Hello Real Science Enthusiasts!
I hope that you all take my silence the last couple days for what they were, me being hard at work creating awesome fun robot things. because they definitely weren’t procrastination… never that… I mean c’mon I’m a professional here… Mom stop laughing!
I have been designing a robot and it is super cool. The purpose of this robot is to go into the smaller lava tubes that we have around the dome and take some profile measurements. So I’ll do a little photo progression of what I’ve been up to the last month to give you an idea of how I go through the design process
I’ve been sending my designs as they progress to a group of students I’m collaborating with at Vanderburg Elementary School in the Clark County School District. In fact, because of the internet restrictions here on sMars the students did the initial research for me and my design is largely based on a project called IMPASSE.
Now you may have noticed that this design has no turning capability (all forward motion controlled by one motor) and yes that was on purpose. This is a proof of concept, the motion isn’t the important part, the sensor box is the important part. By rotating the sensor box it allows 3 sensors to get an almost 360 profile of the cave structure, however, with the IMU I wouldn’t know the direction of the box which would make any measurements not taken at the 0 degree home angle basically worthless. So the sensor box will take a range reading, them the IMU will read the position of the sensor box, then the sensor box will rotate and the sequence will start over again. Once I have the data from the IMU I can translate the relative distances found by the range finders on the sensor box into an absolute reference space and that way get a point map of the profile of the cave in a single reference frame.
So these are my parts, and slowly but surely they’re coming together to form a whole. I’ve told my student collaborators that one of the best traits that an engineer can have is patience because you have to be willing to do endless-seeming re-designs of parts as you attempt to assemble something bigger from it. But patience, like my sensor box, is just a part. An engineer has to have many parts, all working together, to create something new.
So there you have it, I do actually do work here in the Dome. 🙂
Thanks for sticking with us!