Saturday - October 6, 2001
The start of the meeting was delayed by about 10 minutes because our regular meeting room was locked. Pete and Daryl managed to secure Room 130 in the nearby Business Administration building.
Dan Gates reported on a conversation and email exchange he had with Dave Calkins, a robot builder Dan met at the recent San Francisco robotics competition. Dave proposes allowing robotics clubs like ours to become local chapters of the Robotics Society of America: http://www.robots.org the main robotics club in San Francisco. Dave contends that this would allow local clubs to share the umbrella organization's non-profit status. Dave has several goals in mind, including streamlined non-profit status reporting, centralized reporting of competition results to ensure equitable seeding in regional tournaments, standardization of surfaces and markings for maze and line-following competitions, group discounts from parts vendors and creation of a speakers bureau, among others. Following some brief discussion, we decided that our joining this umbrella organization at some later time would not affect our need to approve by-laws for our own club.
We first took a voice vote to determine if the attendees had reviewed and understood the by-laws. No members voiced opposition to voting on the by-laws as posted on the PARTS web site. A hand vote followed to ensure the actual number of votes in each category. 24 attendees cast votes in favor of approval, no attendees voted in opposition, and 8 attendees abstained from voting.
At next month's meeting we will need to vote for four officers: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. Any club member who is interested in serving in one of these capacities should become familiar with the duties of the office specified in the by-laws and make his or her intentions known via the PARTS discussion group.
- Daryl showed Goliath and another robot with a spring steel front blade and KIA window motors that drive large-diameter wooden wheels with high-traction smooth tires. He also showed a new Sharp IR photo sensor with a greatly expanded detection range and increases sensitivity.
- Dan Gates showed his p-code tracked robot. Since the last meeting, he has had the arms powder-coated, and added a speech module and IR sensors. The robot has shoulders, elbows and pincers that are servo-powered.
- Jon discussed the recently-announced Fujitsu miniature humanoid robot. The robot has 20 degrees of freedom. Fujitsu hopes to sell 100 of these units over the next three years. More information is available at http://pr.fujitsu.com/en/news/2001/09/10.html
- Tim announced that he had the parts kits for the PIC evaluation board. This board doesn't require the use of a PIC programmer; users can download code using Hyperterminal or any other terminal communication software. Tim also announced that Rick Farmer has offered to help design and produce PCBs for the next-generation PARTS robot kit. There was some discussion about creating a modular design.
- Mark showed Maxwell, his robotic head. Mark has changed the neck movements to Direct-X controls. They are now much faster and smoother with improved resolution over his previous design with BS-2 controls. He will be posting his updated control software on his web page, www.medonis.com http://www.medonis.com.
- Allen indicated he has an academic interest in robots.
- Cory indicated that he has an interest in the artistic aspect of robotics, and would like to exchange ideas with like-minded attendees.
- Karl said there hasn't been much change in his robotic colony. He is awaiting approval to take the colony to an Intel conference.
- John said that he is building a half-size K9 robotic dog. (K9 was the name of the pet dog in the Dr. Who television series.) His robot will use a Radio Shack tank for propulsion.
- Todd indicated that he's interested in CNC machining.
- John said that lately he has been working on his sonar board.
- Paul said that he had attended the recent Northcon show in Portland, and is interested in VFPGA design.
- Warren showed a working ball bearing made of sugar. The bearing was produced to showcase the capabilities of a new $60,000 Hewlett Packard 3D printer. He also showed his automated photo pan head and panoramic photos he has taken.
- Steve showed more of his modifications to Racin'Ratz cars, a microswitch from Wacky Willy's, and a Robert Jordan-designed microcontroller board on sale for $20.00. He indicated that he is working on a differential drive robot.
- Larry said that he has been turning windshield wiper motors into servos by adding a potentiometer. He plans to build a balancing robot that remains upright by using an Analog Devices accelerometer.
- Justin said that the AD accelerometer Larry is using has an easy interface to the Basic Stamp. He also said that he has built Rick Farmer's PIC board, and is fixing bugs in his electric car computer.
- Eric showed his Mark Tilden Bio Bug. He has removed the annoying piezo speaker (received applause from everyone in the room) and is improving the traction on the bug's rear legs.
- Pete said that the Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program (ORTOP) http://www.ortop.org will hold its LEGO robotics competition December 1st at Wilsonville High School. They are looking for volunteers to help coordinate their event.
- Anyone who wants to volunteer with the competition should contact Pete (firstname.lastname@example.org). They will be holding a subcommittee meeting dealing with coordinating the day of the event next week, and it is with that part of the competition that they would like help from PARTS (due to our experience with running competitions).
- He also had info about a Seiko voltage regulator capable of converting above or below the supply voltage. (Since the meeting, Pete learned that this part has been discontinued, but Mark Medonis posted information about several alternate components on the PARTS discussion list.) He then showed a new micro-sumo robot using a controller board he had designed. The board uses a PIC with plenty of I/O capability, and the motor driver is capable of supplying 1.1 amps per motor. Pete is also working on a 7.5 amp H-bridge motor driver board that can be driven by the microsumo board. Finally, he shared some childrens' book about robots, and the FutureActive electronics catalog.