Birmingham City University Techfest 2014

All is set for the fourth annual Techfest at Birmingham City University. On Saturday 28 June 2014, the University will be host to a celebration of technology, engineering and science.

As with previous events there will be a variety of activities during the day which is expected to include robotics contests for mini-sumo, line-followers, wall-followers, drag-racers and, of course, the UK international micromouse contest.

Students will have projects on display and there will be support from professional bodies and commercial sponsors. Rapid Electronics will be displaying the Aldeberan Nao robot which simply has to be seen to be fully appreciated. Ask it to sing you a song.

You can find out more about the Nao robot on Rapid’s dedicated Aldebaran Nao pages

You can get full details and register for the contests (it is free) at the Birmingham City University Techfest site:

http://www.bcu.ac.uk/tee/events/techfest

 

Posted in Line Follower, Micromouse, Techfest, UK contest | Leave a comment

The gyro knows best – an experiment with a complementary filter

Gyros drift. Everyone knows that and there are lots of ways to counter the drift. The autonomous flying vehicle folk will tell you that Kalman filters are the way to go – if you have time for all that maths. A complementary filter is simpler but will it help with steering a micromouse? Continue reading

Posted in Micromouse | 2 Comments

Claude Shannon made a micromouse first

The micromouse contest has been around for some time now. You may be surprised at just how long there have been autonomous solvers of the problem. The modern contests began in the late 1970s and have run pretty much non-stop since. Possibly the earliest example though dates back to 1950. Continue reading

Posted in Micromouse | Leave a comment

Diagonal paths for a micromouse using a state machine

To get the shortest possible run times, a micromouse must be able to make full use of diagonal paths. By running a diagonal, slow, tricky turns are avoided and the distance is much less. No competitive micromouse can ignore diagonals. Find out how to generate diagonal paths

Posted in Micromouse, Software | Leave a comment

Smooth pathfinding with a state machine

A competitive micromouse must run a path made up of smooth turns rather than stopping for in-place turns. For novice builders of micromouse, this can seem a difficult task. Here is a method for creating a smooth path using data from flooding the maze. Find out how

Posted in Micromouse, Software | Tagged | 4 Comments

State Machines – an Introduction

State machines are very useful tools in any computer system. They make it easy to visualise and solve all kinds of problems. Any small robot is likely to have a use for several state machines. This introduction looks at some basic types of state machine and an easy way to implement them.  Find out how to use them

Posted in Micromouse, Software | Leave a comment

Minos 2014 report

On April 26th 2014, Birmingham City University was host to the 14th annual Minos event. The change of venue brought a number of advantages but otherwise, the weekend followed the usual format of talks and lectures on the Saturday and contest on the Sunday. Find out more about Minos 2014

Posted in Micromouse, minos | Leave a comment

LiPo charger and serial interface combined

Travelling to contests is great. Except for the bits and pieces that you need to lug around. For several years I have used a smart charger for my LiPo batteries. It is a fine charger but bulky. Along with its mains power supply it is about the size of a large laptop charger and needs several cables to join together. I decided to make a smaller, portable charging solution. Continue reading

Posted in Hardware | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

2014 All America Micromouse Competition

On Sunday May 4th 2014, the University of California, Los Angeles will be hosting the 2nd Annual All America Micromouse Competition. The venue is the UCLA campus at Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles. Entry is free and there are cash prizes to be won. To sign up, or find out more, visit the contest home page.

Posted in Micromouse | Leave a comment

APEC 2014

In a first for me, the APEC 2014 micromouse contest returned to a previous venue. This year we were back at the Fort Worth Convention Centre, Fort Worth, Texas. Since my last visit, I discovered a number of interesting things to do in the area and was looking forward to the return visit. Of course, it is never that easy. Find out why

Posted in Apec, Micromouse | 2 Comments