3pm to 4pm

est January 13th 2022

Useful Links:

Competition 1:          The Design Brief

Having experimented with ultrasonics, line following, sensor options and accurate steering code, we are ready to define our objectives for the first competition entry as follows:

To design and build a robot that can explore a potentially dangerous environment where there is a suspected gas leak; to sense and image the area before retracing it’s route back. The robot must not cause any danger of igniting the gas through sparks; must be able to navigate obstacles in its path; and needs to maintain a secure communication link with the operator at all times.

The proposed solution:

(plus see our working wall for pupil-generated idea points):

A Kitronik robot carrying a Raspberry Pi connected to the Micro:Bit. The Raspberry Pi continually receives data from a LPG / Propane / Hydrogen sensor which causes the Raspberry Pi to trigger a “return to base” message to the Micro:Bit in the event that gas is detected.

The whole unit is contained within a Faraday cage to prevent any sparking. The robot will enter the dangerous area using ultrasonics to detect for obstacles, drawing a black line behind it (using a thick black pen / paint pen).

Whenever a positive gas reading is made, the robot spins 180 degrees, stops navigating by ultrasonic and follows the black line back to where it started from.

The Raspberry Pi also relays video footage from a night-vision camera to the operator via WiFi and VNC Viewer app running on a tablet computer.

Other options:

  • A second AI-powered robot
  • A servo mounted pen that can be raised once line drawing stage is complete
  • A visit to a nearby industrial unit to check practicalities.

Week 6:           Assembling the code / considering the design options

We were delighted to welcome Sarah Taylor from the Odyssey Hub this week. Sarah encouraged us to continue working as a team towards our ambitions and enjoyed a demonstration of William’s AI EPQ coding skills.

Week 7:           Combining the code / developing the design 

We are now in a race against time. With the PA Consulting competition closing date just over one week away, we are eager to show the system working.

The code for the chassis of the robot (ie the Kitronik with Micro:Bit)  is shown below. We have brought together the following three core elements:

  1. Roam freely using ultrasonics for navigation
  2. {once signal received from the R Pi to indicate the presence of dangerous gas} Spin 180
  3. {then} Follow the black line to return to the original point of deployment


This link shows the code in action and can be edited


Our remaining mission is to connect the MQ-2 gas sensor to the Raspberry Pi via an analogue to digital converter and voltage regulator (all mounted on a breadboard) then use this data feed to trigger the above Micro:Bit code in the event that a noxious gas is detected. Here is a tutorial for same that we will be following.

The same Raspberry Pi will send a webcam view along with some useful metadata to the operator via WiFi.

Week 8: The PA Competition Entry page

For more details of the demo build please click here

For useful club files click the folder below:

The images below relate to what we offer in the club:

This video was made last year by the Transition Group:

Coming soon: space links!