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The theme of the Winter 2012 MAE156A Robot Contest is precision robotics. High precision motion is required on semiconductor fabrication with wafer handling robots as well as robotic surgery. Indeed, UCSD is a leader in robotic surgery and have been featured nationally for their work with Natural Orifice Surgery Imagine that you are performing robotic surgery carrying an appendix that has been removed, and how critical it is that organ not be dropped or placed in the wrong location.


Your task is to transfer fragile cargo from one moving platform to another. The platforms will be represented by two turntables. There are two types of cargo and they need to be sorted. The two types cargo will be represented by light and dark colored tubes. There will be cargo with three degrees of fragility that will be represented by a ball placed into three different hole diameters.


For the contest, the TA will place an even number of dark and light colored tubes onto the first turntable in arbitrary order. When you transfer the tubes, the tubes must be sorted on the second turntable such that all the light colored tubes are positioned consecutively on the second turntable starting with position 1 then followed by all the dark ones. The overall time each team will have to transfer their cargo is 5 minutes. A successful transfer will be considered as a tube delivered to the correct position without the ball falling out of the hole. The scoring is based upon the following grouping, with the fastest time used only as a tiebreaker within each group. From lowest to highest the scoring groups are:


1.    4 tubes with largest hole size

2.    8 tubes with largest hole size

3.    4 tubes with medium hole size

4.    8 tubes with medium hole size

5.    2 tubes with smallest hole size

6.    4 tubes with smallest hole size

7.    8 tubes with smallest hole size



Sorting Robot Times



·      No material can be removed from the upper part of the first turntable.

·      On the starting turntable, the tubes must be placed into the holes, i.e. you cannot make the surface flat.

·      On the receiving turntable, the tube position must be within the original hole xy position.

·      It is acceptable to attach something to the tubes, either permanently or temporarily. But the TA must be able to easily place the tubes in any arbitrary position on the starting turntable.

·      No part of your machine can touch the ball, i.e. no part or mechanism can be placed such that it will prevent the ball from falling out of the hole.

·      At the beginning of the contest, the robots must fit within the boundaries of the large playing fields provided. The robots may move outside of the playing field boundaries while operating but must fit when the contest begins.

·      Teams may use up to $75 worth of material to augment their robot kit. Students can use MAE Credit Chits (ie. fake money) to purchase parts from the TA cart, or use real money form t heir own packet to purchase parts elsewhere. The TA cart will include additional motor drivers, motors, ball bearings, and other parts.

·      If a ball falls off during the contest, that is a no scoring round. You may then reset and then run again until we are tired of watching it run. (if you provided cookies we are more likely to stay interested).

·      If there are any questions about the rules please ask before you build!



An intermediate assignment due 6th week will be to demonstrate the ability to successfully pick up a tube (with a ball placed in the hole) and place it down without dropping the ball.

TA Cart