Enable Builds a Delta Robot, Part Six: It Lives!

With NI Week looming in the horizon, the offices of Enable Training and Consulting have been alive with the buzz of activity.  New proposals are being written, seminars and conferences are being scheduled, and the Delta-bot (now officially known as the Trace-a-Tron) is having the final touch-ups done to its programming.

Early this week, the bot was not in quite so almost-working order.  There was a serious issue with the optical sensor.  It was not sensitive enough to detect a black line on white paper from any further away than a few centimeters.  Limiting the movement to the detectable area would severely limit the Trace-a-tron’s range of motion, and render the game either unplayable or at the least, not very fun.

This was solved in an ingenious way.  Octavian, our resident App Developer and one of several LabVIEW architects on the staff, found a quick work-around to make the optical sensor more sensitive.  Instead of using a black line on white paper as our moving target, Octavian, assisted by the ever vigilant co-op-student Smit, used aluminum HVAC tape to create a reflective line.  This was placed over top of a black background to give greater contrast, and allowed the sensor, and the Trace-a-Tron to function as it was intended.  The day was saved!

Some more testing, the addition of some ultra-nostalgic videogame music and sound effects, and our team of engineers were ready to begin the online section of the programming.  In addition to recording the players’ success and scoring them appropriately, the Trace-a-Tron will rank players based on performance, and tweet high scores from the @EnableENG twitter account.

It is rare in at Enable that the entire team work on a project together.  This project has included nearly our entire team from Ben, our CEO, on down; including co-op students, programmers, curriculum developers, engineers, marketers, and graphic artist.  It is nice to see and hear the fruits of the team’s labours as we begin to pack the robot for its long trip to Austin Texas, where it will no doubt delight and entertain the masses at NI Week.

Check out the video for more information on the Trace-a-Tron, and Enable’s booth at NI Week.

-by Andrew Baxter, Curriculum Specialist


Delta Bot 6 Projects 14

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