I was trying to think of a way make pointing the launcher to the goal quick and easy without using gyros, (because of drift) and complicated programming. I thought of having visual aid on the robot kind of like a lazar pointer to help with aiming in user control.
the only vex legal solution I could come up with would be to shape a vex legal piece of plastic to be used as a lens for the vex flashlight.
first of all, is the vex flashlights bright enough to even attempt this (I don’t own one)? also, does anyone know a product that could be made into a lens that is vex legal?
If teams are going for full field shots, it might be easier to make your own sight using zipties, metal, or even plastics. Or you can place colored markings on your robot and make sure they overlap with the edges of the field tiles to ensure you have the right angles for various shots. Probably the fastest would be an alignment device which goes of the corner of the field, or the low goal barrier, but of course that may create problems with your alliance partner
Thanks for the response, but the purpose of the flashlight would not be for it to give feedback to the cortex in any way. it would be used only to help the driver manually aim at the target before shooting in user control at multiple pre designated areas. still, I have found that it may be hard to make a vex legal "aimer" using the vex flashlight to be worth it. although a lot depends on how bright the vex flashlight is. I have been using a small Harbor Freight flashlight and have got some results I think are worth trying on the vex flashlight.
I always hope I’m the only one with a certain idea… it never works that way.
I’ve used a heat gun to heat and form some Lexan into a lens shape. It can definitely bend the light (tested on 1/8" material), but it probably clouds the light more than directs it. And to get a proper lens shape, polished enough to be effective would be really, really difficult. From an official Q&A heating and custom forming (other than just bending) is considered “molding” or “casting” and a no-go.
My next step was going to be to get some reflective PET and direct the light and block all but a thin line of light used for aiming. If the flashlight is anything like my LED light I’ve been testing, just creating a “barn door” to restrict the light isn’t enough because of how the parabolic mirror behind the bulbs reflect the light.
I wouldn’t get my hopes up about using a plastic that comes with a reflective coating - I doubt it would be legal. Probably the best you could do with plastic is to use it to make a lens or take advantage of its critical angle to produce some kind of reflector. Even then, you’re limited in what you have for a light source and some tournaments are so brightly illuminated, I think it would be hard to see anything projected from an LED. I hope somebody can prove me wrong, though.
I haven’t put much thought into the use of lights for aiming but I’ve thought about having a secondary driver who’s sole purpose is to pay attention to what tile the robot is on and will adjust flywheel speed when needed. Of course this will take a lot of practice. The option I thought of was a field mapping program where the robot sort of knew where it was from feedback of sensors. Judging by that it could determine wheel speed.
It’s a very tough challenge to overcome, I’m pessimistic about it myself.
Having said that, it doesn’t have to be the full 12 feet and on the mesh (though that would be ideal). 6 feet away and on the field tiles might give you the aiming info you need to make a shot. It might be better than nothing for the first shot.
This is a good point. Even just shining it so that it creates a ‘streak’ on the floor directly in front of your robot will give you an idea of the direction. It is sometimes hard to really tell exactly how the robot is oriented, and even a small line on the floor may aid in accuracy.