A Blast From The Past (Sumo Style) Part I
It’s been a busy summer (and then winter), involving getting a new job and moving to a new city, so I haven’t had much time to work on my robots much recently, let alone update my blog! So, instead of posting any updates on my robots (those will come later on when I get more work done), I’ve dug up some information on one of my older Sumo Robots, aptly named:
Chomp! was my first sumo robot, and first robot beyond BEAM robotics. Built in my High School years, it competed for the first time in the 2000 Western Canadian Robot Games, and placed first in the 5kg Autonomous Sumo competition. Although slow and lumbering, this robot had a good (for the time) vision system and protective skirt system that deployed on startup.
The brains of the Sumo was the rustic Basic Stamp II, powering an L298 H-bridge that controlled 4 motors, one per wheel. An aluminum frame held the robot together, and a custom made decals gave the robot a nice fierce personality
Back before the days of commonly available Sharp IR Rangefinders, I used a solution involving Modulated IR sensors (40 kHz) and modulated IR LEDs. By toggling the LEDs on or off, from a single sensor I could determine if the robot was to the left, right or front of me. A far cry from ‘1.21 GW‘, my current mini sumo, but it worked, and helped get the robot first place!
Chomp! went on to compete in the 200 WCRG for the next year or two, but other robots rapidly improved over the years, and Chomp! became too slow and the protective flaps too weak for stronger robots.
Chomp! actually had a sister (brother?) robot, named “Fatal Discharge”, which never ended up working right. Unfortunately, this was before I figured out enough about motor controllers to know that the L298 wasn’t quite up to the task.
After Chomp!, I went on to build “Event Horizon”, which was a moderately successful robot, and one of the first in Canada to have a vacuum system for increased traction. But more on that later…..