Coding and challenges

It takes two flints to make a fire, this saying defines the mood of this week. It all started with the Arduino basics, which to somewhere new concepts. We were given a brief introduction to Arduino (Arduino Uno to be specific), its pins (analog and digital pins), how it works, the power pins and the power that Arduino accepts. We also learnt about  how it can communicate with the computer.

We were given a brief on how to write codes in Arduino in order for it to communicate with the computer. “Comments, comments. I need to see some comments” this is what our Supervisor (design studio manager) encourages us to do when writing the codes. She says comments are important especially when one wants to reuse the codes, it is easy to remember. I can say writing comments when coding is one of the best practices that I want to be used to, because it is to understand even other people’s codes.


           An example of Arduino code with comments

 An image of the Arduino Uno

Well, this week’s challenge was to create a sumo robot that will be able to fight within the ring (circle). We were divided into groups of two, the goal of the challenge was to be the last robot in the ring. If a robot leaves the ring or is rendered immobile in the ring – it has lost the round. We were allowed to use the laser cutter and 3D printer and any sensors and hardware available in the DIT Design Studio. .

My partner and I started the challenge by writing the code and testing it. In doing this we were first adding one component and testing its code. When the component did not respond we tried to troubleshoot it by changing the code or the pins if not well inserted until it responded well with code. If the component responded well, we continued by adding another component then adding its code until all the components responded well with our code. When we were done merging the components with the code, we started designing the outer interface of our sumo robot car, by drawing its outer faces in the CAD program and then we decided to laser cut it. We chose to laser cut our robot because it is faster compared to 3D printing. Once we were done assembling the robot parts, we tested it again and then kept it safe until the day of the challenge.

The competition was kind of tough, each group did their best from designing to coding the robot. Although we didn’t win, the challenge was great and it was worth the energy we invested. I am looking forward to challenges like these because they make us active and challenge us to dig deeper into the things we learn by integrating them into something amazing.


                   An image of the sumo robots after the competition

And that’s all about this fun week. I can’t wait for what awaits for us for the coming week.

Till then,

Sandra Sommi

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