39th Annual Engineering Design Competition
Friday, March 8, 2024, 11:00am – 2:00pm, Brown Gym
Five teams of 5 team members each are challenged to design and build up to three remote-controlled (R/C) and semi-autonomous, lighter-than-air (LTA) vehicles (airships) to compete in an aerial "quad ball" competition. Teams score points by intercepting neutrally buoyant, 15-in-diameter balloons and passing them through goals on their opponent's side of the field. Each team's mission is to score the most points during a 4.5-minute match while defending their goals before time runs out. LTA vehicles may be operated manually or autonomously using cameras and object detection algorithms, with more points awarded when balls are secured or scored using the latter capability. The four teams with the most wins by the end of the round-robin tournament will advance to a single elimination final bracket. Winning two games in the final bracket wins the 2023-24 ME72 design competition.
Competition Rules & Tasks
- Each head-to-head match will consist of a 4.5-minute match period during the round-robin phase, during which each team plays every other team once.
- The game will be played on a 50-foot x 25-foot section of the indoor basketball court, and each team may field up to 3 LTA vehicles per match.
- LTA vehicles capture floating, neutrally-buoyant (15-inch diameter) balloons and attempt to pass them through goals in the shape of a circle (36.5-in diameter), square (38-in inside dimension), and equilateral triangle (pointing down with 55-in inside leg height), positioned in each end zone. Goals will be positioned 10 feet above the ground with 4-inch width frames and coated with retro-reflective tape.
- A goal is made by pushing a game ball through any opponent's goal in either direction. Once scored, the LTA vehicle shall come down for the game ball removal/release, then return to gameplay from the center of the field.
- Points are awarded based on whether they are scored by manual or autonomous control of an airship. Capturing a ball using R/C nets a team 1 point, while autonomous capture nets 5 points. Scoring manually is worth 2 points, while scoring autonomously yields 6 points (if the ball was captured manually) and 10 points if it was autonomously captured. Five points are awarded if teams pass a ball from one blimp to another. According to assigned point multipliers, specific goals will have a higher value than others.
- Once scored, the LTA vehicle shall come down for the game ball removal/release, then return to gameplay from the center of the field.
- While defensively tending a goal, an LTA vehicle must maintain a loitering distance of approximately 1 foot or more from the goal unless it actively intervenes with the opponent's attempt to score. An LTA vehicle may not insert itself, grab the goal, or brace itself against it at any time. If an LTA makes contact with the goal 3 times in a single match period, one point will be deducted per contact per additional contact.
- Each team must construct at least 2 LTA vehicles or up to 3 LTA vehicles.
- LTA balloon "envelopes" volume may not exceed 50 cubic feet (1.42 cubic meters).
- Inflatable Helium balloon envelopes must be constructed by teams using metalized heat-sealable film.
- Develop, implement, and optimize radio-controlled communication for remote navigation of the LTA
- Develop computer vision-based autonomous navigation for securing balls and scoring
- Design and develop a balloon catcher mechanism attached to the underside of the LTA for catching and releasing floating neutrally buoyant balloons.
- Design and develop a robust and lightweight structural frame to support the catcher and gondola to securely house batteries, electronics, sensors, and an on-board camera.
- The total payload mass must be minimized to maintain a positive lift of the LTA per a ~1kg/m3 lift capacity of He gas.
|B.O.O.M. (Blimp Operations Of Mayhem)
|Las Aguilas Azules
|M.O.A.B. (Mother Of All Blimps)