Robomagellan 2012 Build Diary - Day 1

It's amazing how quickly time flies.  It seems like Chibots RoboMagellan 2011 was just 6 months ago.  In fact, it has been almost a year.  If you are not familiar with the Chibots anual RoboMagellan competition, check out the Chibots website:

I could not attend RoboMagellan 2011 but SGarcia wrote a graphic summary of the event, check it out:

If you have never attended a RoboMagellan event, check out this video of Rick Brooks 2010 winning run:

Rick Brooks 2010 winning run

Now that the history lesson is over, lets start thinking about the design.  With only a little over a month to finish the robot I decided to be ultra-conservative with the design.  A conservative design is a design that has already been done "Good artists copy, great artists steal", Picasso & Steve Jobs.


With that in mind, lets look at past robots:


Summary of robot hardware from the above link



Foxconn Mini-ITX motherboard with dual-core Intel Atom and 2 GB RAM

Gumstix Verdex Pro xm4 Computer On Module (linux kernel 2.6.21) with an Intel PWX270 processor

Parallax Propeller controller

PC – Giada Book PC


Obstacle avoidance:

Maxbotix ultrasonic rangefinders (4)

Parallax ping ultrasonic rangefinders

MaxBotix XL-EZ1 ultrasonic rangefinder (5)

Sonar – MaxSonar-EZ1 (2)



OceanServer OS5000-S compass and Locosys LS20031 GPS unit

ublox LEA-4H GPS module

Acroname Electronic Compass R117

Honeywell HMC6352 compass

u-Blox 5 based GS407 GPS unit

GPS – Pharos iGPS-500


Cone Finding:

Webcam - RoboRealm

Ultrasonics only - Rick Brooks

Robo_rabbit uses a webcam but does not mention CV code



Traxxas RC truck

Traxxas Stamped RC truck

Traxxas E-Maxx 16.8V monster R/C truck chassis

Custom Tank



After reviewing the above information and reading Rick Brooks very interesting website:


I decided to use a netbook running Windows XP, 5 LV-EZ0 ultrasonic range finders,  and a USB GPS receiver / compass from my own SeeBot1.  Of-course, I will use a web camera with OpenCV for the cone detection and tracking.  Obviously, a RC truck is a good choice for a chassis.  Rick Brooks website does a good job of explaining some of the issues with using a RC truck as a robot platform.  In addition to the issues Rick brings up, I am using a netbook as my CPU.  This would be too big for most regular hobby RC truck chassis.


Fortunately for me,  I won the sponsorship of Minds-i last year.  I have access to a fully configurable RC truck system.  All the benefits of an off the shelf RC truck, plus the benefit of almost complete customability (I know its not a word, but it's in the urban dictionary).



You can think of the Minds-i system as Lego on steroids, or legos for auto mechanics.  If you click on the picture above it will take you to the gallery on the Minds-i website.  There are some very cool robots built with the Minds-i kit on that site.  Check it out:


I have a lot of ideas on how I plan on customizing the chassis using the Minds-i kit. The 6 wheel configuration looks very promising.  It would have more than enough suspension to handle the additional weight.  This is my project for next week, designing and assembling the chassis.



Views: 1370

Comment by eric gregori on June 25, 2012 at 10:46am

Comment by eric gregori on June 25, 2012 at 11:47am

Comment by eric gregori on June 25, 2012 at 11:47am

Comment by eric gregori on June 25, 2012 at 11:47am

Comment by eric gregori on June 25, 2012 at 11:48am

Comment by eric gregori on June 25, 2012 at 11:48am

Comment by eric gregori on June 25, 2012 at 11:48am

Comment by eric gregori on June 25, 2012 at 4:14pm
Comment by eric gregori on June 25, 2012 at 4:22pm


Pin 4. The PWM signal is a pulse width modulated signal with the positive width of the pulse representing the angle. The pulse width varies from 1mS (0° ) to 36.99mS (359.9° ) – in other words 100uS/° with a +1mS offset. The signal goes low for 65mS between pulses, so the cycle time is 65mS + the pulse width - ie. 66ms-102ms. The pulse is generated by a 16 bit timer in the processor giving a 1uS resolution, however I would not recommend measuring this to anything better than 0.1° (10uS). Make sure you connect the I2C pins, SCL and SDA, to the 5v supply if you are using the PWM, as there are no pull-up resistors on these pins.

Comment by eric gregori on June 25, 2012 at 6:39pm


You need to be a member of buildsmartrobots to add comments!


© 2017   Created by eric gregori.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service