When deciding what type of object manipulator or accumulator to use on a competition robot, a designer has a number of specific considerations.
The most important thing is to keep the specific scoring object in mind. It is easy to look at examples and think they will work, but every object has its own unique challenges and requirements. Designers need to focus on the object in question, and design accordingly. Designers can model and simulate design ideas using 3D design software such as Autodesk Inventor prior to building prototypes in order to save valuable build time. Prototypes and experiments will be very helpful as designers learn about the nature of an unknown game object.
Designers need to focus on how the object manipulator will be used in the real world (during a competition match) and take this into account. Some common questions to consider:
- What orientation will the object be in when picked up?
- Does the gripper need to be able to grasp the object from multiple orientations?
- How will the gripper deposit the object?
- Does it need to deposit the object in multiple orientations?
- What orientation change does the object need to make between pickup and deposit?
Any object manipulator or accumulator should maintain a firm grip on the object at all times during possession.
They should be able to quickly and efficiently complete their tasks with minimum wasted motion. Effective designs focus on speed and efficiency and, if possible, will not require precise positioning. As soon as the robot touches the object, it should grab it.
The robot should be designed to allow as little time to elapse as possible between picking up the object and scoring it. Speed & Efficiency are critical!