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Admiral Trackbar is an autonomous robot that navigates using 3D printed treads, avoids detection by detecting infrared signals, and rescues Ewoks through servo powered arms. It was build by a team of four (Chuan Du, Forbes Choy, Vladimir Novakovic, and myself) as part of the ENPH 253 Introduction to Instrument Design.

As a team, we scored first place on competition day! Check out our final competition round:

Chassis

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One of the first pieces of the robot that was designed was the chassis. We went with a tank-style tread design since it could easily cross the first gap, as well as the second gap on the track. The treads themselves were 3D printed out of flexible TPU, for which I did the CAD design using Onshape and AutoDesk Fusion 360. I also helped create the design and create the aluminum axles using a combination of lathe and manual mill, as well as laser-cut wheels, motor mount, and gear reduction mechanisms.

Electronics

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Two of my main responsibilities was to design the IR sensor arrays that were used to position our robot, and to design the main motherboard (we would add a second board later to expand our IO). The main board featured a 5V regulator, an STM32 development board, and a collection of JST-style connectors that would connect the main board to other peripherals. This main board was made on a perfboard, so we could iterate and change the design as necessary.

Software

Lastly, one of my other contributions to the project was to help write code that would allow the robot to complete the course. The code was written using C++ using the Arduino framework in the PlatformIO IDE. It was mostly a collection of classes, algorithms, and loops that enable us to complete small parts of the track, and by running these small parts together we were able to complete the larger objective.

Working as a team

As with most engineering projects, having good communication and teamwork abilities increases your chances of success. I would say that this project helped me develop my abilities, which includes my leadership and followership skills.

Potential Background

Happy rescued ewoks!