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Course Description:

97.497 is a full credit (8 month) course that is a core requirement for all engineering students. Many different projects are offered through faculty members, and this year's robotics course will be available to 24 fourth-year engineering students. Students will be accepted into the course based on the quality and enthusiasm of a written proposal.

The course is a major project in engineering analysis, design, development and research carried out by small teams of students. The objective is to provide an opportunity to develop initiative, self-reliance, creative ability and engineering judgement. A project proposal, several interim reports, an oral presentation, a technical demonstration, and a comprehensive final report are required. Students are expected to commit more than 200 hours to the fourth-year design project.

The focus of this fourth year project is partly academic and partly showmanship. There will be several opportunities for the teams to "show off" their robots in mini-competitions during various stages of robot completion. Publishing information about the robots and the competition is also important - each team will maintain a detailed webpage.

Individual Requirements:

Each student accepted into the robotics fourth-year project will be expected to contribute an equal amount of work to the design and construction of the robots. To ensure that the work is evenly distributed, each student must maintain an engineering notebook.

The notebook must be bound, so pages can't be removed or added, and each entry should be dated and entered consecutively. The journal should summarize the work performed what do on a daily basis, and will be a method of recording each student's contributions to the project.

The journal should include:

  • Ideas about the robots, design calculations, etc
  • Responsibilities and outlines of the generated solutions
  • A summary of decisions made at group meetings
  • Problems and solutions, questions to be asked, etc
  • A comprehensive list of work completed

The course advisors will ask to review the journals periodically.

Team Requirements:

Each team must maintain a group webpage that outlines the team's progress. These webpages will be linked from the course webpage, and should detail the progress of the group.

The webpage should outline:

  • The design and construction of the robot (pictures!)
  • Group progress, including what each member is working on
  • A list of accomplishments and achieved goals
  • A list of upcoming deadlines and milestones

The final reports from the group members should be made available through the webpage. Technical information should probably be withheld until after the competition.

Milestones and Deadlines:

Including the Department of Electronics' outline, the following milestones outline the requirements for the 97.497 course. The associated mark is listed in the table, as well as the preliminary dates.

Remember that team-members must all be involved in all group decisions. No one person is responsible for the group meeting a deadline.

Deadline Description Mark
Mar. 31, 2000 Individual written proposals for admission into the 97.497 course.

The proposals should follow the outline given on the webpage, and MUST be submitted by the required date. Admission to the course will be based on the quality of the proposal, and the enthusiasm expressed by the student.
Apr. 7-28, 2000 First team meeting with course supervisor.

The meeting will be scheduled around final exams, on a date that's acceptable for everyone. The meetings will be short, less than an hour, and will outline the rest of the course.
Sept. 18, 2000 Individual formal project proposal.

This proposal will include a description of the project, your position in the project, due dates for the whole group (as given here), and your own due dates to insure the team due dates are met. See the Departmental information for other requirements.
Sept. 22, 2000 Setup the team webpage.

The group webpage should be setup and working, with links to individual group members. The formal proposals should be online. If you are unfamiliar with the WWW, a short course will be available.
Oct. 13, 2000 Formal review of the initial robot design.

This milestone is discussed in detail here. -- click for detail!

Management & Systems Design
High-level outline of your robot: very brief description to acquaint listeners with the proposed hardware, software, and mechanical systems.
Management information: assigned tasks, fallback plans, Gantt charts, and future time assignments.

Mechanical Design
Include gears, wheels/tracks, motors, batteries, tagging mechanism, etc. Dimensions and justification are expected. Engineering design drawings are required. These are to scale with major dimensions indicated. They should be commented. They are not shop drawings.

Electrical Design
Overview of sensor requirements: distance sensing, touch sensors. What sensors will be used, availability and cost, power supply, overview circuits of circuits.Alternately, students who have researched a new type of sensor in detail, may report on that.
Motor currents and control, if an external H-drive needed, are steppers used, expected vs. desired speed range, speed control. Choice of batteries.

Software Design
What computer algorithms and language will be used, locating the robots position, detecting other robots, avoiding obstacles and other robots, identifying a stuck robot, recovering from same, evading another robot. What happens if lost? Reuse of existing routines. How much of the above does IC directly support? If IC is not used, report on the software you will use.

Each team-member will be expected to talk 5 to 10 minutes with good quality drawings or sketches.

Nov. 25, 2000

Demo of basic control and movement; code review.

This milestone is discussed in detail here. -- click for detail!

The demo includes schematics, code and a demo of:

With an umbilical cord, the robot must move forward, back, spin in place, and be able to move in an arc. I'll want to see one chassis, motors, gears, batteries, handyboard and rx/tx boards assembled. Bonus: sensor feedback.

Including: tag detectors, beacon detectors, bump detectors, IR navigation sensors, shaft encoders and anything else you defined in the design review. Bonus: other processors, TRUE hardware interrupts, sensor feedback, etc.

Beacon must project 12'+ in 360-degrees, adhering to the specifications outlined in the rules and regulations. The beacon must emit the prey tone (200Hz) and an assigned predator tone. Bonus: switching between the two tones via software.

Must have one device that adheres to the tagger specifications. Your turret, if defined as being able to move independently from the main body, must be demonstrated moving. Timing for the tagger must be demo'd. Bonus: tracking a beacon, hitting a beacon.

Detail the changes you've made for your game-plan, including timeline changes (show me a Gantt chart!), budget changes, etc.

Dec. 4, 2000 Individual written progress report due.

A written progress report, with emphasis on your contributions to the project. This must be completed by Monday and should be linked from your standard team URL.

More info is available
here -- click for detail!
Jan. 2001 Rehersals for Oral Presentation.

While there is no mark associated with rehersals, your grade will dramatically improve with practice. You should schedule a dry-run time with your supervisor.

More information about preparing a successful oral presentation is available here -- click for detail!
Jan. 22-26, 2001 Oral Presentation before faculty audience.

We will try to arrange for teams to report together. More information about preparing a successful oral presentation is available
here -- click for detail!
Feb. 10, 2001 Formal public demo and mini-competition.

Both robots should be able to navigate the maze and attempt to tag each other. It is acceptable to set the robots' state before each game starts (predator/prey).

Bonus: ability to have a running game.
Bonus: ability to play all the games required.
Feb. 16, 2001 A technical chapter for your final report is due.

Describe some technical aspect that you did in detail. Also supply an annotated table of contents for your final report. (1-2 sentences for each major section)
Mar. 2, 2001 Draft report on final chapters to supervisor.

There are no direct marks here. Your advisor will let you correct questionable parts so you can get full marks later.
Mar. 24, 2001 The in-house competition.

Location TBA, this private competition will give the teams a chance to present their robots to the other groups, and to play without the pressure of competition.

Robots should be fully operational at this point. A 2.5% bonus will be available to all groups with a fully-working robot.
Mar. 31, 2001 The Final Competition!

Location TBA, to be held in conjunction with other participating schools. Will be open to the public, and I would expect a news crew to show up. Competition to determine the winners.
Apr. 6, 2001 Final report due.

Journals collected. No extensions will be available.

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