Antweight Cluster Bot

My entry into Tinkersoc’s first ant-weight robot wars - Two 70 gram wedge-bots.

To celebrate the start of the new academic year, TinkerSoc hosted their first ‘ant weight’ combat match. The rules were simple: the competitors’ bots have 150 grams’ weight limit, must fit within a 4” cubed box and must not use overly destructive weaponry. I entered the only cluster-bot into the fight, two wedge-bot twins called ‘Orphan Black’.

Each ‘Orphan’ was designed in Autodesk Inventor. They weigh just shy of 70grams and were primarily SLS printed in nylon for its strength and in places, flexibility. Each bot also has a light-weight, chemical etched, aluminium wedge. For electronic control I used a WeMos D1 mini (ESP-8266EX dev board) and a driver IC (TB6612FNG) to keep the weight down.

Thanks to the use of a Wii Numchuck, the Orphans proved to be highly maneuverable in combat; however, they fell victim to the large amount of WiFi in use at the freshers faire (each bot had a habit of dropping connection to their control stick). Being regularly one bot down, meant the Orphan Black team was quite easy to push about by the larger bots.

For future fights, I might move the Orhpans to a micro-processor with BLE, rather than WiFi, to provide the bots with better noise resilience in high-density places and to also allow people to participate with their mobile phones.