Thank you to everyone that has taken part in the recent contest to design and build a robot for an industrial application. The response to the contest exceeded my expectations, and for several weeks it was a challenge just to keep up with all the excellent questions from all the designers!
I met with several members of my company to review the design submissions, and I wish you could have seen the reactions of the group as they watched the videos, reviewed the CAD designs, NXT programs, pictures, and all the material that we received. Most of the review panel was made up of seasoned engineers and industry veterans, and they were all completely impressed with the level of professionalism and ‘out of the box’ thinking that was displayed. Our company is very supportive of creative ideas and collaborative thinking, and this project definitely extended our pool of creative thinkers!
We judged all the submissions on these criteria:
Robustness: Will the robot be able to withstand the rigors of a factory environment, and be able to run continuously? Was there a 24 hour test conducted and reported?
Presentation: Did the designer submit all the necessary items (Video of a working robot, CAD drawings, Build Instructions, NXT program)? Was there a WOW factor?
Repeatability: Does the robot deliver the required amount of pellets in the specified timeframe? How much variability was there?
Quick Change: Can the pellets be changed from one color to another easily, or is there some manipulation required?
No Spills or Contamination: Do the pellets get delivered without spilling? Is it an open or sealed container?
Simplicity: Is the design simple and clean looking, or complex?
Each criteria was rated on a scale of 1 to 5, then all the scores added together for a final score. I will contact each person directly to let them know what their actual score was, but here are the results:
Gold Prize: Jonathan, for Pellet Picker $125
Silver Prize: Dismay, for Pellet Mover $75
Bronze Prize: RoboLab 2.9 for The Pellet Machine $50
Our next step (NXTStep!) is to purchase an NXT unit and to build Jonathan’s robot and do some extended tests to verify the robustness, accuracy, and repeatability. If we’re confident that it will stand up to our industrial environment, we will be using the robot in our process! We may also work with the team of designers above to collaborate on working through any issues that may come up during our extended trials.
Thank you again for taking part, it has been a great experience, and perhaps we’ll think up another contest in the future!-----
Congratulations to the winners from all of us here at The NXT Step blog. We'll be on the lookout for similar projects in the future. That said, if you work for (or own) a company that has an idea for possibly integrating the NXT robot kit into a work project, let us know and we might be able to help facilitate a future contest for you.