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  You are here: RoboTag Main Page > Course Administration > Formal Design Review


 

The formal design review is the real "make or break" point of the project. Even though it occurs relatively early in the project - 5 weeks into a 27 week schedule - this is the point where you and your team will (hopefully) know EXACTLY what you plan to do. This document will help you prepare for the design review by explaining what will be expected.

Note that the formal design review is now worth 10% of your final grade.

Read the milestone-style short explanation here.



The Formal Design Review:

The design review will consist of your three team members and the project course coordinator. The review will be informal - no slides or suits are required - and very technical. Part of the review will take place in the lab, and you MUST be prepared to answer detailed technical questions.

If you have drawings or schematics to present, sketch them on a piece of paper and pass them around. If you design circuits or use drawings that are more complicated, print them out. There will be no portion of your mark associated with the presentation - as long as I can understand what you're talking about.

For everything outlined below, you must be able to explain WHY you're making the design decisions you are making. Please don't tell me that you're using such-and-such a sensor because everyone else does. Understand WHAT that sensor does, WHY you need it, and WHICH other sensors do the same thing. Understand this sort of thing for every technical decision you make.



Lab Presentation:

Your team will be expected to demonstrate the fundamentals of the MIT HandyBoard as follows:

  • bootstrap and initialize the board
  • download code to the board
  • execute downloaded (or manually programmed) code
  • perform a simple task
    • flash a light
    • move a motor
    • etc.
Feel free to suprise me with the demonstration. This lab component of the project will take place before the individual presentations.



Mechanical Stuff:

You will present your design objectives for the following:

  • robot size, weight and structure
  • method of moving around (legs, wheels, tracks, etc)
    • type of drive if wheeled (ackerman, synchro, differential, etc)
  • top speed and braking distance calculations
  • turning speed calculations (rough - no dynamics needed)
As with all the technical details, you must not only be able to answer the above questions - you must be able to explain WHY you've made the decisions you did, and go through the decision-making process. Understanding the alternatives is often as important as understanding your selected route.



System Stuff:

The member of your group responsible for the management & system design will present your group design objectives for the following:

  • what software tasks are required to run concurrently
    • ie: what your robot needs to DO all the time
  • how your robot will detect other robots
  • how your robot will avoid obstacles and other robots
  • other general algorithms for pursuit/escape/communication/etc.
This doesn't need to be very explicit, but it will help the electrical and software designers define what technical components need to be implemented.



Electrical Stuff:

The member of your group responsible for the electrical design will present your group design objectives for the following:

  • what type of motors your group will use
  • what motors meet the mechanical specifications & your selected type
  • how the motors will be interfaced to the HandyBoard
  • what batteries you will use for motors/logic
    • will you use different power sources?
  • the power consumption of the major components of the robot
  • the operating life of the robot
    • detail any low-power states
  • the type of failure that will occur when the batteries "run out"
  • a list of sensor requirements built from the system level
    • interface circuitry for each type of sensor to the appropriate processor
  • a performance analysis of the handyboard to determine whether or not additional processors will be required
    • which additional processors will be required
    • which system-level tasks will be assigned to them
Again, remember the WHY and the alternatives.



Software Stuff:

The member of your group responsible for the software design will present your group design objectives for the following:

  • what languages will be used to program the processor(s)
  • which processor(s) will multitask, which will perform single functions
  • what seperate threads/subproceses/tasks will be used
    • this should cover all the concurrent tasks outlined in the system-level design
    • on which processor will they be executed
  • how will communication between different processors work
  • how will communication between different processes on multi-tasking processors work
  • how you are planning on navigating
    • will you attempt to map or perform localization?
    • if so, how?!
    • feel free to discuss this in the system section as well
  • how you will re-use code, implement modularity, etc.
Again, don't forget the WHY and the alternatives.



Management Stuff:

The member of your group responsible for the management will cover the following:

  • the availability and cost of all the sensors, processors, motors, etc
  • how resources (time, money, effort, etc) have been allocated
  • any changes in the timeline
  • any management problems

 


 
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