DeMineCraft (DMC) Worlds was built to be an open innovation ecosystem focused on digital twin-based games with real world impact. The original notion behind DMC involves intertwining two different concepts: robotics and gamification into one big idea – a robot deminer controlled by gamers.
In order to pilot-trial the concept, we narrowed our scope to a remote sweet potato harvester.
There are many systems involved in the design of the harvester – digging, harvesting and storing. We decided to isolate them by introducing a mothership design. Instead of an all-in-one robot, we now have multiple smaller robots tasked to handle different subsystems.
By having smaller systems, designs can be more dedicated, specialised and thus more effective. The nature of such also allows creators and innovators to design compatible mechanisms whenever, wherever and however they want.
Cloning workable designs off the shelves was never an option. We were more interested in exploring unconventional, fun and cool designs. We started off with a ball form factor, designed to dig soil by rolling. From there, we progressed to a worm-shaped robot, tasked with harvesting potatoes.
Our first prototype consists of the mothership, a mini sphere bot and a digger robot. The mothership has a ferris wheel mechanism to store the smaller robots while the sphere bot and digger bot are both specialised in digging. Using a Telegram Bot interface, we were able to communicate with the robots, making them manoeuvre and perform their assigned tasks.
Envisioned goal for 2.0
In the next iteration, we hope to improve the user experience. Instead of a command prompt, some form of gamification can be integrated to gamify the entire experience. Exploring different types of control interface will also be interesting. For example, users can control the robots using gesture or voice.
Enhancement to the current designs can also be done. Better mechanical and electronics features can improve the performance of the robots.