Week 1:  6th - 12th 
Boot Camp 

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Sunday the 6th  
The best laid plans has its awakening.... parts sorting.   Each team produces one man hour.  This translates to 20 minutes per team member for our squad.   During this time, rivalries begin, the trash talking commences, and early victory pridefully claimed.  After producing our man hour, our squad went to the barracks and began strategizing, mapping out our quest to utter and total conquest.  Needless to say, we were pleased...

Monday the 7th Today's Pics 
The first briefing began at 10 hundred (that's 10am) and lasted till 12 hundred. We were told the time period, the situation, the objective, and the rules.  We were also given the deadline and a the first assignment (due the following day). After being drilled, we received the goods.  The goods included our kits fit with legos, many circuit components, and a handbook.  War was on the brink.

Following the briefing was exercises.  The first workshop was soldering. Fortunately, our squad had experience with said technique and we were able to commence operation solder.  The next 5-6 hours, we remained at shop putting together our circuit components into a well developed unit ready for orders.  We built the battery pack, battery charger, expansion board, and infrared (IR) beacon. Another component needed only modification.  This was called the handy board (the component that will become the robots onboard computer).  Check these bad boys out here.

During this op, a mishap occured. Someone on our squad (not to mention any names, heh heh) soldered the IC (integrated circuit) components directly to the PCB (printed circuit board). BAD BAD BAD, not good. Check this, if one of them bad boys burns out, we will have to desolder all 16 plus pins of that badmammajamma to replace it! But, it's all good. The only IC out of the 6 that has tendencies to burn out is the motor chip, and that only when it powers a motor that is obstructed from rotating. Since this component is on the expansion board and will only power two motors, we decided to ensure that drive would be powered instead by the handy board.  Gotta be more careful next time though, we may not be so fortunate!  heh heh, man oh man did we rip on the squad member who performed the act.

Tuesday the 8th Today's Pics 
At 12 hundred, exercises begin again.  This time, we were being schooled on the basic techniques of lego construction.  Want to see a funny thing? Check this: MIT students... in a room... playing with legos...  Think about that for a second, you might start rolling.   heh heh, man that is a site to see, almost full grown people just playin away with legos.   Anyways, after the exercises, we bounced. We set up shop at Alberto's place.   Quickly convertin the joint to a top secret base of operations, we began our mischief.   We checked inventory with our kit, ensuring every part was accounted for... talk about BORING!!! But it was done. Check out the legos before they were sorted. That's mad legos, buhlee dat!  Next, we tried setting up Alberto's laptop to conduct our mischief. We ran into problems and thought we were screwed or that perhaps the the circuit boards we put together were messed the messed up.  Alberto had to bounce and Derek and I headed to the lab.  There we went about our business trying to complete the testing of our circuitry (though we were checked off yesterday for completion of contruction, we needed to make sure these bad boys worked).  We also saw our rivals there.  Needless to say, we took a minute to trash talk, telling them the best they would be able to do is 2nd place, since we already have first locked away, heh heh.  We hit the computer, downloaded the orders to the handy board, and performed the tests.  Everything was A okay.  Mad tight!!!  Then Derek had a great idea, heh heh.  Prank time BABY!!  We called up Alberto and told him that our circuits were dead.  We were in it deeeeeep. We also told him that the TA's could not even figure out what the heck was wrong with it and only laughed at the soldering of the chips to the expansion board (as you may have guessed, the act of Alberto, heh heh).   Homeboy came straight to the lab, face looking very serious.  He asked what the problem was again.  I continued playing the whole thing off getting into great detail about specific components of the board.  Derek also continued ad libbing.  It got to the point where Alberto was ready to desolder the whole thing by himself and make it right so that it would work. heh heh heh, it was hillarious. Derek and I couldn't hold out any longer and busted out laughing.  The prank worked like a charm.  

Wednesday the 9th Today's Pics 
Briefing began at 10 hundred.  This time we were told about coding, sensors, accuators, the handy board, and were demoed some basic robotic acrobatics.   After ending at 12 hundred, we broke camp for a little while and got back together later.  We went back to base, defined priorities, declared a mission statement, and aimed to win ==> plans.  Our priorities included speed, minimal movement, and an ability to trouble shoot.  Our mission was basically to score, stun, and steal. One word --> annihilation.   at 21 hundred (that's 9pm), we attended the optional briefing: Crash Course in C....  We could have better spent our time.   After kicking ourselves in the derriere for skipping Jiu Jitsu to come to this lecture, we bounced. Now it was getting cold, snow had fell, and ice had formed.   Alberto was carrying the box with all the components (by the way, I should tell you, the kit is worth 1500 bucks!). Homeboy slipped.... Derek and I just watched, in amazement. Alberto pulled off a feat of protection I've never seen.  He saved the box.   How? I don't know... but it was funny watchin him do it, heh heh heh.  Someone was watching out for us, no doubt!

Thursday the 10th Today's Pics 
12 hundred.... yup, exercises again.  We get to give orders to the handy board, testing it on some placebo bot made by the General and his lieutenants.  We did some C programming, downloaded the code to the handy board, and hooked it up to the placebo.  BAAAAAM! Success.  What can I say?  We da bomb yo, heh heh.  We had decided to meet again later in the day.  Assignment number two was due tomorrow, so we needed to slap that thing together mighty quick.  Required for submission included a design approach, a description of the physcal structure, and a 15-20 minute grilling session. We drew up some concept designs of our physical structure and brainstormed a ton about our strategy.   Then we hit up Jiu Jitsu (uh huh).  Let's call it a night!

Friday the 11th Today's Pics 
10 hundred, the final briefing we would receive.   The knowledge dropped on us this time was a little bit about finite state machines (a method of which to program hardware to perform tasks given certain states), and how to use that IR beacon (infrared baby). Two hours later, at 12 hundred, exercises began on motor mounting and gearboxes. After completion, we reconvened at base, finalized our strategy, tweaked it some, built a sample gear train, and drew up some more images of the physical structure.  today.  At headquarters, we presented our bag of treats.  Our Captains were delighted.  Finally they saw a strategy and design that didn't involve blocking the holes! sweeeeeeet.  We.... are money. We also caught some other team creeping, trying to eavesdrop and stuff.  mmhmmmm, vultures I tell ya.  It's all good though, we are pretty confident in our design. Back at base, we continued to work.  We also began building the wheel unit design. See, our little contraption in concept design boasted four wheel drive.  This gives us control over many degrees of motion with which to punish the enemy chickens. Not to mention it also gave us the ability to create a vehicle with no front, rear, left, or right sides.  Mad tight huh? Here is the first crack at it Wheel Unit take 1 . Meanwhile, Derek was hard at work designing some kind of arm mechanism with which to deploy punishment upon our unsuspecting foes.

Saturday the 12th Today's Pics 
Hmmmm... saturday saturday... what did we do today?  hmmm.... aight, we busted it up at Jiu Jitsu from 3-5pm.  After that, we hit up the base, ordered some grub. While waiting for the grub, we continued perfecting our strategy of mass destruction.  Alberto and I had also begun (from yesterday) designing a new wheel unit.  See, the first design was just too big.  Thus, two new designs burst on to the scene, one from Alberto, and one from Patrick.   Designs.  Derek also began modifiying his arm trying to make it better.  By this time, one of Alberto's friends, Oscar, had found a lego CAD program..... Mmmhmmmm, that's right, I said CAD (Computer Aided Design).   It was tight, for real.  It even displayed 3 views, plus a fourth isometric view.  Oscar decided to take one of the wheel units and draw on the LEGO CAD tool.  Check it out LEGO CAD Wheel Unit

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This page was last updated on 7/02/03
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