School Project: What's the best way to do this?

Hi. I have to do a project for my computer architecture class that involves putting some cans in a circle and having a lego robot push all of the cans
out of the circle. The robot must stay in the circle.
The circle will be a white piece of cardboard with a black stripe around the edge. Our lego robots can use light and touch sensors. The brains of this operation will consist of MIT handyboards.
I'm wondering what the best way to do this would be. Should the robot start in the middle, go forward until it hits the edge, then go back to the center, rotate a bit, and go back to the edge again? Or, when it hits the edge, should it then turn around and look for more cans? It must start in the middle of the circle.
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Simple is good !
Perhaps make a bot with edge line sensors front and back. Drive forward until you see an edge, then reverse until you see another edge. Make sure that you do not travel in a straight line (not usually a problem). Don't worry about detecting cans, just bounce enough times and you will probably hit them all ...
Share and Enjoy !
Dave

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Hum,
How about a stationary bot, that sits in the middle of the circle, and has spinning arms that, with the help of centrifugal / centripetal force (I forget which, doh!) extend just far enough to whack over all the cans.. Have it low enough and fast enough that it "sweeps" the cans far enough away.
Variation on same:
Stationary bot with an actuated rod mounted ona turret .. the turret turns a little bit, then the actuated rod moves forward knocking the can in front away, then the rod moves back, knocking the can in back. Rotate turret a little bit further.. Repeat, until the turret has moved a full 360 deg, thrusting the rod back and forth every few inches, knocking down all the cans are down.. (picture a pool cue on a stationary tank!)
Fun, whish I had class projects like this!

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This can be done with a relatively simple variation on a line-following robot.
1. Robot starts in the middle of the circle. 2. Robot has a large slanted "shovel" on the front, which will push any cans to one side. 3. Robot starts with a very small spiral, which progressively gets larger. You can optimize the spiral to sweep as much area as possible in the smallest amount of time. The effect of the spiral and the shovel is to gradually push all the cans out to the black circle. 4. Once the robot reaches the black circle, it makes a couple passes to ensure that it has cleared the whole ring of cans.
I haven't just given you the solution, because there are still a lot of things that can go wrong. The spiral is not guided, and could push the robot off course and miss some cans. This is a distinct possibilty, because during the last few passes you might be pushing a lot of cans around at the same time. If a can falls over and rolls back to where the robot already swept, it would be undetected. Maybe you could switch to a random-walk from edge to edge within the circle to look for and deal with any stray cans.
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