In the Sailbot studio, we learned not only how to build a sailboat, but program it to move the way we want. The goal of this studio was to design, build and program an automated sailboat that would sail in varying conditions, including sailing against the wind. During the first week of our Sailbot studio, we spent most of our time researching different types of sailboats and building prototypes of sailboats to get an idea of the design and function of the boat. Based on this research and prototyping, we found that once testing various different boat models, the catamaran was the most stable. Once we found a boat design we liked, the catamaran sailboat, we started prototyping the second most important part; the sail. This was probably the most challenging part of the project because it was very hard to determine the size and material of the sail, and how to rotate it.
Throughout the process of building our boat, we ran across many challenges. One challenge was coming up with the form and position of the rudder. The rudder was very challenging because we needed to come up with a shape that easily cuts through the water. We also needed to find a way to attach and Servo motor to both the boat and the rudder, and have only the rudder move. Programing the servos was also a very difficult and tedious task. It took a lot of experimentation to find how to make the sail and rudder turn at the correct angle. Once we had finished the programing of the Servo motors, we tested our programming with the boat in the water. The wind plays a large role in the movement of the sailboat, pushing it and giving it speed. The sail and rudder, once programmed, turn the boat according to the wind to make it sail across the water. There is also a sensor above the water that picks up the image attached to the top of the sail and determines the boat’s location and wind condition. Based on this information, the Servo motors change the direction of the sail and the rudder movement. These parts of the boat make it stable and able to maneuver. Our group put a lot of effort into making our boat the best it could be, and we are very pleased with its outcome!