Happier Earth Today!

Happy Earth Day!

Although our hands were numb, there was trash in our hair, and Tony was swimming in the river, we convinced Lizzie she didn’t want to grow up and be homeless. This was all a conclusion of todays experience of cleaning up trash around the community. We found a defibrillator, multiple wet shirts, some interesting homeless signs, too many broken beer bottles, a knitted blanket, an oil filter, a mattress, a stove top, an insulin needle, and a poop-smelling tire. Oh, also a broken shopping cart.

It was all for the goodness of our society! JK, we are getting donations.

Here is the evidence if you didn’t believe me.



Aside from our Earth day adventures, we actually did some robotics things today.

Mr. Bill is being Sacrificed to the Rock Gods in order for the rocks to get back home in their box.


We put block ramps on the top where the rocks are being put in. Also fans to keep the insides cool!stickersWe are getting stickers like a famous NASCAR Robot. Is that a thing? Yes.

Mr. Bill takes a tumble today as Lane moves the rock pile to get the bottom rock.






And Over the Ramps We Go!

Today we got over the ramp. The ramp had a 33% grade which equals about 18 degrees of slope. The rover, to accomplish the task, needed the wheels to be put on maximum power. This achievement is a signal of us being one step closer to being able to test the rover at Johnson Space Center.

But even with the recent successes, there has been some “bugs” that have surfaced. The mission control software is not behaving. It randomly crashes and the rover movement commands have large lag time to be executed.

The rover is getting its wheels upgraded with new grips NASCAR style below.


Here’s a video of Mr. Bill getting picked.


The Ramp of Confusion

20170415_133626.jpgToday was a testing day. One of the most notable testing experiences of the day was testing if CLOEE could climb a steep incline. The building team built us a ramp that was 30 degrees to test her ability to climb hills. At first the team thought CLOEE was having issues climbing up the incline.  The first test she almost flipped over.

We continued to test CLOEE on the ramp and then moved onto nearby hills. She was able to climb small hills at about 15 degrees, but the fact still remained that she could not climb the ramp. Luckily, Ms.C came to our rescue. After running errands out of town for most of the day, she returned to our apparent  failure and checked our facts. She quickly realized that we did not have to climb a 30 degree incline but an incline with a 33% grade, which is closer to a 18.26 degree incline.


In addition, we tested outside in the sand pit and in the rock yard. CLOEE did very well in the sandpit, despite having problems with communications, cameras,  and general latency. These problems caused some long moments of pause that could negatively affect our time during the competition. At the beginning of class, CLOEE had problems with her Qotom minicomputer. These problem was quickly resolved and CLOEE was sent back to testing.

The team has also been developing an arm run by potentiometers to provide an easier alternative to controlling the arm. The prototype for this is near completion and looking promising.


A Big “Thank You” to Our Sponsors!

This morning, at 7:30 a.m. we held a meeting to thank our sponsors, and we had an opportunity to show them the robot they’ve helped us build. Those who have donated have been a great assistance to the team.

As the day progressed, we began to plan out our trip to Houston. This included dates, times, hotels, and food.

In our Mars Yard Readiness Review (or M.Y.R.R.), we made a few updates to the information about the hand, the functional block diagram, and the programming.

We also made sure to get more practice in operating the robot. We had a chance to test out a few changes in the mission control software that would improve operating efficiency. However, C.L.O.E.E. had a bit of a “stroke.” Her board overheated, and that caused the entire left side of wheels to stop moving, so we had to solder some connections back together to get her working again. Here’s a picture of the board.Burned.png

After we got that fixed, the testing continued successfully.

C.L.O.E.E. even had to run speed tests. We determined her speed to be about 1 foot/sec.

Additionally, we completed a rough build of the “mock arm”, a scaled replica of the C.L.O.E.E.’s real arm. The plan is for the real arm to mimic the movements of the mock arm, which will be controlled by the team member’s hands.

Critical design review


We had our penultimate meeting with Rebecca, Bryan, and  Jessie.  We were given suggestions on how to transport our robot to Houston and how to make sure we have a functioning robot there. In addition, we got a couple of  electronics and CDR suggestions. After this meeting, we used these suggestions to update the CDR (previously PDR).

We have the final draft for our T-shirt design. We had many differences of opinion in the process of the word jumble over the font, font size, font color, background color, and just about anything else possible to argue about was argued about. After all of these differences, we came up with our final design.


A fifth camera was mounted to the underside of the robot. The new camera gives us depth perception. This has made picking up objects with our arm a great deal easier. The view from the new camera is the window on the left.

In addition to the new camera, the building team also added two springs to our robot and a chute. The springs were added underneath both sides of the robot to help keep it from tilting backwards with the rocker bogie system. This will help us stay steady during the competition. The chute was added to help rocks and other objects that we pick up go into our collection box.

On to hand design number 5! Our fifth hand design has more rounded corners and has pointed teeth all the way around to provide us with more grip.



Four Cameras!!!

All four existing cameras are up and running. We tested them by running CLOEE remotely outside from inside the building. The drivers confirmed that it was possible to navigate through the cameras.

This testing was also conducted to test CLOEE’s ability to run all functions and drive remotely. Besides having a little bit of trouble with a loose servo screw, CLOEE did very well in her test run.

We started the day by practice-presenting the PDR (preliminary design review) PowerPoint, to make sure everybody knew what they were saying. We all survived.

CLOEE enjoyed the model life today. She was out of commission today for and hour and a half because she had to have glamour shots taken by our local photographer Moose (Matt Young).

Caleb and Alyssa updated the hand design…..again.


Building Frenzy

Today we built a lot of things. The building team re-attached the arm to the rover. The programming team is currently re-establishing communication with the arm so it can function properly.The wiring has also gotten organized. The wires were sorted so they are easily distinguishable. The switches were also re-soldered and put onto the rover. Now the two main components, circuitry & computer, and servos can be controlled by two separate switches.

In the news of the mock arm, the arm is being built and the potentiometers are being ordered.