The Known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land.  -T.H. Huxley, 1887




This took place during my senior year in undergrad. We had to build a walking robot for a competition in one of my classes. We would then race the robot along a path covered in pencils. You couldn't drag pencils across the finish or starting line, or go outside the side walls. These all incurred penalties. So we had our ideas. We came up with a robot that uses 6 - 4 bar linkages all working together. I did a bunch of calculations to come up with the correct lengths for the legs to give us a smooth ride and enough of a step to go over the pencils. We made the first robot, but it didn't have enough of a step, so we made a bigger one. It was made of plastic that we cut into shapes with a laser. This made a very clean professional looking machine. We also used a variable speed gear box to power the legs. This gave us the ability to easily change speeds. We gave a short presentation before the competition for all the other teams to see. We told them all that we estimated we'd cross the line in 12 seconds. They all thought that was ridiculous, they all had estimated times of around a minute or two. We got to the competition and began the racing. each team was given two runs, taking the best time of the two. One team ran and got a time of 27 seconds, very good, several other teams ran with times of a minute or so. We got up, we decided to run on our low speed, just to be safe. We got a time of 28 seconds, just behind the leader. Everyone ran again, but no one drastically improved, so the time to beat was still 27 seconds. We casually changed the speed to high and set it to go. I pressed the button and it flew, cruising across the field, amazing the crowd, the time - 6 seconds! Half of the time we got laughed at for! Needless to say, we won decisively. Here's some videos and pics of the robot.



Out team name was the turkey raptors, that's where the TR logo comes from.




Video of the Low Speed Run

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Video of the High Speed Run - note all the cheers :)


Launch in external player