I have been working on brainstorming and prototyping different methods that enable the fleet of blimps the FORAY team is developing to corral a balloon and score it in the appropriate goal. Some factors I need to take into consideration includes the weight of the mechanism, whether we want a passive or active system, and how potential systems may interact with other blimps.
Before I get into the details of my progress thus far, I would like to bring attention to the new and updated FORAY research page which describes the FORAY project in detail as well as the team's goals.
I started by exploring research papers and scoured Youtube for preexisting solutions to this challenge but there did not seem to be any work done in this area. Because of this, I started brainstorming ideas on my own and looked to take inspiration from objects around my house.
My first idea was to add some sort of adhesive to the blimp so that it can stick itself to the balloon and then detatch with the help of the goal hoop to score points. I attached tape to a blimp and immediately realized that there is nothing stopping opponent or even alliance blimps from attaching with each other which would cause serious issues and ruled out the idea.
My first idea was to build a semi-circle "fence" of sorts on top of the blimp so it can glide under and catch the balloon. Potential materials that can be used for this design include barbecue skewers and plastic straws because they are lightweight. The image shown below is a preliminary design to which we would need to add more reinforcement to increase rigidity.
Other ideas that I will be prototyping soon include using a toy firefighter helmet and attaching it to the nose of the blimp to hold the balloon and attaching a net to capture the balloon.
My next steps are to develop prototypes and test the effectiveness of each mechanism.