Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Meetings 012 through 014

There will be more to point out later, but the slide show (click here to view the video) speaks relatively well about what we have been doing the past three meetings.

We have been tweaking the mechanism slightly to add stability and a more professional look, but most of what we have done is work on the color detection algorithms.

We did a major refactoring on week 13, changing a high-low match with a +/- "fudge factor" to a waterfall design where a maximum value for each color is evaluated before the color is determined or passed on to the next color condition. (Hope that's enough detail. I will try to get an NQC sample up in the next few days.)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Meeting 011

Meeting 11 was puzzling. We began by disconnecting all the cables and using electrical contact cleaner to clean them. As the sensors are analog in the old-style RCX, bad contacts can affect the results.

As we ran through our testing refinement, we discovered that every color we tested had exactly the same values.

We had errors of incorrect cabling, quickly fixed, and weird problems with the extra light not being on at all. As it turned out, all the readings we were getting were exactly the same.

Had we inspected the sensor assembly earlier in the meeting, we would have noticed this light and the sensor were not coming on, and easily fixed it. Another hard lesson in working with hardware.

Laura continued to revise the detection program. One key missing ingredient, talked about 10 weeks ago and easily forgotten, was the need to verify if an M&M fell into the range of being yellow or orange, and then run a second test with the auxiliary light on to determine which color it was.