Who we are – introducing TCR

11 December 2020 in ,

Hey everyone, this is our introduction video in article form.

[Aaron] Welcome to the first video on the TCR channel. My name is Aaron and I’m 50% of the team currently working on TCR.

[Finn] Hi, I’m Finn and I am the other half of TCR. Because I operate the camera you probably won’t see me as much in our videos. Aaron and I are both attending university here in Hamburg, Germany. While Aaron studies computer science and engineering, I’m focused on mechatronics engineering engineering and now back to Aaron.

[Aaron] As indicated by the choice of fields of study, we both are majorly interested in science, technology and engineering. I lean more to the software side while Finn leans more to the hardware side. But in my opinion this makes us the perfect team. In our limited free time we like to work on projects that enable us to deepen our knowledge.

And basically that is what this YouTube channel will be about: We want to take you along and mediate some of the stuff that we learned through this journey to give you an easier entry point into doing such projects on your own as well.

That is the next big step for TCR! Because the origins of TCR are going way back to 2011.

History

It all started in 6th grade. Finn and I were in the same class in highschool here in Germany. We both participated in the robotics club and formed a team with two other students.

A year later we switch leagues to Rescue Line which is hosted within the RoboCupJunior. The main objective was to follow a black line with some obstacles along the way and rescue a soda can at the end of the parkour. This should simulate an emergency situation in which the robot has the task to rescue the victims.

In the beginning we used a Robot build out of standard Lego components combined with a graphical programming language, but switched to a C++ based programming language pretty soon.

Our next robot still used a NXT-Brick as it’s main component, but was extended with a custom designed PCB to communicate to Lego-foreign sensors like our 6 tiny light sensors. In that year we were able to win the 1st price at the GermanOpen, flew to the WorldCup in Brazil and placed 3rd. We even got the “Best Practice in Development”-Award.

The next logical step was to build an entire robot from scratch without Lego-Components. We learned a lot during that process, but to be fair it took us a long time as well. On Top of this foundation we developed new concepts especially related to rule changes. For example intersection with a small green spot were added. The indicator showed in which direction you had to turn.

Our solution to this problem was to add a camera, which analyzed the relative position of the green spot to the intersection and send this information to our main Controller. We even wrote a paper about that, which contributed to our Abitur grade.

If you want to learn more about that or our robotics history in general, we build a small sub-site rescue.tcrobotics.eu regarding that subject with some additional links, but most of our resources are in German. Enjoy!

After we graduated our participation in these leagues ended. Nevertheless we want to keep the idea behind TCR alive, start small and big projects, learn through them and take you along the way.

Project Poseidon

I’m quite confident that everyone at least heard about this small science experiment called waterrockets. It´s used to give kids an intuition for how rockets work in a fun way instead of directly starting off with formulas and the corresponding confusion. Of course hopefully one day they want to learn those formulas, embrace the confusion and become an engineer, but the intuition from these early days is very valuable.

Talking about rockets, a lot has changed over the past ten years in the space sector. Ten years ago it was normal to throw away an entire rocket after it finished the job. Nowadays SpaceX has shown that it’s possible to reuse the first stage of a rocket with minimal refurbishment in between and probably will be able to reuse an entire rocket in the near future.

With Project Poseidon we want to learn more about the mathematics, hardware and software that enable today’s rockets. And just like in the beginning we want to utilize waterrockets for that. Yes, they will be considerably more complex than a simple bottle. The Rocket will be electronically controlled, include multiple solenoid valves, have a thrust vectoring control system etc. etc.. It is also planned to build two pathfinder vehicles. We even started building the first pathfinder called FAR which should help us understand the math behind waterrockets. But more on that in a separate introduction video about Project Poseidon in the next month or so.

With our upcoming videos regarding Project Poseidon we hope to provide you with both the intuition as well as some formulas – at least to an extent we both are familiar with – like the simple waterrockets did in the past.

Project GameHub

We aren’t just working on waterrockets but a whole other project as well. It isn’t quite as ambitious as Project Poseidon, but nevertheless a quite interesting idea – at least that’s what we think.

The GameHub enables a true local multiplayer experience with the concept of “digital tabletop games”.

The GameHub creates a WiFi-Network and host a webserver which is needed to process the ongoing game. Each player than connects to the WiFi and visits a specific website. Depending on the game the smartphone than can be laid flat on the table or can only be visible for the corresponding player. The Hub functions as a buzzer as well and the intended feature set could enable a variety of games.

Currently we only are working on one game called “Hit-it”. More on that and the GameHub in General in a future video, probably at the beginning of next year, because it is kind of a tradition to build a new revision of it for new years eve and try it out with friends and family. Even though due to the special circumstances this year the test group will be quite small.

Conclusion

Starting with this video we plan to publish at least a video a month. Because we are just getting started nothing is set in stone. We will try out different formats, video durations and more until we found our style. TCR is also just a hobby, so expect some droughts for example when the exams get closer.

If you are interested in what we do please check out our website tcrobotics.eu and social media channels, links to all of them are provided in the video description. Especially on the Website you can find more information about our Projects than was covered in this video.

That’s it for today’s video, we hope you liked it and are open for any kind of constructive feedback or comments regarding the video, our projects or something else.

Bye! Until the next time.

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