2010 06 17

002.A good job!

2010 05 28

001.Presentation


BARCELONA MOON LEGO INTREPIDS PRESENTATION

We are a team from Barcelona, we are between 11 and 16 years old and we like technology, space exploration and LEGO! That’s why we got involved in this challenge, this game and this mission. We’re really excited to participate in it!

Some days ago we had a change in our Roster, Marta couldn’t continue and she was replaced. It’s a pity.

We have an awesome Captain. He is Electrical Engineer and he teaches at the master of Industrial Automation and Robotics at the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC). He is also member of the Computer Integrated Manufactory (CIM Foundation – www.fundaciocim.org).

In the first meeting with him, he exposed the challenge, and asked us why we thought we should go to the Moon and what we would find there. He also explained us about the Google Lunar XPrize and the fact that there was a team from Barcelona there. We decided to take the Barcelona Moon Lego Intrepids name then! We also decided that due to our not-that-good English we would do a dubbed video essay showing the reasons we thought and others we learned talking in that meeting: because humans always want to explore, to discover new materials, to train and be able to go to Mars…

After we started to think about the tasks of the challenge and we analyzed how to pass the obstacles and requirements set by the rules.

First obstacle was how could we go into the crater or go through the central ridge. We thought about different options:

  1. We thought about using a 4×4 vehicle we had already built in Lego. He was doing it very well but it was too big and it would be difficult to adapt to it the object detection and pick up system… We also thought that we were LEGO Intrepids and that was not creative enough. (see image 1A).
  2. Then we studied which would be the properties of the locomotive system: it had to be always in contact with the ground, it had to adapt to the different levels of the ridge keeping the contact…. With this and some mechanics, articulations and articulated quadrilaterals, we designed different sets of locomotive systems that could comply with it. (see image 1Ba). However, we discovered that with so many wheels and articulations it was difficult to transmit traction to some of the wheels (see image 1Bb).
  3. Finally we could go ahead to simplify everything. We couldn’t miss the final goal: pass through. So we needed both traction and height. We started to think how we could comply with both criteria: engine to wheel (traction) and big wheels (height). After many essays we got a three wheels vehicle, two independently driving wheels at the front and one passive on the back. This structure would also allow easier changes of direction and add the necessary devices to comply with the challenge tasks (see image 1C).

The second challenge was how to detect the elements on the ground (water ice and helium 3):

  1. A first option was to use the sensors included in the Mindstorm NEXT to detect distances: the ultrasound sensors. We were doing tests trying to detect objects we made quite similar to the Water Ice and Helium 3 objects we saw in the images of the challenge. Results were not very good because detection was not very precise, because it was necessary to focus very much on the object to detect it (see image 2A).
  2. We then thought about using the WebCam, as we had to see the objects. There were however other problems: how to identify the elements, detect the distances… but in a way, that device was also useful to capture the mission video, and the task of taking pictures of the Heritage (see image 2B).

Well! We’ve been working with these issues so far. It is still needed to test it but we believe that we can manage to do a good MOONBOT!!!

See you in the Moon!!! (well, the LEGO Lunar Surface!!)

Barcelona Moon Lego Intrepids

May 28th, 2010

2010 05 18

Welcome!