Planning a Tandem Robot| February 2021 Newsletter

Posted by Nigel Woodhouse on February 8, 2021

There is much deliberation about the creation of a tandem robot to accompany Arctos.

Members are discussing the prospect of creating a tandem robot to supplement Arcots' existing functionality. We may be the only team at the competition with this type of design modification. The advantage is that Arctos and the tandem robot could satisfy different challenges simultaneously; divide and conquer. Additionally, the challenge provides our members with an exciting opportunity to further develop their skills to a novel challenge. Even if the tandem robot idea merely remains an idea, it is still an engaging exercise and may lay the groundwork for future teams.

Safety protocol documentation has been completed regarding whether we can return to campus; we are now just waiting for the university's final decision. 

Work sessions on discord are introduced due to current COVID restrictions as a method to improve our work efficiency. For more information about each team's work session schedules, please feel free to contact the team leads to get more specific information.

Updates are currently being made to the website as we welcome our new members of 2021! To all the new members, we are happy to have all of you on board. We look forward to working with you and enhancing your university experience.

Mechanical Updates

The mechanical team has completed most of their projects, with only a few things left to tweak. The torpedoes are completed, and the team is currently working on restricting the servo’s motion to eliminate misfires. They have finished the droppers and continue to work on waterproofing the servos. Current tasks involve adjusting the claw model, the bottom camera enclosure model, and the conceptual design for the balancing mechanism. The electronics trays are printed, and pins need to be put in during the assembly. The team has also started new projects involving research on the claw sensor system and manufacturing competition obstacles.

Electrical Updates

The Electrical Team is making steady progress in multiple projects. They started integrating the schematic for the battery levelling into the battery monitoring board. As far as the sonar revamp, they repaired the USB and are currently implementing Ethernet. The team continues to develop the acoustic modem for underwater communication; the conceptual design is almost complete, and they are looking into designing the modulation hardware diagram. This communication creates the possibility for multiple robots in the water at once, hence the tandem robot idea. Additionally, they cleaned up the Actuation Board firmware and implemented the servo control code for torpedoes.

Software Updates

With most of the Arctos software stack complete from the previous year, there is little to adjust other than the odd bug. Creating a tandem robot would provide new team members with an excellent opportunity to build upon their existing knowledge. Doing so will fulfill our team's mission to improve young engineers' skills, preparing them for their future careers. Creating a new stack from the ground up is an exciting opportunity. 

With the current simulator, the Software Team incorporates the URDF (Unified Robot Description Format) received from the Mechanical Team. This file defines both the geometry and functionality of components, which the simulator then interprets. The most immediate updates are the inclusion of the droppers, arm, and torpedoes. Other than ironing out some issues with the automatic control system, the Software Team is smooth sailing.

Fusion 360 Workshop

Due to COVID restrictions, the Elko Engineering Garage is unable to facilitate student access to the space. On February 17 at 2 PM, our friends in the Engineering Garage will be hosting an online workshop for 3D Modeling in Fusion 360. The details are in the picture below, or you can follow the following link. The workshop is for anyone - reserve a space today and learn a valuable skill sought after in the industry!

"There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking." – Brian Tracy


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