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Day One

The whole team and the robot made it safely into Nagoya. Immediately as we exited customs, a Japanese media company came to interview us about the RoboCup. Stephanie Roberts stepped up to answer their questions about what the competition entails, whether or not we would win, and what our team name was. Unfortunately she blanked on the last question momentarily: “I was really stressed and nervous and forgot our team name for a second,” Stephanie said.

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After a long day of traveling we stayed near our hotel for a nice dinner in Nagoya. We had a relaxed night because early tomorrow morning we embark on our day trip to Kyoto, via bullet train. Look out for a longer update after the day trip. Follow our twitter here and like our Facebook page here for more updates.

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Week Five

With just about twelve hours until the team starts the trek to Nagoya, I have a few final updates on the robot and a peak into what we will be doing once we arrive.

First of all, I have some final news on the arm. We have been following its progress for weeks, and the final result is here in the form of two videos. The first shows the arm with the grasper finally attached and moving.

This second video shows the grasper hand in action, grabbing a PVC pipe to replicate a door knob like what the robot will need to be able to open during the competition.

The third and final video shows the robot maneuvering through an obstacle course built to replicate the obstacle course at the RoboCup.

This week was mostly spent testing the robot and then packing it up to prepare for the long flight it and we have to Japan. This week has also built up much anticipation towards the trip outside of the competition. While the RoboCup is the primary event of the trip, we will also be experiencing as much of the Japanese culture as possible. “One goal is certainly to take in and appreciate Japanese culture while we are there, and I hope that an international experience touches each of [the students] to become better global citizens,” Ms. Kirsten Hoogenakker, the head of Benilde-St. Margaret’s engineering department who will be going on the trip with us, said.

One of the first events on the agenda will be a day trip to Kyoto via a bullet train, a high-speed Japanese train that can reach up to 320 kilometers per hour. We will be doing many cultural activities while there, including a bike tour and samurai lessons. We will also have time to explore Nagoya and experience many Japanese foods and markets.

Thank you all so much for following the blog so far, and I hope you continue to stay up to date on our trip and especially the competition. Follow our twitter here and like our Facebook page here for more updates. I will be posting more frequently than weekly while we are in Japan, so check on the blog more often to see all my posts.

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Week Four

With only one short week to go until we fly out to Nagoya, RKRS has made huge strides towards our goal. Of course, I have an update on our arm as it has been the focus of roughly half of our time in the past week. The video below is of the first run with the arm being controlled solely by programming. The video doesn’t showcase the arm’s hand, but we should be able to run the arm with the hand soon.

 

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As flashy as the arm is, it isn’t the only notable progress that has been made. The programming teams have made headway on the video recognition software. The software uses specific points on an image that it will recognize when shown the same image later. It is the same concept as Snapchat’s facial recognition. Unfortunately, whether or not the programming is complete in time for the competition will be completely dependent on time, as RoboCup 2017 is approaching quickly.

Creating easy controls for the robot with all its moving parts has also proved to be a bit of a challenge. Hopefully, we will have a more user-friendly method that may resemble a gaming controller, but that will also be subject to the amount of time we have to work before the competition.

On a more positive note, after having learned a bit about Japanese culture (food, manners etcs) to prepare for our trip, we received our polos and jumpsuits! With one week left before the team goes to Japan, the jumpsuits were the perfect way to excite everyone before the trip. Next week, the blog post will come one day early, on Thursday, as on Friday, we will be on our way to Nagoya! Stay up to date on our trip by checking in on this blog and by following us on twitter here and liking our Facebook page here. When it comes time for the trip, I will be updating the blog more frequently, and hopefully doing some live-tweeting of the actual competition.

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Week Three

After weeks of hard work, the arm and grasper is finally functioning. The video below shows it attached to the mount, not yet on the robot itself. The next step for the arm will be finishing up the programming for the controls, so we won’t have to manually move it. Along with that we still have to set up a camera mount on the grasper to allow the eventual driver of the robot another camera angle. Hopefully soon we will be able to test the arm’s reach and dexterity.

Rising senior Jack Rickman shows off the arm’s capabilities.

Another exciting advancement has been completing the programming for the motion detection. Part of this detection test will be whether or not the robot will be able to recognize certain warning labels and identify them.

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With only three weeks to go until we head out for the RoboCup, the excitement grows with every passing day. “Now that June is over, it’s really starting to set in how close we are to the competition. I’m so excited to get to Japan and show off what we’ve been working so hard on,” rising senior Sophie Herrmann said. This year is especially exciting as a few lucky rising seniors were allowed to go on the trip, as normally only members of the current year’s graduating class have participated.

Next week we will all be taking a break to enjoy the 4th of July, so there won’t be any new updates. However, you can catch up on last week’s progress here. You can also follow us on Twitter here and like our Facebook page here. When it comes time for the competition, we will be updating the blog more frequently, but also giving you real time updates on the competition on our Twitter. Check back on July 14th for another update.

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Welcome!

Welcome to the Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red KnightWelcome to the Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knight RoboRescue Squad’s website. We are working to perfect a robot which will compete in the 2017 RoboCup competition in Nagoya, Japan in July, 2017. Our robot will eventually be fully autonomous with on-board computation. Our robot is designed to be semi-autonomous with the ability to perform dexterity and manipulation tasks, and to traverse advanced terrain. You can view our team and some of our links on this website.

Week Two

With week two of summer work coming to a close much progress has been made to the robot! Last week I mentioned mounts for a carbon dioxide sensor, speaker, camera, and infrared camera (if you didn’t catch that update read all about our first week here). This week we have successfully created sensor and camera mounts for the front and back of the robot, a key part of our ability to complete readiness tasks at the actual RoboCup.

Another aspect of the RoboCup will be mobility tasks, such as a driver being able to maneuver through a course with no visual of the actual robot besides the mounted camera on the robot itself. We set up testing areas for these tasks with the hope of being able to practice soon.

Above is an example of the type of incline our robot will been to be capable of scaling and descending during the competition.

The driver will have to maneuver the robot around angled poles such as the one above without breaking any of the poles.

Corners and inclines such as this will be part of the mobility tests.

Another mobility task will be testing our robot’s ability to drive in a straight line over two thin boards (pictured above). Just this week we enhanced the robot’s driving capabilities and it is officially driving straight. We also fixed a squeaking noise that the robot was making as it drove, added bonus of the improvement.

Week One

This post marks the first weekly update that will be going out throughout the summer to keep you informed about our progress and get you as excited for the RoboCup as we are.

With fewer than six weeks remaining before RoboCup 2017 officially begins, the Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knight Robotics Squad (RKRS) is working hard to make our goals for the summer a reality. This post marks the first weekly update that will be going out throughout the summer to keep you informed about our progress and get you as excited for the RoboCup as we are.

So what exactly is the RoboCup? It is an international robotics competition where many institutions compete to see whose robot can most successfully complete the given tasks. In years past, BSM’s RKRS has been the only high school level team in the rescue division; 2017 may also find us lining up against collegiate level teams from all over the world. Check out the below link to the RoboCup 2017 official promotion video.

While RKRS is competing in the rescue division, the competition is much larger than that. There are competitions for robotic soccer, the industrial division, and one for robots that complete domestic tasks. To learn more about all of the various competitions, click here.

One part of the RoboCup Rescue competition is readiness testing, where each robot is expected to complete five identification tasks: carbon dioxide sensing, motion detection, thermal imaging, audio acuity, video image resolution, and color pattern recognition. We finished programming the motion detection software, and we have also finished the mount for the carbon dioxide sensor, camera, infrared camera, and speaker for the other portions of readiness testing. Hopefully, we will be able to start testing the placement of this mount for maximum efficacy next week.

Another portion of the competition is dexterity tasks, where our robot is expected to do things like open a door using its hand. We are hoping to finish combining our current arm and grasper hand with our robot next week and then trying our hand, so to speak, at the dexterity tasks.

See below for some current photos of our robot, and check back next week for another update on our journey to the 2017 RoboCup in Nagoya, Japan.

Hackathon 2017!

Greetings from the Hackathon! Last Wednesday, with the help of Pearson VUE, we made tremendous strides with our robots and personal knowledge. The students participating divided into different groups; Computer Vision, Autonomy, Web/UI, Video Streaming. We used smaller robots to test if our programming worked. Check out the details, additional photos and the day’s final video below! Knight Errant Story is on it’s way too!

Computer Vision: A group of students worked closely with James to get automatic motion detection running on our video streams.

Autonomy: Successfully completed the task of Wall Following – the robot is able to self-correct (with the use of sensors) and avoid colliding with walls that surround it.

Web, UI:  Received guidance from experienced coders who helped this team construct a website using html, css, java, and python to control our robot’s features (i.e. the robot’s movements, the robot’s arms, the robot’s sensors, etc.)

Video Streaming: In order to see where our robot is driving, we needed the ability to stream live video to our control website. A number of students and developers helped in this endeavor.

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