Brainstorming

This past week was sadly marked by the beast of poor communication. It was bound to happen, BUT our SharePoint site is now officially up and running! We are hoping this will help eradicate any future problems related to missed emails. Also to help with communication, we chose our senior engineers for each sub team. These senior engineers  will represent and be the spokesperson for their group as necessary. We decided to have these positions filled by different team members each term.

The ME group came up with a chassis design- it is an octagon/tick-tack-toe/puck type of shape. This is not an official design decision, but is fancied at the moment. We would try to explain it, but find that pictures are better than words for this type of thing. Do not worry though; if the idea sticks around, we will post a diagram of it and you can tell us what you think. Also, they are thinking about using 8/20 or some sort of aluminum, but need to do more research on the topic.

The CS and ME teams discussed the Bowler communication protocol and the feasibility of using it in the hierarchical computing system that will drive the robot. They are leaning toward using it, but have not finalized this decision. There is also talk of using a Net-book as the main computer to run the Java software developed by our CS team.

The ECE group plans to make custom boards that will go in each module and interface with the robot. They discussed different options for doing this and made block diagrams of possible implementations.  In regards to power, they are pretty much set on Lithium Polymer batteries, but this too needs to be finalized.

On a different note: our primary objective for this project is to make an AUV that serves as a modular development platform. We would love to take it to the AUVSI competition this summer; however, we discovered that their rules and competition tasks will not be posted until the middle of our last quarter of school. (WPI runs on a quarterly system. Each quarter is 7 weeks long and then we have a break between each quarter. Our last day of class is April 30th!) With this, we will only have a few weeks to tailor our robot’s functionality to fit the criteria for the competition. This was a little bit of a bummer, but we are hopeful and will do our best to still enter.

This coming week the CS and ECE team plan to finalize the hardware and software platforms that will be utilized throughout the system. The ME team wants to meet with the ECE team to discuss batteries and distributed power vs. centralized power. The ECE team still needs to meet with their personal advisers to get feedback and advice. The Statement of Work was briefly reviewed and should be edited this week. More research needs to be done by all teams. Also, we will be making the transition over to SharePoint. There is a lot going on, but so much more work to be done and decisions to be made. We are already having midterms this week. This first term is going by so fast! (Oh the craziness!)

Another noteworthy thing is that one of our team members has decided that taking a break from college is the best thing for them at this time in their life. We hope the best for them in this decision and will miss having them on the team. This makes our team of 13,  now a team of 12.

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