I am a member of a club at RIT, which mentors FIRST robotics teams and supports the FIRST organization however we can in the Rochester area. One way we spread awareness is by hosting an exhibit at Imagine RIT, an annual creativity festival were different groups on campus show off what they research/study/build to the general public. it’s RIT’s largest event by far, and quite a madhouse to be honest!
Our club hosts a booth where several local robotics teams show off their student’s creations, and we typically had a small area with some simple wheeled robots for kids to fool around with. in 2015 however, we decided those robots needed an upgrade. So we came up with Ping Pong Panic! , a miniature FRC game using ping pong balls.
For this project, me and my team members made use of The Construct@RIT, our student-run makerspace (which I happen to be a member of). We used the tools there to create the PCBs, the field, and many of the custom parts for the robots. We used a COTS robot base kit from ServoCity and worked from there to create some easy- to use robot designs.
The Bots were created using Arduino Pro Minis for ease of programming and cost-effectiveness (we managed to keep this project within our budget of $250). They used a Nordic Semiconductor NRF24L01 2.4Ghz wireless transciever to communicate between each robot and the “field” arduino. this uC is sent commands from a laptop running a java program that reads data from four game controllers.
I didn’t get any video of the robots being used at Imagine (i was helping to run 2 booths, so I was in a perpetual sprint between those locations), but I did get some video of us testing them the day before.
The game was rushed to completion the night before the event, so things were a little shakey, but it workded! Kids never see the flaws in projects like these and they had a blast driving the robots around. We intend to build upon these and make them even better for Imagine RIT this year.