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Robot System Challenge

The challenge is quite simple: create four robots that interoperate to transfer balls across the table. As student groups discover, however, this challenge is complex enough that groups face many of the same difficulties found in far larger systems.

Each of the four groups has one LEGO® Mindstorms set with which to create an operating robot. During the class, the groups follow a systems engineering model to define requirements, design a solution, implement the solution, and then verify/validate. The challenge is limited in both time and resources. Classes are challenged to optimize delivery reliability, delivery time, robot size, and "cost" of parts used.

The track is over two meters long from "storage location" to "use location." Each participant is presented with an overall system-of-systems design, complete with specifications and interface drawings, that identifies the four robot systems needed.

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Storage System – holds three balls at a time within the storage location; actively delivers one ball at a time upon demand of the Cart System.


Cart System – transports one ball at a time from the Storage System to the Lift System; passively receives ball from the Storage System; passively presents ball to the Lift System for pickup.


Lift System – lifts one ball at a time from the Cart System to the Delivery System; actively picks up ball from the Cart System upon presentation; actively delivers ball to the Delivery System when lifted.


Delivery System – passively receives one ball from the Lift System at any time; deposits the ball into the use location.


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Page last modified 16 Feb 04