The Stair-Climber: My Idea for the Scholarship Contest
My name is Brian Smith and I am a recent graduate of Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina. I have done research in the field of robotics in the past for science competitions. I will be attending Georgia Tech beginning in the fall.
What I would like to do with the iRobot Create is simply to extend the original functionality of the Roomba by allowing the robot to both scale and vacuum a carpeted staircase.
From a functional perspective, ideally the robot would clean the first floor of a a two story house for some predetermined period of time, and then climb the stairs, cleaning them on ascent. The robot would then clean the second floor of the house for a predetermined period of time before descending the stairs once more to recharge and then begin the cycle again.
As far as implementation is concerned, the first step of the cleaning process is quite straightforward; the robot will clean the first floor randomly using the same or similar algorithms as the Roomba.
After the predetermined cleaning period for the first floor has elapsed, things get a bit more complicated. The robot will then seek out an infrared beacon marking the base of the staircase to begin ascending/cleaning the stairs. For this task, the mechanics of the system will be just as important as the software. Essentially, the robot must square itself with the first stair at which point it will deploy its equipped "stair rails" which creates a ramp which the robot can use to ascend the first stair. The robot then collects the rails, cleans the first step, and redeploys the rails to ascend the second step. This process continues for each step until the robot reaches the second floor of the house.
The then robot resumes random cleaning of the second floor. By similar principles, the robot then descends the stairs and finds its recharging station on the first floor.
Although I feel that this project will be challenging, I also feel that it is reasonably within my capabilities to be completed by the deadline.