Dawson Laboratories has been revolutionizing the robotics industry with our state-of-the-art robots and experimentation devices. We are proud to present our latest and greatest innovation ever since the company’s revival, to be put to the test in CRC Robotics’ Arcanum 2022 competition on April 28th-30th.

Lots of research and development were spent ensuring the robot functions as intended and exceeded our quality standards of performance and reliability. The robot has accessible and replaceable components for ease of maintenance and comprised of various parts and safety mechanisms to ensure that it always works when it is needed.

Organization and Methodology

Organization is key in building the robot. With COVID-19 it is inevitable to be prepared and organized digitally, not only in-person. Not only is it safer to go online due to limited contact, but it was convenient so that the team can work on the robot designs and ideas anywhere and with greater flexibility.

For the robot to happen, we need ideas. The robot team was tasked to design their own ideas of the robots, taking into consideration the set components of the robot. Rough sketches were drawn out on paper or digitally, and robot and mechanism designs were conceptualized either physically on a whiteboard and/or electronically using Sketchup and Fusion 360 software.

Ideas were then shared on Discord and/or presented live. Ideas were based on designs of existing products. For instance, one idea was based on autonomous tennis ball collectors for picking up tennis balls, or golf balls in the case of the competition. It gives many options to consider going forward for each mechanism, and one is chosen based on what works based on prior experiences from previous competitions.


The robot is composed of a base with two complex mechanisms and electrical components that allow it to complete tasks that the game demands. The mechanisms include the pickup and elevator mechanisms. The Robot workers are split among the mechanisms, each with a designated leader, while making sure they fit in the overall design. Ultimately, the goal of the robot is to collect “nanobots", store and transport them, and release them in a precise, height-specific manner.


The base is two feet by two feet wide. This integrates the primary structure of the robot, as well as the specialty Mecanum wheels. It secures all other mechanisms to the robot.

As an integral piece to the robot, it is designed with stability and structure in mind. Corners are reinforced using screws to make it easy to repair in case the structure is damaged. Additionally, two reinforcing bars making up the inner frame secure the robot from front to back, allowing the wheels to connect between it and the outer frame of the robot. Hinges on the back attach the pickup mechanism and mountings in the inner frame are for the elevator mechanism. Finally, the electrical components are placed in between the inner frames, away from potential external damage, with two battery holders to secure the robot’s crucial power source.



Team Lead: Rowan

The pickup mechanism is what we are using to collect and transfer the playing pieces to the elevator mechanism. It uses a conveyor belt to pick up the golf balls and presses them against an aluminum backplate to roll them upwards and into the robot.


Team Lead: James and Jason

The elevator mechanism comprises of a storage unit and a forklift mechanism. It is used to store and release golf balls to varying heights. It also integrates a funnel mechanism to pick up falling pieces from the reservoir. This mechanism allows the robot to fix the triage centre due to the adjustable height capabilities.

Elevator Brainstorming

The structure composes of a combination of cardboard, aluminum extrusion and brackets. Rack and pinion systems move the elevator vertically made of strong plastic. With our patented Pouring Energy-Nominal Interchangeable System©, it is the most innovative mechanism of its kind, doing triple duty as a collector, a storage container, and a height adjustable release mechanism. A lot of time was taken to align and calibrate the mechanism with low tolerances and ensuring smooth operation. At the same time, it was made easy to repair should something go wrong down the line. This is ultimately the most complex piece of the entire robot, and care is taken to ensure its reliability and ease of maintenance.


Team Lead: Nicholas Rambally

The robot contains various electrical components in connecting and powering the other mechanisms. Combined with the work from the programming team, it is the heart and bloodstream of the robot, commanded by a video game controller.

The various electrical components controlling different parts of the robot are as follows:


Robots like this require an internal source of power to allow it to freely move around without a wire to power it from the wall. To achieve this, a battery source is needed.

The batteries included in the robot use sealed absorbent glass mat technology from Enerwatt. It provides capacity and power necessary to operate the robot. It is also easily replaceable when the job demands a longer runtime.

Motor controller:

Motor controllers allow the motors to operate in variable speed. In the case of the elevator mechanism, it can achieve specific positioning. Four VEX Pro Victor SP individually control the power going to the wheels. Its small size is crucial in saving space in the robot, and fitting into the electrical compartment while maintaining easy access for repairs.


Motors are what propel the robot’s functions. It is crucial that the correct motors are used in sensible places to ensure smooth operation, high performance and reliability.

With the robot’s modularity, there are 10 to 11 motors in the robot. Basically:

  • Four RobotZone motors from ServoCity move the robot. These 437 rpm motors produce the torque needed to propel the robot with its weight of “nanobots” to a suitable speed during the competition. Each are attached to a mechanum wheel and are direct drive. The lack of a complex transmission mechanism ensures reliability, with the only intermediary being the hub that connects the motors and the wheel.
  • Five VEX motors control the elevator mechanism. Four of these motors raise and lower the elevator mechanism and one controls the release mechanism. Precision is key for this mechanism to work and multiple VEX motors are used to be able to sustain a load of nanobots.
  • One GoBilda 60 rpm motor propels the pickup mechanism. The torque provided by the low rpm motor allows it to propel “nanobots” to the upper level without a hitch.
  • One Gobilda 30 rpm motor can be added when being tasked to activate the turbo.