Thursday, July 2, 2009

ARCS v0.1 Demo

It's been a while since my last post, but the posts will be coming more and more frequently now that I have a new project up and running. This project, which I have named ARCS (Autonomous Rubik's Cube Solver), was sparked over the weekend when I finally learned how to solve a Rubik's Cube, with some help from a solution manual my dad gave me, the same one he used when he was a kid eons ago. Anyway, after learning how to solve it, I thought that the logical next step would be building a robot that could do it, and the next morning I started to do just that. The video below is the product of only 2.5 days of work, so while it isn't perfect, there are plenty of ways I can think of to make it better. Note that in the video it is not solving the cube autonomously; I gave it the directions and it carried them out. As of right now, ARCS has no way of actually reading the cube, but I plan to enable that with either a color sensor or a webcam (I think a webcam would be pretty tight). I also have not had to code an AI, because there is no color data yet, but I plan on outlining my program using flowcharts, posting it here, and letting my huge fanbase of intellectual giants poke holes in it and offer suggestions (actually Cammy I think you're the only one :-P). Another future improvement will be structural, because at the moment the yellow claw is too wobbly and does not hold the cube steadily enough, resulting in twists != 90 degrees as you can see from the final two twists in the video. I had to do about 30 takes of the video because of this, for when it twists too much or too little, it binds up the cube and jams it later on. If anyone happens to read this, let me know what you think, and I will try to post again soon.