Firstly, take a look at the pdfs of the CAD files at the bottom for an overall idea We are still working on CADding.
We call it "The Refrigerator." We have been bouncing around ideas for a few days now, and this design seems to be sticking. We have made some modifications, but we are always open to more ideas! Please, let us know if you have a good idea that you think the design can benefit from! Also, don't be afraid to criticize (constructively of course). That is probably the most important aspect of our design process.
We call it "The Refrigerator." We are still working on the CAD, but the basis of this design is that it can pick up the gray totes from directly off the floor and the feeder station (which we have already built). It can also pick up recycling bins. As of now, we plan to insert the noodles from the feeder station directly into the bin. We will see if the rules change.
The robot will pick up the totes width-wise (for balance) and store them on racks as we obtain the totes on the game field. We are especially adept for picking up quickly at the human feeder stations. We can then release quickly by pushing the totes off of the racks in a "cascade," basically one at a time due to the different lengths of the arms on each level of the pushing mechanism (see pdf for pushing mechanism).
Our strategy will be based on versatility. Although we are most keen at the feeder stations, we have the ability to pick up from the "landfill" in the center of the field (a labyrinth of tessellated totes and recycling bins). This is accomplished by using a forklift mechanism to lift a tote and drive backward a few feet, such that the tote is isolated and ready to be manipulated by the wheel-driven arms. Once the arms get a grip on the sides of the tote, the whole arm mechanism (to which the forklifts are attached) will rise up to the desired level and the tote will be spun into the robot with the help of the wheels. For the recycle bins, the same process will occur except that the bin will not be stored and will instead be placed on top of an existing pile of totes. The recycling bin is our main goal, as it acts as a multiplier of sorts when calculating the score of the totes.
The positive aspects of this approach are that it can take totes from anywhere on the field, it is pretty quick, and requires little movement. It is solid in the autonomous phase, which is the first 15 seconds where the robot must move autonomously. A lot of the processes, such as unloading, can be pre-programmed such that with the touch of a button, the driver may unload a stack of up to six totes. This is extremely advantageous since the controls of the robot are so complex to begin with.
Take a look at the pdfs of the CAD files. Please let us know if you have any ideas to improve this so we can discuss and prototype them as a team. The design freeze is Saturday, so we hope to have the vast majority of our design solidified by then.