Our robot performed as expected, and it was fairly entertaining to watch it bounce around the room. The bumper switches are far from perfect, with a blind area in the center of the robot that can get the robot stuck behind table legs and other obstacles too narrow to trigger either of the switches. This problem could be avoided by adding a third, center switch, or by making the robot turn randomly every once in a while.
One serious problem we did initially encounter was with changing the direction of the motors from full speed in one direction to full speed in the other direction. In highly cluttered areas, in which the robot frequently hit obstacles and changed directions, the motor controller would sometimes heat up to the point where the thermal cutoff kicked in, causing the robot to stop for approximately one second. After adding the 50 ms pauses between switching directions, we did not have any problems with the motor controller overheating.
This project shows that building a small robot is very simple when using the Pololu motor controller. In only a few hours, we built a functioning robot that can serve as a starting point for more complicated robots. If you are ready to tackle a new project, you might try adding on our IR beacon to allow the robot to run away from another robot.
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