Robots are complicated and don’t always work correctly. That is why it is often far easier to do robotic design work in a simulation – they work perfectly every time there. Previously, our RoboCup team did not have any easy simulation tools, especially for testing behavior algorithms or strategies, which often require all the robots to be running for useful analysis. So, I took it upon myself to try and build such a simulation.
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If you have read my previous post you will know that I recently built an automated ball catcher and programmed it to track and catch a ball. In this post I will talk about the software behind making the catcher work. The structure of the software can be broken down as follows: initialization, image analysis, flight path analysis, and cart control.
Launch a ball. Track the ball. Catch the ball. It is a simple concept - one that we humans learn at a very young age while playing ‘catch.’ But to get a robotic system to perform similar actions is a very different game. In this project I will talk about how I built and programmed my own autonomous system to track a ball in flight and catch it in an autonomous cart.