Fighting an epic battle against school work and boredom, I have finally assembled the majority of Emu‘s control module. The servos, propellers, interface board, and battery are all properly integrated. The only things left are mounting the camera and the Arduino on a carbon fiber arm so that they are far enough apart that they don’t cause radio interference. After that, it’s just a matter of tying the contraption to a few balloons and hoping it flies. From only holding the thing, I estimate it to be around 150-200 grams. About the carrying capacity of 2 balloons. Already, this is one less balloon than last year’s blimp. And that’s ignoring the thrust of the propellers, which are expected to add 60 grams of vertical lift. Factoring in ground effects, I just might be able to have Emu skitter across the competition field like a hovercraft on just one balloon. That would also double my score, since I’m penalized by volume. Hmm… interesting strategy.
Also, having just Googled rival schools’ websites for espionage purposes (i.e. “Rowan IARC”), I just noticed that their team size last year was 13… 10 CS majors and 3 Engineers. And they “…won second place in the IARC 2010 robotics competition, ahead of schools such as Drexel, TCNJ, or UPenn.” *facepalm* We weren’t even there! Oh well… Next time, this time. We’ll put up a fight.
Update: As far as I can tell, UPenn wasn’t at the 2010 competition. It was Penn State. Is Rowan claiming victory against ghosts?