Although I envisioned doing this long ago, we finally started a group at work doing robotics using the Lego MindStorms Robotic Invention System.
Our first meeting was spent providing an introduction to the Lego MindStorms system, demonstrating the various sensors and motors, and how the RCX worked. We talked about project ideas, and chose a candy sorter as our first project.
The last thing we did in meeting one was kick around some very basic design ideas for the candy sorter. In doing so, we learned that we had initial conceptual views which varied greatly from one another. This will definitely be an advantage in problem-solving, and it will be fascinating to see how we narrow down our designs to one type, and then refine them.
In this case, although we had some other variations, the two predominant design concepts were a hopper-fed mechanism and a robot that would navigate within a defined area and retrieve candy scattered there. Both seemed valid initially, although we elected a hopper-fed design due to problems we foresaw with a gathering-type robot pushing candies outside of the gathering area.