Last Spring, I also participated in a Robot Design Competition called 2.007 at MIT. The objective of this project was to make a size constrained robot out of a kit of parts that was able to score the most points by completing tasks on the Operation game board. The game board was a giant version of the Hasbro Operation game for kids.
Here is what the game board looked like:
In order to score the most points by completing a single repeatable task, I designed my robot to pick up the ribs on the Operation board and place them all on the top shelf.
To accomplish this task, I designed a giant robot crane that folded up in order to fit within the size constraint and then unfolded by using mechanically actuated spring bolt action mechanisms which locked the crane into its upright position. This was a very complex mechanical assembly that required a lot of planning, CAD, experimentation, and machining. Below is my completed robot.
This robot was completely designed and engineered from scratch. The key components included: a moving aluminum chassis, a servo actuated tail hook mechanism, a custom high current H bridge, a wench for the crane scoop, a laser cut crane scoop, three spring loaded crane arm joints, and easy control through the use of a wireless PS2 controller. Some of the CAD for this project can be seen under my CAD section on my webpage.
One of my favorite parts of this design was how the robot was able to fit exactly within the size constraint yet unfold to be larger than any other robot in the competition. Here are some picture of the robot completely unfolded within the size constraint box
Making this robot was a great experience and a learn a huge amount throughout the design whole process. If I could do it again I would not have selected such an intricate mechanical and electrical design and gone with a much simpler robot. By selecting such a hard design, i cut it very close and barely finished the robot on time.
One of my favorite parts I designed for this robot was the parameterized laser cut claw that was actuated by a servo. This claw was designed to be able to pick up multiple bones at one time in order to score.