Skip to main content

Power Surge Robot

Sorry for the delay with this post... I've been busy discovering just how much time it can take to prepare for college placement exams and Calculus AP tests. :-)

Here's a video that shows the capabilities of Power Surge's robot, "Spike". BTW, Spike is a reference to a voltage spike, which is another name for a power surge. The video shows what Spike can do in autonomous mode as well as tele-op (driver control) mode:

One of the robot components shown in the video that might not be as well known as other parts of the robot is our Intake System, or our mechanism for retrieving pucks off the floor. At the regionals, we had an intake system that could get one puck at a time, and that required quite a bit of accuracy on the part of the driver. Also, the puck had to be on a flat area. This made it slow and unreliable for us to get pucks off the floor in matches. In preparation for Atlanta, we wanted to improve our intake system, since we thought opponents would probably dump our pucks on the floor early in the match to try to prevent us from scoring them. We came up with an design - somewhat similar to a vacuum cleaner - that works really well. A rotating turbine with flexible brushes sweeps pucks into the robot. Then the same turbine rotates and lifts the puck onto vertical conveyor belts (made with LEGOs and non-slip pad), which lift the puck over 17 inches off the ground before dropping it into our big Puck Magazine with the rest of the pucks. The whole thing is done with just three NXT motors. It can retrieve pucks from almost anywhere on the mat: obstacle strips, up against field walls, etc. In addition, the mouth of the Intake System is 8 inches wide, so the driver doesn't need to be accurate at all; he can simply drive the robot over a puck in roughly the right place and the robot will take care of the rest.

Below are videos of the autonomous and driver-control modes of our 5th qualifying match. We're on the blue alliance, and our drivers have yellow shirts (one of them is me). We won this match 222 - 208. This was the highest individual score (222), as well as the highest combined score (430) at the World Championships. We used our autonomous mode that scored two puck racks for the first time in this match and it worked flawlessy, putting all 18 pucks into the triangular goal. It turned out to be a good thing that we did this, because a team on the opposing alliance also used a two puck rack-autonomous mode for their first time, and their partner also scored a couple pucks in autonomous mode.

Driver control was a little stressful for our fans. I was the primary driver, but neither the on-field coach nor myself had noticed that our opponents scored so much in autonomous mode. So in driver control period, we focused on scoring lots of our opponents' pucks to obtain ranking points and overtake the #1 team in the rankings (see my previous post about FTC). However, it ended up being better for us, because we still won the match, plus we got a lot of ranking points and took over the #1 spot.

You can see more information and pictures from the World Championships on my team's website:


Popular posts from this blog

Celebrating MINDSTORMS with a Remix - Part 2

The ROBOTMAK3RS continued their celebration of the 25th Anniversary of MINDSTORMS through these summer and fall remix projects. Each ROBOTMAK3R was tasked with selecting one LEGO set of their choice and combining it with a MINDSTORMS set. Below are the five amazing models they came up with. Remote controlled material handle r by Jozua van Ravenhorst (aka Mr Jo) This remix combines the LEGO Technic Material Handler (42144) with MINDSTORMS EV3 (31313) It uses the power of pneumatic cylinders to move objects around. By using a bluetooth remote control, very precise movements can be made with this model. Touch sensors in the base chassis prevent the turret twisting the cables that go through the turntable to much. The program has several protections to prevent over pressurizing the system for each of the 3 individual pumps and valves that control the 2 booms and claws. The real version of this machine is mostly used in waste material sites to bring the material to machines that sort and


2023 is the 25th Anniversary of the MINDSTORMS brand. For 25 years, MINDSTORMS has educated and inspired a generation of robot builders, both children and adults. Unfortunately, the LEGO Group decided to end the line on December 2022. Many ROBOTMAK3RS have been passionately involved with the development of MINDSTORMS through the MUP and MCP programs. Even with the newest Robot Inventor line, several ROBOTMAK3RS were invited to submit additional bonus models that were included in the official app. Regardless of the retirement of a major LEGO robotics product line, ROBOTMAK3RS continue to MAKE-SHARE-INSPIRE using all LEGO robotics platforms available to us. Here is the official statement from LEGO. Since its launch in September 1998, LEGO MINDSTORMS has been one of the core ‘Build & Code’ experiences in the company’s portfolio, carrying with it significant brand equity and becoming a stand-out experience for the early days of consumer robotics and leading to current Build & Code

Celebrating 25 Years of MINDSTORMS

In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of MINDSTORMS, we take a trip through history. Please also visit ROBOTMAK3RS Community every week as we highlight different projects all through 2023 in celebration of the anniversary. Some of the early history is based on the content shared by  Coder Shah  in our  MINDSTORMS EV3 Community Group . Some of the text and links may have been edited from his original posts for consistency and clarity.  1984 - Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen watched a TV program called "Talking Turtle," where MIT professor Seymour Papert demonstrated how children could control robot "turtles" using LOGO, a programming language he developed. 1988 - The collaboration between MIT and LEGO resulted in LEGO TC Logo in 1988, which allowed students to control LEGO models using computer commands. The video shows Papert demonstrating TC Logo. 1990 - LEGO TC Logo was hampered since the robots you built had to be tethered to a personal computer. LEGO and MIT