For our Principles of Engineering course, a sophomore level introduction to mechatronics course, our team decided to develop a robotics platform for the Olin Fire Fighting Robotics competition team. The competition consisted of having a robot find and extinguish a candle in a maze as quickly as possible.
Identify the Need
The Olin Fire Fighting Robotics Team had previously competed in the competition with the robot shown on the right. Upon entering the competition, they realized that their robot was too large and heavy and thus was not agile enough to quickly navigate the playing field. Our team analyzed the existing robot to identify its strengths and weaknesses in order to develop our primary design goals of speed, compactness, and flexibility.
Foam mockups of the individual components allowed us to prototype the layout and basic structure of the design in a low-fidelity manner. With a rough understanding of our desired positioning of components, we created CAD models of the individual components as well as the overall system. Keeping in mind the manufacturing techniques available to us, we developed a simple and compact platform which was built and integrated with the electronics system.