We have recently had the pleasure of working with Rotacaster, a Newcastle based omni-directional wheel company that uses injection moulding with no screws. Rotacaster asked us to make a robot that they could use to demonstrate their wheels at trade shows. It had to be small enough to fit in a suitcase and very easy for them to use and maintain, while being as inexpensive as possible. This meant that we couldn’t just use the same parts as on our competition robots, which can be very expensive and quite difficult to use, especially if they break down. This forced us to design a robot from the ground up, and the result is a sight to behold, as I am sure you will agree- we built probably the most professional looking robot that our team ever has. We decided to use a BeagleBone Black as the control board as it is inexpensive but provides the power and the ability to interface with motors that we needed for this project. This is not compatible with the FRC control system, and as such it meant that we had to write our own drivers to power everything from PWM (a type of encoding that lets us tell the motors how fast to go) to heading hold- a fun and educational experience!
The final product was RotaBot, a sleek showroom robot, easily controlled by a Game Pad, that both the team and Rotacaster can use as a small showcase piece.
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The RotaBot was showcased in industry events in Japan, Korea and the US in mid 2015 and was a huge success.
If you are interested in commissioning a robot to showcase your parts, be it a wheel, base, or game piece, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.