Unfortunately, we canceled our attendance to the competition prior to Spring Break.
There were a couple of factors influencing our decision, including the following:
It was very likely at this point that the IEEE R5 conference will be cancelled (and indeed it was, on 3/16/20).
We would not have had the time, away from campus for the rest of the foreseeable future, to complete the robot (there was a strong expectation that UT would extend Spring Break and close campus up until the competition, which it did).
UT would not reimburse us for travel to the competition site in Oklahoma if we decided to go, due to their travel advisory policies.
As such, we had decided to shut down our R5 committee at that time.
However, we as a team have had several discussions since then, and are repurposing our robot for the Demobots arm of the organization!
If you have seen our Dancebots at outreach before, know that this robot will become the Mothership. We’ve expanded the focus of the project to include the following:
Development of a Dancebot Swarm, similar in concept to our swarmbots that were made for the R5 competition in Spring 2019. Their actions can be controlled synchronously or independently. We’re also looking at adding LED eyes to it!
Redesign of the R5 robot to become the Mothership of the swarm. It’ll host the microcontroller (an RPI4) that spins up the server, in which the user can access a webpage like the current Dancebot. It’ll also connect to the Dancebot swarm, relaying commands to them.
Deployment of Dancebot swarm through a conveyor or something similar. The face of the large Dancebot mothership will be lifted and this is when the deployment will commence.
There are a couple of other interesting features in the works, like updating the Dancebot mechanical design and adding LED matrices for eyes to all the robots. Another cool idea is adding image recognition to the mothership using our existing RPI camera; using a pose classification algorithm I worked on with SIMLab this spring, we can make the mothership emote or make the Dancebot swarm dance in response to a T-pose.
I’ve added a couple of images of the R5 robot before we left for spring break below. More updates to come under the Demobots category from us!
Author: Matthew Yu (Electrical Lead for R5 and to be Electrical Lead for the Demobots Dancebots team)