eDSP – Soooo, I’m back in the country…

I’ve returned from almost a month in Lithuania, where I took part in an intensive project of embedded digital signal processing (eDSP)
The project took the form of three competitions, with the entrants being made up of mixed international teams. The platform was based around a PSoC, AVR, PIC or whatever micro-controller that you fancied, with one team using an Arduino.

Competition one was a straight line distance task, with a number of teams failing to have a functional craft in time for the competition (Including my own due to hardware issues with the PSoC platform [eventually traced to a corrupt project file], we switched to the PIC18F4520 after this, having a functional circuit on competition day, but requiring a voltage reg at the last minute to power the PIC, which we didn’t have chance to implement in time).

Competition two was a remote control task, with the options of Bluetooth or IR available. This competition went much better than the first and we ended up coming in second place, missing out on extra points due to an error on my part of pressing the kill button, but not actually sending the character from HTERM, causing the craft to overshoot the finish box. The points we gained took us from joint last, straight up to 4th position.

And this is a video of testing the bluetooth functionality, sending ASCII chars via HTERM. As you can see the design of the hovercraft made it very manoeuvrable with the thrust fans located at the midpoint.

Competition three was an autonomous line following task which I was absent from for most of the week thanks to an infection that knocked me right out of play… My team got the craft somewhat near to what we needed in my absence, despite being thrown in at the deep-end with the PIC platform which they had never used. I returned for the competition day after being prodded, poked and stabbed in a private hospital, then being dosed up on meds, and set to work ironing out the bugs with the craft, we ended up re-writing the code from scratch and repositioned the sensors in order to get the craft semi-functional for the imminent competition. Round one and two of the competition didn’t go so well, with not many points being picked up by anyone.
Then we were allowed some tinkering time before a third round, at which point we had another complete overhaul of the code to make the craft much more accurate, and at the same time, alot slower, with a delay cutting the power to the motors every few seconds to avoid the craft drifting. The third round went much better and saw us picking up some more points.

In the end we managed to come in second place, behind Group 8 who had been the leaders in each of the competitions, not bad considering we were joint last after the first competition. We were also the first team to ever use the PIC in three years of the project running.

Here are a few pictures from the project (Dropbox)

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