Hardware Strategy

-= Maximizing Funtional Range =-

From a purely mechanical standpoint, there were some important issues to be considered. Primarily the robot should allow a resonably large number of response speeds as well as a robust and modifiable body. These primary concerns translate into a low weight, highly efficient locomotion and a modular structure. The focus on robustness of design and modularity is purely pragmatic and there are many variables which work against each other in such a design. However, the concern with the range and granularity of the response speed is very important because a greater range of outputs provides a greater range of inputs. More specfically, a larger number response speeds will ultimately allow a larger number of ball speeds to be handled. A related argument can be made for the detection of the ball speed, a greater range and granularity of speeds will translate into an increased ability to provide different response speeds. So it was part of the team's strategy to use the mechancics of the system in a way that would maximize the range of these two characteristics.

The major inputs for RoboPele would be from sensors installed in the ramp trough. The sensors would be triggered by the movement of the ball during its trip down the ramp. The RCX would respond to these inputs and depending on the time it took for each successive sensor to be trigger the cart would begin movement at different times and accelerate to different final speeds. The sensors should be spaced as far apart as possible in the trough to allow for a maximum granulairty of speed measurement.