Long time without posting because I have been focusing entirely on preparing the swarm for the challenge. At some point I do blog entries on the thoughts and activities that went into the project. I will backfill them just to keep the timing straight.
I have received a lot of assistance from vendors. Some in discounts and some in sharing knowledge. One I want to specifically mention is David Gray of ProgressiveRC. David answered a lot of questions about batteries and the wiring I will need which was very helpful. ProgressiveRC is providing a very nicely cased set of chargers - the Double Sidekick Ticket - for the batteries, and special ordered 10.4 Ah batteries. There will be two of those in each member of the swarm.
Pololu provided discounts on a Simple Motor Controllers, Maestros, Wild Thumper 6WD, and other parts and pieces.
The last part of the puzzle is picking up the samples. I have the design concept and it works. I even have a video. I have a kludge for this on the current robot but it is pretty ugly. Looking at using tilt mechanisms from ServoCity. Might also need to use some of their construction beams.
I just looked at the hit rate for this blog and it is doing better than I thought. There are 25,000 or so hits. It would probably be a lot better if I were keeping it current but I am awfully busy with the project itself.