1/19/2012 Over the past week, we've started seriously discussing our BM projects for 2012. We are going to re-build Pipe Dream in it's 2011 configuration for our theme camp. The only thing we are changing is the design of the platforms, which will be lumber U-bolted to the pipes the way we did it at the Pipemare on Halloween at Langton Labs.
We are also going to build the same shade structure, which is a solved problem for us. We do need to replace one of our 21' pipes as one got bent in transit back from BM'11.
The big project for 2012 is the Penguin Flock art car project. This has been at the center of all of our debates. One thing we did is buy a 'shop rider' off eBay so we can see how electric-motor-driven welded-steel moving platforms come together. We've also made contact with the Muffin People and asked them for help with our project. They've been extremely helpful! Thanks, muffin people!
Mostly, we've been arguing about how to build our particular project. Everything is up for grabs at the moment. We don't know how to lay out the frame. We don't know which motors or wheels to use. We don't know what motor controller to use. We don't know where the motor controller will get it's input from. For example: Jered and I just had a long argument about whether to use R/C recievers as the input for the motor controller servo and just have the on-board electronics output an FM R/C transmit signal to drive even the local motor.
We are also arguing about how to achieve the crowning piece of the project, which is flock mode. I am proposing a system where we use optical flow to get the velocity of the lead penguin and then have the follower penguins maintain the same velocity using feedback on their own flow sensors. Jered thinks we should use a more direct system of measuring distance to a peer in the flock and doing feedback on maintaining this distance while flocking. We spent some time investigating optical vs. sonic range finders for performing this task, with nothing conclusive decided.
9/21/2011 Let's start thinking about next year, I guess!