbreak - maybe Part 1 of many

2019-4-1

So we attended PiWars 2019 yesterday, and failed miserably with our robot - J2. It broke down on the second event of the day, struggled with the third event and went up in smokes on the fourth. We came 15th (last) in our category. It was a sobering lesson in robot building and failures. I have blogged a lot of what I did with PiWars bots in the past, but not always focused on the fails, so I think the time has come for me to detail the fails, if nothing for myself to refer to.

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PiWars 2019 Diary: Are we there yet? Not quite!

2019-3-14

So here we are... 2 weeks to go! Honestly I didn't want to write a post yet but today is the last day for submission into the competition, so I thought I'll share some more of the progress. Actually a lot of stuff has happened on the mechanical end of things and not enough has happened on the software side. So end result is a fairly good looking bot that still needs a lot of integration and testing. However, lots of lessons were learnt, so I'll try to cover some those today.

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PiWars 2019 Diary - A Major design change and other challenges

2019-2-18

First up, many apologies for not writing a new post in the last two and a half months. No, I didn't give up on PiWars 2019, it has been just... things... But I am back, hoping to cover all the challenges our team has faced and overcome, in as much details as possible.

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PiWars 2019 - So it begins

2018-9-18

I sent my PiWars 2019 application in about ten days ago (weekend before last). I wasn't ready to the extent I wanted, but then again, you never are, and I didn't want to wait for the last two weekends. Hopefully the application has enough meat to see it through the first round of eliminations. I can't reveal much about the application until the results are announced so, suffice to say, brand new, built from scratch, robot, by the same team as last year. It does have a new name though :).

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Cost of building a robot for PiWars

2018-4-30

This maybe a controversial topic and I fully expect to get panned for it, however, I thought I should write down what I spent on my PiWars bot (First time and in the Beginners category) for two reasons:

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Update 10: The day is here, but the robot isn't...

2018-4-22

The day is finally here. Six months ago when I started building the robot even without knowing whether it will be competing or not, little did I realise I would be where I am today.

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Update 9: Light at the end of the tunnel...

2018-4-16

... is often the headlights of an oncoming train 🤣🤣🤣.

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Update 7: Zoom Zoom... some progress at last

2018-3-28

It's been a while since I posted an update. We have been head down in a - coding, building, designing printing and repeat loop. Unfortunately, it still doesn't mean we are done with all the challenges. However, we have made some progress in understanding how computer vision works. Must add Pixy has made our life much easier. We have done a part of ball follow and redone straight line speed using PixyCam.

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Update 6: Pan, tilt, see... Vision challenges in progress...

2018-3-12

Another weekend... and yet another, smaller than expected turnaround... but we have made progress. As mentioned in the last post, I have been racing to complete the Pixy camera integration before I finalize the routing logic for Pi-o-steer. I thought this week would be it, but we had a scope creep... we ended up designing, 3D Printing and assembling a full Pan-Last mechanism. On any other day I would have considered that a big achievement but in the big scheme of things it wasn't as big.

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Update 5: Getting started with Pixy camera

2018-3-6

Getting snowed in last week caused a lots of problems for UK but it resulted in some unexpected gains towards our PiWars project.

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Update 3: We are going to PiWars 2018!

2018-2-7

Happy new year everyone; Oh wait, it's February already (how did that happen O_o ?!?). January just flew past and among all the excitement of New Year, squat in the middle of NDC London, I got the magic email from Mike Horne, one of the organisers of PiWars - there had been a drop off and our team had been bumped into the qualifiers list. So team Pi-o-steer is going to PiWars, Yaba daba doooooooo! This news provided impetus to my sagging morale that had seen me procrastinate about the bot for over a month.

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PiWars Update Two: Steering Geometry, say what now?

2017-12-2

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I was planning to re-design the front motor mounts and the entire steering mechanism. While this would cause a delay, I thought might as well get as deep as we can given we didn't have any time pressure. Even if we got the bot moving with sensor input by Christmas 2016, it would leave enough time to hone the software for guidance. Though chances of getting the nerf dart launcher built looks a little sketchy now.

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PiWars Update One: Steering (out of) control

2017-11-7

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted, thought I would share an update.

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Getting started with PiWars!

2017-10-26

... and how not to apply for it! Beginning of the month we found out our maiden application hadn't made the cut for PiWars 2018. Made me sad, momentarily, but it faded away fairly quickly. We were too invested in this to not do it. Sadly for us our commitment and intensity wasn't evident in our application.

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