Let's Make Robots!

MOONBOTS 2011 robot design proposal


Me and a couple of my friends are participating the moonbots 2011 challenge. This is our robot design proposal. Please do read it and suggest improvements






Chassis –

The chassis of the robot is one of the most essential in the robot design. Our chassis would have a good ground clearance to avoid getting stuck on the surface of the moon. It would also have to be compact and it should be very balanced overall. We also have a 2 DOF arm on the chassis to collect samples of the precious minerals on the surface of the moon. The arm would be controlled by 2 motors, one which would control the movement of the arm and the other would control the gripper of the arm which would collect the samples. Since only one DOF would not be practical for the movement of the arm as collecting the sample would require the arm to move 2 joints, we plan to create a system which can move both the base and the joint which contacts the surface. We plan to use 4 wheel system with a 3-5 cm ground clearance with LEGO wheels. If there are enough outputs, then we will make it a true 4WD system capable of manoeuvring through lunar craters efficiently. We plan to model our chassis similar to current systems used by NASA

Sensors –

The sensors play a major role in this competition as the robot is wholly autonomous. The team figured that the NXT intelligent brick has limited I/O (input/output), we plan to use the sensor multiplier manufactured by LEGO. That way we can control the 4 motors plus a whole array of sensors. We plan to use a compass sensor for guiding our robot with compass waypoints. We also would have a light sensor to reach the peak of eternal light and identification of resources.

Programming –

Programming will be the biggest challenge in making the robot. The team is unfamiliar with LABVIEW and only started working with LEGO a month ago. We also realise power is going to be an issue here so we thought that for optimum efficiency, the sensors which are only required will be in active mode and the other processes will be in standby. Also, in the harsh lunar night, the robot will be in standby to safe power and we will try to reduce the weight of the robot so that the stall current of motors will be less and less current will be drawn from the power pack. We would also use a combination of ultrasonic sensors and a compass sensors for heading and object detection and we will use an ultrasonic sensor inverted 45⁰ to see the way in front and to prevent falling in deep craters


It is not done fully and i have nobody to point out stupid mistakes. so i hope you will do so.


Thank you 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

umm...done with team biography too

Have you registered already? How is the progress?

I am asking that so that i can find more ways to save current because we have many objectives but a small battery pack

custom built sensors are not allowed. Thank you, basile..I shall look into the color sensor calibration thing. 

I have one huge doubt. Consider we have an arduino setup in which we hook up 3 sensors - light, touch and distance. If we donot use the light and touch sensors in the code, in the sense keep them in standby or passive mode, will we save power (will less current be drawn) 

Don't know if it will work, but you got nothing to loose and give it a try.

Here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego_NXT#Connector) you can see the nxt connector. You could try cutting the power to the sensors.

As for the UltraSonic sensor you can check this out: http://sourceforge.net/apps/phpbb/mindboards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=521&p=4545


Thank you, Lumi

Ultrasonic sensors have to used because I donot think that the LEGO offers Infrared distance finder

Got it. Yes then it's ok and MarkusB is right...if allowed then use it,

I would use what is allowed. If ultrasonic sensor is allowed, use it. Other teams will do as well.

Just found on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego_Mindstorms_NXT#Sensors (take a look at what it says about the light sensor),
or couldn't you use a custom-built sensor? Something like this: http://www.philohome.com/sensors/gp2d12.htm


To keep the design realistic you should not use any ultrasonic sensors since they do not work in space or the surface of moon because of he missing carrier medium. Ultra sound just works in air, gases, fluids and solid matter.

For the standby mode I suggest to use a non-powered break system (can not find it anymore but it was a topic here a couple of weeks ago) to reduse the power usage.