Eternal Jamnation (EJ) wasn’t our first bot. We had had the pleasure of competing in 2 previous Pi Wars competitions before EJ was a twinkle in a microchip’s eye.

Our first bot was called Pithagoras and was made of Lego with a card shell over the top in the shape of a slice of raspberry pie since our community club was called Slice of Pi. At this stage no one involved in the team had ever tried doing anything like this before and whilst fun, the learning curve was steep.

As such we wanted to keep things simple, Lego was an easy choice to build the robot chassis from, and we had a simple motor controller for the Pi and a wireless keyboard for controlling the robot.

Although this was the club’s first effort we did manage some notable achievements. The club won the code quality prize at Pi Wars 2015 thanks to the dedication of our lead coder and we were the only team on the day that managed a lap of the line follower course using a camera rather than IR senor bars.

Buoyed by this early success, when Pi Wars 2017 was announced we decided we would enter again and see what we could do with the knowledge we had gained from doing it previously and a better understanding of what might work well and what to avoid (keyboard controls!!).

Pithagoras2 A.K.A The Brain was our second bot. This time with a body made out of model plastic sheets, an upgraded motor controller, Wii Mote and Nunchuck for controlling the bot and two Pi’s on-board (Pi 2 and Pi Zero).

This time our best event was the Obstacle Course as the upgraded bot control method and high ground clearance helped us to a clean round. Thanks to an amazing bot design and knitting skills from one of our club members we came away from Pi Wars 2017 with a special prize for novel use of materials and a determination to build another new bot.

After a few weeks off to recover from the efforts of Pi Wars 2017 the club met to plan what activities we were going to do next. Unfortunately a change in interests and other activities meant that the club ended up shrinking to almost half the number of members it had before.

For those that remained we decided to become a more informal Pi Club and would solely concentrate on producing a bot for the next Pi Wars and meet more regularly to ensure that the project didn’t end up getting rushed in the last few months before competition time.

With this in mind the club set about planning the next robot and so the foundations were laid for the creation of Eternal Jamnation.