This week we started to focus on the “how“. We met on Wednesday to discuss about the electronic parts we will buy.
We should be able to source some low-tech parts (motors and battery) from China, and still get an acceptable quality. But Alexis made us realise that getting the radio module (the part allowing the robots to communicate, one of the most important) in China is very risky, and would likely make the whole system poorly reliable. So we had to start again and search for a new solution for communication. The teachers mentioned some interesting solutions, like using a SoC (a single chip including the microcontroller and the RF device). We were also shown a module able to take care of the RF communications and the real-time localisation of the robots : Decawave DW1000. It allows to measure the time of flight of the data packets, and therefore distances between fixed anchors and the robots. The robots will then triangulate their location. These modules look very promising but are unfortunately quite expensive.
We were able to choose some other parts like the H-bridge, and we decided to include a magnetometer, because we checked that our small motors weren’t pertubating magnetometers too much.