Montgomery College Swarmathon
Montgomery College Swarmathon, 2017 Competition:
In 2017 the Montgomery College Swarmathon team participated in the Swarmathon Virtual Competition were they created algorithms for the virtual Swarmies to collect resources (cubes) in a virtual arena built by Gazebo software. As described in the rules, teams may not communicate with their robots in any way during the competition. All robot actions must be autonomous.
Montgomery College Swarmathon team with their mentor Dr. Kuijt participated in the Virtual Competition of 2017 against 15 other teams in the Virtual Competition. The code developed by the Montgomery College students collected the most cubes in total, which led the team to win first place in the competition. During the Summer 2017, while Montgomery College Swarmathon team was waiting for the University of New Mexico and NASA to send the robot’s parts, started getting ready by doing researche about the different challenges the team is going to face in physical competition.
Couple of weeks after starting the Fall semester we have received the the rovers from NASA which we had to assemble.
After assembling the rovers and doing research, it was time to start programming on the physical rovers. From the start we noticed the virtual competition, which Montgomery College Swarmathon team won last year, is quite different form the physical environment.
Some of the challenges our new requiters should have faced were :
- Getting familiar with open source environment (Ubuntu 16.04)
- Understanding how ROS (Robot Operating System) works
- Testing the code using Gazebo
- Overcoming the differences between virtual and real world environment
Writing the code which would work ,the way we wanted, on the real world needed constant tests.
Since we knew the rovers would act different based on the environment we had to test it outside because the competition was going to be held on asphalt.
The other part of competition is to familiarizing the society around us, specially the high school students, with Swarmathon and the goals we are perusing.
The Montgomery College Swarmathon team utilizes social media extensively as part of student outreach efforts, because the team believes social media is not only an effective and efficient way to communicate to students, but is the best way to gain the attention and interest of a younger audience. The team developed the following platforms to streamline information access for students, and provide a follow up method to keep students engaged with Swarmathon and STEM.
To learn more about us, you can follow us on social networks or download the MC Swarm iOS application.