I am entering the 2009 Warman Competition as part of my manufacturing and design course this semester. This year the competition asks for a 'baton exchange'. The exchange must take place with in the exchange zone square where the two ends of the table meet. The table is in the shape of an 'L'. The task is to build two machines, one purely mechanical, that will exchange the baton. One machine of your choosing starts at one end of your choosing of the L shaped table. The other machine waits in the exchange zone. Each machine must be smaller than 400mmx400mm. One action is allowed to start the system, from then on it must be autonomous.
Since I'm studying mechatronics, I got the non-purely mechanical machine(from here on referred to as the 'tron machine'), although the mechanical one does interest me quite a lot. Brainstorming over the past few days I figure the mechanical machine will be driven by a coiled spring, but it is arguable which machine should start where. One group member is adamant that the mech machine should start with the baton, but I am drawn into thinking about the actual exchange.
1. Since there is a budget for this project, I am of the view it would be easier for the tron machine to put the baton on the mech one as opposed to picking it up. -> SUGGESTIONS?
2. Also I will need to find a way to align the two machines, at the moment I am leaning towards emitters and sensors for the tron machine with reflectors on the mech one. ->SUGGESTIONS?
3. I plan to use wheel encoders from an old mouse to keep the tron machine straight, and maybe a couple of sharp IR sensors so it doesn't bump into the mechanical robot?
I really don't want to over engineer this thing, but my main concern at the moment is a clean exchange, and coming in at less than $100AU (our budget).