Vorpal Hexapod Activity: Climb the Mountain

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Contents

Required Items

  • One or more Vorpal Hexapods
  • A computer with the ScratchX extension loaded
  • A USB A to mini cord to attach the gamepad to your computer

Activity Procedure

  • Create a flat obstacle (the "mountain") that is high enough that even high step mode won't allow Vorpal to get on top.
    • It needs to be flat and at least a foot wide and about a foot deep. A height of 3 inches is about right.
    • Some ideas for the object include a large book, a piece of scrap wood, or a sheet of corrugated cardboard that is held up by books or blocks of wood.
    • Don't make the playing surface too slippery. Corrugated cardboard makes a good top surface for the mountain.
    • Make sure the mountain is stable, either heavy enough that it won't slide while Vorpal tries to climb it, or tape it down to the table or floor using masking tape or duct tape.
  • The challenge is to create a Scratch program that will allow Vorpal to climb onto the mountain. Vorpal starts in a standing position facing the mountain, with front legs touching the base of the mountain.
  • This will require a bunch of steps to complete. For example, first move the front legs out to the sides, then raise them, then move hips to the front so they are over the mountain. After that, students will need to reposition the middle legs, scoot forward, reposition again, etc.
  • Teams have a fixed amount of time to come up with a solution. Scoring teams is as follows:
    • One point for each leg that is on top of the mountain. To score, a leg does not have to be touching the mountain, it could be hovering over it. But if you trace a vertical line from the tip of the leg down, that line should intersect the top surface of the mountain.
    • The maximum score of six legs can only be achieved if Vorpal is entirely on the mountain of course!
    • If two or more teams tie for the most legs on the mountain, the team whose solution runs the fastest wins.
  • Note: This is a challenging assignment! Experiment to find the best way get on that mountain! Be creative and keep trying.

Hints

  • The Set Legs, Set Hips, and Set Knees blocks will be the main thing you need to use.
  • Advanced: use a variable for the timing of each individual motion, that way you can slow the action way down and see what's working and what's not working. For example, set the timing variable to 2 seconds while debugging your climb. At the end when the motions seem to work, speed the action up! Note that it typically takes 0.15 to 0.2 seconds for a moderately large servo motion to complete.

Variations

  • Climbing Stairs: if several student groups are able to climb the single step mountain, create "stairs" of the same dimensions and try putting the code in a loop to climb more than once.
  • Maximum Height: start with a low height, then increase by putting sheets of paper or cardboard under the surface. How high a mountain can you climb?
    • Send us a video of your climb and tell us the height as accurately as possible, and we will post a leader board on this page! Be sure to put a ruler in the frame so we can confirm the height.