My name is David Bos, I am an electronics-ict student at PXL Diepenbeek and an intern at Appsaloon. Friday May 2nd, I attended the Zumo Robot War Hackathon. This was organised in Antwerp by Appsaloon in cooperation with HelloBank. At arrival we all received our Zumo Robot with an Arduino Leonardo.
The Zumo Robot consists of the Pololu Zumo Shield , a Zumo chassis kit, and a push blade. You need an Arduino board to be put on the Zumo. It also has an accelerometer and a magnetometer, which let you do some rough navigation. Also the robot was equipped with the Zumo Reflectance Sensor Array, to be used for edge detection or line following.
There were 5 challenges which had to be completed before being allowed to enter the Grand Finale. At the end of each challenge, the team that had the best performing robot won additional sensors.
The first challenge was to draw the Arduino logo with the Robot. Martin and I who formed team Appsaloon choose to time each curve, we thought this method would be faster to develop, instead of using the compass program like the other teams.
The second challenge was to find an IR-beacon. This proved to be very challenging because the IR signal was reflected on the ground, which caused the IR receiver to be triggered every time. The solution was to narrow the IR receiver's “vision”. Our robot was very accurate even at high speeds, we earned an IR distance sensor for our achievement.
The third challenge was the line follower. The goal of this challenge was to follow the line as fast as possible. We tweaked a standard program and got the fasted time. Unfortunately we were too late to officially participate. But we were on time for the breakfast which was very good.
To mentally prepare for the fourth challenge we played some ping pong. It restored our little grey cells.
The fourth challenge was to navigate from point A to point B. While we were thinking how we would tackle this problem, a wild remote control appeared. So we tamed the remote control and used it to control the Zumo Robot.
The fifth challenge was to clear the battle field from all the objects. Again some ping pong and back to the laptop.Now we were already thinking of the RoboBattle so we put some deadly pins on our robot, which proved to be very useful for clearing the battlefield.
Now the final moment has come: the Battle Royal, we were the first team to battle against the worst possible opponent for us. I say the worst because they had equipped their robot with a switch with a long handle and broaden it out at the front. You see our pins at the front were now useless because they could not reach the opponent. Obviously, we lost.
In the end, we had lots of fun in coming up with strategies and algorithms to succeed in our quest.
By David Bos