David C., Paul, Chris R., Mateo – Construction Set Robot (Team Jeff)


David Carratu
Paul Gelhaus
Chris Reik
Mateo Guaman

Team Jeff - Construction Set Robot Documentation

Robot Description:
The robot is a construction set that consists of a crane, a conveyor belt and a dump truck. The dump truck has wheels mounted to the brick with a motor to operate a cardboard dump bed. The motor is activated by a button which tips the bed up and brings it back down, dumping the contents. The conveyor belt has a simple frame with 3 black toothed wheels and a motor to run it, with a button to activate it and a brick to control it. The crane uses a large motor at the base to pivot the arm up and down and a medium motor in the claw to open and close the claw. The base is mounted on a large turntable which allows the crane to be rotated in ny direction. The base also has beams extending out to form a stable structure even when the crane arm is horizontal. The two motors are connected to a brick, which is connected to 4 touch sensors- two to bring the crane arm up and down, and two to open and close the claw.

Robot Code:
Our code consisted of three different parts, one for each part of the construction set.

The code for the crane had four while loops, two for each function of the crane. Two of the while loops controlled the lowering and the raising of the arm, while the other two controlled the opening and the closing of the claw. We adjusted the power of the motor that controlled the arm after realizing that the crane needed more power to raise than to lower the arm. The code for the claw simply moved the medium motor for less than a half a second to open and close the claw. We realized that the kids wanted to move the crane while they pressed the button, instead than tapping the button repeatedly. To change this, we need to modify the code so that the buttons wait until the buttons are pressed rather than until the buttons are bumped.

The second part of the code was the one that controlled the conveyor belt. This part of the code consisted of a case structure inside a while loop that would constantly check if the button that activated the conveyor belt was pressed. If it was, it would move a motor until the kid released the button.

The final part of the code controlled the dump truck. The only functionality of the dump truck was to empty its contents when a button was pressed. The dump truck had no motors connected to its wheels so that the kid would be able to play freely. The code for the dump truck waited until the button was pressed, then moved the motor in one direction, waited for half a second, and then moved to its original position.

We asked the following questions in our survey:

How old are you?

  1. 6

  2. 9

  3. 8

  4. 5

  5. 8

  6. 5

  7. 7

  8. 7

Did you have fun playing with the construction set?

  1. Yes

  2. Yes

  3. Yeah

  4. Yes

  5. Yes

  6. I liked it

  7. Yes

  8. Yes

Do you have a construction set at home?

  1. No

  2. No

  3. No

  4. Never played before

  5. No

  6. No

  7. No

  8. No

Do you like playing with construction sets?

  1. Never played with them before

  2. Never played before

  3. Never played before

  4. Yes

  5. Never played before

  6. Never played before

  7. Never played before

  8. Never did before

Was it easy to control the crane and the dump truck? Did you find the controls for the crane easy to use?

  1. All of them

  2. Yes - just make a button to twist the crane

  3. Yes

  4. Yes

  5. A little difficult

  6. The crane was a little difficult to control

  7. A little difficult to control crane

  8. Crane was easy to use

Do you like controlling the crane?

  1. Yes

  2. Yes - “it was awesome”

  3. Yes

  4. Liked the crane the best

  5. Yes

  6. Yes

  7. Yes

  8. Yes -“lt was lots of fun”

Do you like driving around and using the dump truck?

  1. Yes

  2. Yes - “the  dump trunk is awesome”

  3. Yes

  4. Yes

  5. Yes

  6. Yes

  7. Yes

  8. Yes

Do you like watching the conveyor belt?

  1. Yes

  2. Yes

  3. Yes

  4. Yes

  5. Liked the conveyor belt the best

  6. Liked the conveyor belt the best

  7. Liked the conveyor belt the best

  8. Liked the conveyor belt the best

How well was the child able to perform the task (1-5)?

  1. 3

  2. 4

  3. 3

  4. 2

  5. 4

  6. 4

  7. 3

  8. 5

Survey Findings & Next-time Improvements:
Overall,  from our survey we found that the kids really liked our construction set toy and enjoyed playing with it. Most kids have said they have not played with a similar toy before. We noticed that some kids were easily able to operate the crane while others had difficulty and told us it was hard. Generally, the older kids (7-9) were able to control the crane fairly easily  while younger kids (4-6) had more difficulty controlling the crane. Out of the crane, conveyor belt, and dump trunk parts of our set we found that the most favorite was the crane, then the conveyor built, and then the dump trunk.

In addition to the survey, we watched how the construction set functioned and took notes on what we could improve for the final showcase. We decided that for the final showcase we will make several improvements to our robotic construction set. We will incorporate a motor to spin the crane automatically instead of having kids rotate the crane with their hands. We will also make sides for the conveyor belt to ensure that the stick remains on the belt (we noticed that it fell off a couple of times). We also need to improve the triangle supports for the sticks to allow the crane to pick up the sticks more easily. Final, we need to improve the controls of the crane to make them easier for the kids’ to control and more intuitive. We will convert our linear button layout to a layout similar to a keyboard's up,down, left, right keys. This should be more intuitive and similar for the children to use. 


Code for the crane, trunk, and conveyor belt 

conveyorbelt_5848ba79af767Conveyor Belt.vi20.93 KB
finalproject_5848ba7a2ded8final project.vi50.30 KB
truckcode_5848ba7a9996eTruck code.vi28.97 KB

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *