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Marble Madness

posted 19 Dec 2016, 17:41 by Shamik Patel   [ updated 19 Dec 2016, 23:34 ]

During August we had an interesting and challenging competition, Marble Madness. We were assigned with a task to create a mechanism or a device which has the ability to sort and count marbles, using mechanical and software skills that we have been working on. We worked in pairs, and were provided with twenty dollars. We had two weeks to achieve this interesting challenge, and we seemed to be up for it.

I was paired with Vishesh, and we worked together to design the first part of our task which was creating the physical device. Our design was a simple use of leftovers from home and the workshop and we came up with a simple idea. Keeping KISS (Keep it simple stupid) in mind, the simple design had quickly become 3D using some cut up pool noodles that we found in the workshop. The sorting component was created by creating a hole for small marbles to fall through while the larger ones would roll over the top of the noodle and then roll forward into its container. The second stage was to create the counting mechanism and was accomplished by ordering a couple of limit switches and making a frame to integrate the counting and the sorting systems. The main struggle for us was actually the coding part, where we needed to make a code to upload on the Arduino Board which would count every time the switch was pressed. Both of us having little knowledge, we could get the switch connected and enough code to register the switches were working at least. Our troubles came to an end, when our amazing mentors came to the rescue, by providing us with a solution and explained to us the workings of the code.

The mechanism was ready for our presentation on Monday night, and even though it wasn’t the best, I believe it worked quite well. The sorting mechanism was effective though we did have a small issue where the marbles landed a bit too far or close to the mechanism. The phrase “It’s not about the destination, it’s the journey.” was apparent in the challenge as we got to learn and understand more about coding and problem solving and how to deal with time constraints.

Article By Shamik Patel

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