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jpieper
03-31-2015, 06:25 AM
Hi all,

We're holding a Mech Warfare expo in Boston on May 30, 2015!

We have a location that while not ideal, is super easy to set up (an enclosed office with one entire side being a viewing window), plenty of parking, and plenty of space and tools for getting things ready.

Schedule:

Friday May 29
5pm - tour of Jaybridge and equipment set up (optional)
Saturday May 30
10am - doors open
noon - lunch followed by matches
6pm - tear down up followed by dinner

Location:

Jaybridge Robotics
62 Whittemore Ave, Cambridge, MA
I'll send a map and phone number to anyone who RSVPs

Panels:

Bring scoring systems if you have them. We don't have any active panels, but can fabricate some paper targets if there aren't enough active panels to go around.

(Updated on 2015-04-19 with actual event date and details)

byi
03-31-2015, 10:21 AM
Not certain I could make it, but I would definitely be interested. Dates other than May 9 and June 27 sound feasible. I have my own functional scoring system.

jwatte
03-31-2015, 11:35 AM
I really hope I can make it! (There's also the SparkFun AVC in the June time-frame...)
Btw, you may want to list your event on the registration system I built. It allows teams/bots to register for events.
http://mwreg.watte.net/

Ping me to get an event listed.

jpieper
04-01-2015, 05:11 PM
Awesome, thanks for the interest all!

byi: It seems like you'd have the easiest time coming. Which of your possible dates would be best for you?

jwatte
04-02-2015, 12:00 AM
Later is better for me. Other than that, I think none of those dates are particularly booked already :-)

byi
04-02-2015, 12:01 AM
byi: It seems like you'd have the easiest time coming. Which of your possible dates would be best for you?
I can't say for certain right now what would be easiest, but dates other than May 9 and June 27 are probably doable. I need to consult with the rest of the team.

jwatte
04-14-2015, 09:08 PM
Are we doing this thing or what? I need to buy tickets and stuff :-)

jpieper
04-15-2015, 06:26 AM
I got distracted by RoboGames, then a week of vacation, then some kind of crazy flu, and I was waiting to see if byi's team consultation came back with anything.

But... enough excuses!

How about we try June 6th! We'll be here, so no matter who comes, there will be mech fighting to be had.

Is it proper forum etiquette to just edit my first post to include the full details?

byi
04-15-2015, 09:16 AM
I was waiting to see if byi's team consultation came back with anything.

How about we try June 6th!
Ah, crud. My bad; forgot to reply. I won't be able to do June 6. Have fun, guys.

jpieper
04-15-2015, 12:01 PM
Ok, well, would May 30 work for you?

jwatte
04-15-2015, 12:11 PM
I can do May 30.

Editing the top post with fresh information seems legit to me, assuming you insert a little "update [date]: edited with fresh information" note so later readers don't get confused by the old comments.

TXBDan
04-15-2015, 09:39 PM
Awesome, i don't have a mech in shape (i have a MKII hex, no video, no guns, etc), but I'll very likely come out and watch and meet you guys.

jpieper
04-16-2015, 04:16 PM
byi, any thoughts on May 30? I only proposed the first date because no one had ruled it out.

jpieper
04-19-2015, 06:23 PM
Alright. I guess let's stick with May 30, despite byi's lack of response. He hadn't ruled out that weekend yet, so I suppose there is still a chance it could work out!

jwatte
04-19-2015, 08:09 PM
For inspiration, I just took a glory picture of Onyx 7.

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=5473&c=3

jpieper
04-26-2015, 07:57 PM
Nice!

I updated the first post with the location and a rough schedule! I look forward to meeting those who can come! If you're planning on coming, contact me directly at [email protected] or PM and I can give you a more detailed map and a contact phone number.

byi
04-27-2015, 02:46 AM
Alright. I guess let's stick with May 30, despite byi's lack of response. He hadn't ruled out that weekend yet, so I suppose there is still a chance it could work out!
Oof. My bad. Got sucked back into school and never replied. i personally probably cannot make May 30, but other members of the Columbia team can hopefully come. Have fun.

jwatte
04-27-2015, 11:21 AM
Better not move it; my tickets and room are non-refundable! :-) May 30 or bust.

byi
04-27-2015, 03:23 PM
Better not move it; my tickets and room are non-refundable! :-) May 30 or bust.
Indeed. Again, sorry for the delay.

jpieper
04-27-2015, 05:13 PM
Oof. My bad. Got sucked back into school and never replied. i personally probably cannot make May 30, but other members of the Columbia team can hopefully come. Have fun.

Sorry you won't be able to make it... If any of the Columbia team is planning on coming, just point them to me!

jpieper
05-06-2015, 05:49 AM
For what it is worth, we have a prototype piezo scoring panel with a mechanical design based on RTeam's seemingly working well in the lab, and parts ordered to make a couple of sets arriving in time for the May 30 event.

giantflaw
05-08-2015, 11:13 AM
jpieper, I am getting a dozen pwbs in tomorrow of the target plate circuit. I can build one up tomorrow and mail a completed target plate assembly to you early next week so you have a working example. Would you like that? Also artans made an RTEAM variant version of the 2013 transponder card that allows Arduino programming and also a much smaller quad LED pwb that does the same thing as the 2013 LED board but is much smaller and easier to mount. Do you have a transponder card? Would you like one of those too? One secret to the piezo target plates is the surgical tubing. Many materials and different orientations were tested. It turned out that a perpendicular vibration dampner worked much better than a parallel vibration damper to isolate the robot body from the target plate assy and thats why we use the surgical tubing. If your interested I'll need your address.

jpieper
05-08-2015, 11:52 PM
Thanks for the offer! I may still take you up on it, but hopefully we're in good shape.

We have a panel circuit which seems to be working well that I've got a bunch of arriving next week too. I didn't have a transponder card, but had some of artans' RTEAM variant printed coming next week that I'll be putting together.

For our panel, we had pretty good success with stiffer tubing than surgical tubing (I have some of that too, but it ended up not being necessary). We're using an 8-pin AVR to sample a piezo that is hard mated to the plastic panel with glue, so it can do a little bit more filtering maybe? In any event, no amount of walking or hitting the robot could trigger a hit, but BBs triggered it every time in our tests so far.

A side note, I had a horrible time getting screws to go through the latex surgical tubing I do have. They just caught up in the tubing, twisting it all up but not actually getting through. I also didn't have any success trying to drill holes in the latex tubing with a hand drill, same basic problem. Did you have any secrets, or were you using surgical tubing of a different material?

GhengisDhon
05-09-2015, 08:07 AM
A side note, I had a horrible time getting screws to go through the latex surgical tubing I do have. They just caught up in the tubing, twisting it all up but not actually getting through. I also didn't have any success trying to drill holes in the latex tubing with a hand drill, same basic problem. Did you have any secrets, or were you using surgical tubing of a different material?

Ya... that is difficult step in the assembly process and leaves something to be desired. What we ended up doing was poking a hole through the tubing with an exacto, threading a small bolt through from the inside, then attaching the plates to the tubing that way.

I've been trying to think of a better way. My plan is to take some thick thread and a needle and to see if I can essentially sew the plates onto the tubing. If I get some time this weekend, I'll give it a try.

If you do come up with a better method, do let us know.

jwatte
05-09-2015, 12:05 PM
I had a horrible time getting screws to go through the latex surgical tubing I do have. They just caught up in the tubing, twisting it all up but not actually getting through. I also didn't have any success trying to drill holes in the latex tubing with a hand drill, same basic problem.

When I've used similar materials in the past, I've had success with a leather hole punch (like you'd use to take in a belt or whatnot.) Make the hole undersize, and it will mate just fine to whatever screw/bolt you're using.

I imagine a laser drill would work, too, if you absolutely HAVE to go high tech :-)

jpieper
05-14-2015, 10:22 PM
Just a status update:

We're getting all set to host here in Boston for the 30th (only two weeks away!). jwatte is confirmed coming with a mech, and some of byi's team are still a maybe. TXBDan said he's interested in coming up to watch. There are a number of fellow colleagues at Jaybridge who are likely to come and spectate too.

Once again, if you are coming, contact me at [email protected] or PM and I can give you more detailed directions / lodging info.

All the materials for our mech's scoring panels and transponders have arrived, hopefully we'll get them all tested out early next week!

jpieper
05-25-2015, 03:31 PM
Another status update... We have a xbee base station and a set of working panels and a transponder. The arena is provisionally set up (we may add some final details and styling in the upcoming week).

There's no real cutoff to let me know you're coming, although sooner will help make sure I have enough tables and resources on hand.

59545955
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61zydodTBi8

jwatte
05-25-2015, 06:30 PM
I find it's really hard to get good near-field awareness. Bumping into things when only driving by camera seems to be more common than not. I've been looking at 170 degree cameras, but the 90 degrees or so I get from default cameras is needed to get any kind of precision when aiming across the arena.
Maybe two cameras, and some kind of switch?

ArduTank
05-26-2015, 06:07 AM
Maybe try a PS3 Eye?? It has two different FOV that is selectable by a ring around the lens body. The ring is big enough to attach actuation to it. It is stock a 56-75 degree lens, but add a moderate fish eye, and you have zoom capability. They run at 640x480 at 60FPS too.

tician
05-26-2015, 04:35 PM
IIRC, you can have multiple cameras, and even one with an adjustable zoom placed on each gun as a targeting scope, as long as 1) the cameras do not interfere with others, 2) use only a single IP address / wifi connection per bot (not sure about new 5.8GHz FPV tx/rx; might be limited to only one active channel per bot), and 3) do not permit the robot to shoot around corners without completely exposing at least one of its own half-size target panels to counterattack by the targeted bot (no gimmicks).

A MW bot with two or more cameras has been on my mind for a while: one upward looking camera + kogeto for awareness/'radar' and navigation, and a second camera in a 'scope' housing with zoom/restricted field of view (generally useless for navigation and rough targeting). I quite want to try to implement an auto-aim system where you get roughly on target/fiducial with the wide view camera, and then the zoom/scope takes over 'fine motor control' of hand/turret to keep it on target within a small motion range around the current 'coarse motor control' position of the arm/turret.

ArduTank
05-26-2015, 07:31 PM
If you have access to enough ultrasonic rangefinders, you could try putting them in key areas on the 'bot, and adding a HUD to your camera/battlestation view on the receiving PC.

jwatte
05-26-2015, 09:00 PM
I'm somewhat interested in auto-aim myself. I've got one of these on order: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/botthoughts/openmv-cam-embedded-machine-vision
Tape a bright pink post-it to the target panels of the enemy, and good things might happen :-)

PS3 Eye: Requires USB; I removed the NUC-size PC from the bot over a year ago for weight reasons.
Ultrasonics: Considered it. Also considered Sharp IR range finders. Unclear how well they'll work in practice. Also, mechs are quite weight sensitive...

ArduTank
05-27-2015, 06:00 AM
Huh. Thought you were using an RPi on Onyx at one point.

That board looks awesome. Is anybody else thinking what I'm thinking?? Auto-aim turrets on the back corners of a mech??

TXBDan
05-27-2015, 08:21 AM
jpieper, my wife and I will stop by around noon on Saturday to check things out. We live in Davis, so its an easy walk over.

Looking forward to see this go down and meeting you guys!

jpieper
05-31-2015, 04:38 PM
The expo is now all over, everyone has gone home, and we had a great time!

5970
5971
5972
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More pictures at http://joshp.no-ip.com:8080/blog/robots/20150531-boston-mech-warfare-expo-2015.html

We have gobs of video, and will link it here once I manage to crop out interesting sections of it.

jwatte
06-01-2015, 10:56 AM
This was a lot of fun, I learned a lot, and left a lot of screws on the arena floor :-)
I'm working on a separate learnings-thread for all the take-aways I got.

TXBDan
06-02-2015, 07:33 PM
Awesome, looks like fun. Sorry I didn't make it out. We're in the process of buying a house and some stuff came up during the inspection we had to deal with.

Josh, do you plan to have these regularly? If so i'll definitely get a quad body plate set and get something together for next time.

jpieper
06-02-2015, 08:11 PM
Josh, do you plan to have these regularly? If so i'll definitely get a quad body plate set and get something together for next time.

If people are interested in coming, I can certainly host semi regularly, although probably every 2 or 3 months would be about as frequent as I could manage. As Jon can attest, our venue is pretty easy to set up, yet still seems to work really well. It would be awesome if there was more than one mech close by so that we could try and keep up with RTeam!

giantflaw
06-08-2015, 10:33 PM
We practice once a month in whoevers garage is clean and try to post video of our practices. We don't have as good of buildings as you have. We'll have to work on that. To bad we are not all closer. Looking forward to seeing videos.