This challenge was modeled after one I found on TechClubs.org.
Build an autonomous robot that will pop all of the balloons with pushpins/skewers while staying inside a given area.
Figure 1 Balloon Challenge Starting Position
- The robot must pass an inspection before the race starts to ensure no construction rules have been violated. The robot team will have a chance to make modifications before the race starts.
- The robot is placed in the center of the challenge area facing a pre-determined direction.
- When commanded, the robot driver will press the green “run” button and the clock will start.
- The robot must pop all of the balloons while staying in the challenge area.
- If a robot pushes a balloon off its base, then the balloon is reset by the driver as fast as they can.
- Each robot’s run is timed from the time the run button is hit to the time last balloon is popped.
- The robot must be based on the Standard mBot robot.
- The robot must be less than 10×10 inches wide including any extensions.
- The robot is allowed up to 5 pushpins for popping balloons. These pins may be attached to the robot by any means as long as the robot doesn’t violate the height and width restrictions.
- The robot must be programmed using mBlock code programming.
- Once started, the robot must be completely autonomous.
- When a major infraction occurs, the robot must be restarted from the beginning of the track without stopping the clock.
- Once the robot is moving, there can be no human intervention until the robot completes the task.
- Losing pieces while the robot is running.
- Leaving the challenge area.
Determining the winner
- The robot with the shortest time is declared the winner.
- In case of a tie, the tied contestants are allowed a run-off. The racer with the shortest run-off time is declared the winner regardless of their initial time.
- A large table or flat ground with consistent coloring.
- White or black tape, whichever has more contrast against the playing surface.
- Round balloons, up to 5” in diameter.
- Packing tape, or other strong tape to attach the balloons to the playing surface.
- Push pins and tape or rubber bands to attach the pushpins.
- Layout a closed area using white or black tape.
- In this area, place 3 or 4 balloons for the robot to pop.
- The balloons should be placed consistently between runs so that every robot competes on the same layout.
Figure 2 About to pop a balloon
- There are many ways to solve this problem. Experiment to find the best solution.
- Attaching your pins to extensions can be tricky. If you use extensions, make sure they are placed tight on the robot.
- Sometimes you can get lucky by using a little random behavior in your robot’s program.