6.270 2003 - Team 60  "Rambot (the t is silent)"

Andrew Thomas, Andrew Selbst, Phil Janowicz

Behold the final product of 3 weeks of robot building: A destructive machine feared by... well, few. We almost had a functional robot for the competition, though even if it had worked properly, too many problems were in the way.

A brief history of Team 60's efforts:

Through all our designs, the drive mechanism remained the same; a two-wheel differential drive, 45:1 gear ratio, with a pivoting servo-driven third rear wheel. We felt this design would adequately suit all our needs. We were half right. The structure turned out to be too weak, and we had a few collapses. (What we wouldn't have done for a mechanical engineer...) One improvement we would have liked would be an extra set of motors, increasing our available torque.

Our construction proceeded in several stages:

Stage 0: Dumb Redhead
    The preliminary test robot, we designed it to follow the IR beacon in Romeo style. Anticipating a bigger structure, we disassembled it, to make:

Stage 1: Drunken Monkey
    Our original design plan, which went for the cup. It had a forklift, which dropped the ball into a staging area, and then into the cup. We thought it was beautiful - and, artistically, it was. Sadly, it did not hold up to field testing and had to be scrapped. (And since we have no digital camera, we also have no proof. Man, I loved this one. -AT)

Stage 2: Rambot!!!
    Our modified plan, replacing the forklift with a cage. Our strategic plan: RAM them, get a ball from their corner, assuming their bot was incapacitated and couldn't disrupt what we had placed, RAM them again, plant on the middle plateau. It was a simple idea, a grand idea, and a violent, crowd-pleasing idea. We even wanted to have Thundersticks, made famous by Angels fans, to go with.our massive cheering section. No dice.

Stage 3: Rambot, sans scoring
    Desperate for a functioning robot, we reconsidered our scoring plan, and built the smasher. This incarnation is what you see above.

Our final robot had the following elements:
    Drive system, as described above.
    Distance sensor in front and underneath. A wall detector for finding the middle of the platform. On this model it's purely decorative.
    Two wall touch sensors. Originally for wall following, when finding balls. Since wall following didn't work with our underpowered bot, it was decorative.
    Ram sensor, so we know to step on the gas when we hit their robot. Since we were already running at full speed thanks to our underpowered drive, decorative.
    A convenient compartment for the handy board and batteries.
    The IR beacon, mounted on a dowel. Purely functional!

In conclusion, while our robot was not particularly successful, the experience was extremely educational. We learned about human nature, soldering, and what happens when a young Kevin Bacon comes to a repressed town where dancing is outlawed.

(Wait a minute...)