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Sample Return Robot Challenge

The focus of the blog is changing. I mentioned that I rotate through projects. It is time to focus more on robotics, specifically the NASA Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge.

In June 2012 NASA ran a Centennial Challenge competition at Worcster Polytechnic Institute. This concept for the competition was a robot on the Moon or Mars retrieving samples. Its tasks were:
  • Obtain a pre-cached sample
  • Search for other interesting samples
  • Return all samples to a landing platform
I considered entering but abandoned the effort for personal and technical reasons. I am going to use the competition guidelines in the development of a robot. I believe the challenge will be repeated and am working now to overcome the technical issues. I will be sharing the effort on my web site. I am starting with a high-level analysis and dropping down to more details as that proceeds.

On this blog I will keep some notes on what has been updated on the project and provide some running commentary on the effort. 

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http://groups.google.com/group/android-developers/browse_frm/thread/1b42c48ce47cb1c9/720c6f4f8a40fc67#720c6f4f8a40fc67

http://groups.google.com/group/android-developers/browse_frm/thread/2e14272d72b7ab4f#

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The sensors report approximetly every 20, 40 and 220 msec for FAST, GAME, and NORMAL.
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On Thursday, the 29th, teams were invited to give presentations to the other teams, the NASA people who organized the challenge, and others. I used the opportunity to speak about my approach to the competition but also to raise the question of how an amateur roboticist, like myself, can make a meaningful contribution to robotics. 
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