This is the design process we will follow for the Rover Ruckus season. It was described to us by Jason Feldman, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
1. Frame the Problem
Develop an understanding of the problem.
2. Extract Key Requirements
Identify the key issues and goals that need to be accomplished.
Start coming up with ideas. Be creative and open to new ideas.
Only one rule: Do not criticize people’s ideas.
4. Cut out the Bad Ideas
This is where you begin to criticize ideas. Your goal is to find the ideas that are simple, build-able, operable, testable, fixable, and most importantly, reliable.
5. Architect the System
After down selecting the brainstorming, find how the different mechanisms play together and how they will fit on the robot.
6. Initial Design of Subsystems
Focus on what the difficult parts are of your selected mechanisms and learn how to make them efficiently.
Create “lite” versions of your proposed mechanisms quickly and efficiently in order to try different methods and see what works best.
8. Initial Testing
Test your prototypes and see what problems result from the prototype.
9. Review 1 (Independent Eyes)
After growing accustomed to the design, the possibility of missing an obvious problem or solution increases. This is when we bring in an expert who has not seen the design to provide us with constructive criticism and solutions to our problems.
10. Fix the Problems
After the initial review, we fix the problems with solutions that we developed with the experts that we reached out to. This is when we adjust and “push-back” on our design, meaning we should partially ditch a design and make an improved version of it.
11. Re-Prototype (Brassboards)
Start to prototype the improved design quickly in order to learn from trial and error and keep improving it.
12. Review 2
After going through trial and error with our prototypes and made them as best as we could, we bring back the same experts and ask for constructive criticism on our design. This is helpful because we can ask them how to solve the problems we developed even after the designing an improved product.
Here we build our “final” product with all the improvements from our previous review.
This is when we should test our design in a test free environment and get to learn our robot and how it works while operating.
15. Operational Workarounds
Create a safe and efficient strategy to operate the robot.
16. Dress Rehearsal
Test the robot in a pressured environment: usually a scrimmage or practice match in front of an audience.
17. Lessons Learned
Once the season is over, reflect on the issues that we can learn from in order to be better next year.