Saturday - September 1,2001
Location: Portland State University Portland Center for Advanced Technology in room 28
At 10:30 am Daryl called the meeting to realtive order and we proceeded to go around the room talking/displaying/sharing robotic topics.
- Pete discussed and distributed copies of the proposed PARTS bylaws. Those attending discussed and debated specifics. It was decided to delay a vote on the adoption of the bylaws until the next meeting. See Warren's recent post on Saturday 9/1/01 for details of the discussion. The proposed bylaws can be found on the PARTS website: http://www.portlandrobotics.org/bylaws/PARTS%20Bylaws%202-5w.htm
- Our revered leader Daryl brought a literal bucket full of recalled wiper motors obtained from a dealership He described the motors as quiet, smooth, slow and strong. Those thinking that for some reason this is desirable in robotics dove for the bucket to score some free motors. No word on why they were recalled, we can only presume it was for spontaneous combustion problems. He also showed his (Goliath's) spiffy polished trophy from the last OMSI mini-Sumo event. He described the aluminum polishing process, which made use of "Flitz" (sp?) polish. The result was very shiny, and it showed fingerprints perfectly as an added bonus.
- Pete Showed his progress on a micro sumo robot (5X5X5cm, 100g) He is using small gear head motors and a 6V lithium cell (25 cents) he once obtained from Wacky Willie's Surplus. After the meeting, a new member to the meeting, an engineer whose name I unfortunately neglected to get, presented Pete with several sketches for drive train designs he had doodled during the meeting. Pete also reported the death of his computer, which has trapped the software for his CloverBot on his hard drive. Therefore, alas, CloverBot was not present at this meeting but Pete did share that he had updated the servo-panned head unit, which contains a bevy of sensors including a Sonar module, an Eltec pyroelectric sensor, and a Sharp IR distance ranger. A PIC micro controller controls the head. Pete plans on having cloverbot send sonar sensor data back to a PC to record sensor values as a bitmap, with a range of colors representing distance readings.
- Rick discussed his involvement with an upcoming book similar to Designing With PIC Microcontrolers, by Jon Peatman. I believe he is collaborating with said author on this new edition, which will include a PC board that he showed. As a free gift for those at the meeting, he handed out 25 of his PIC bootloader PC boards, which are designed for use with the 16F874 among other 40-pin PICS. More (and definitely more accurate) information can be found on his website: http://www.dontronics.com/rfarmer.html, which includes all docs and references. Parts for the board were estimated to be about $10! Free PIC loaders, free burley gear head motors, free engineering sketches! if this doesn't turn out more folks to the next meeting I don't know what will!
- I (Steve D.) brought my pack of 9 Tyco Racing Ratz, four of which have been hacked to various degrees for robotics. One was fitted with a BotBoard Plus, and one had a breadboard substituted for the original electronics to facilitate non-microcontroller based experimentation. The others included a Ratzbot platform hacked to interface with LEGO tank treads, and a ratzbot stripped down and outfitted with Lego wheels for improved traction. I discussed my plans to outfit each robot with IR sensors, bump sensors and line following sensors, and for the bots to eventually be a part of an experimental "colony". The members discussed various ideas regarding sensors for a "Tag" game it/not it + chase/flee detection. Each little bot will eventually be equipped with BotBoard brains. Also, I mentioned a good deal on a sensor board that includes 4 ir sensors, a piezo speaker, two visible LEDS, and all hookups for H-bridge, R/C output, and a Basic stamp OEM module interface plug, called the IR-mate, available from http://www.robotfun.com for the summer sale price of $20. These will be used with at least some of the ratz colony robots.
- Cameron, Dan's son, took control of the room by going up front and demonstrating his kit robot, which responds to sound and bump sensors to change direction. The kid's definitely an up and comer in the robotics world.
- Shawna showed off her robot "Giggles", built around one of the small blue/clear dome top plastic boxes I brought last meeting. The robot was very small and cute. She had painted a Yellow smiley face J on the front, with blue LEDS for eyes. The wheels were from a MacDonald's toy she showed, which fit perfectly onto the Hitec HS-81 microservos used for the bot. The brains were a custom PC board built by Dan around a Basic Stamp 1 chip, similar to a stripped down Mark II mini sumo board.
- Dan, SORC's president and robozen guru, showed xilor remote control modules used in the automotive industry. Both IRT and radio models were free samples from the company (Dan's the master of free samples!) The link fo rinfo on these is: http://www.rfmicrolink.com He discussed a demo version of a PC board design program obtained from www.4pcb.com The full version, is $200. He showed off a Moto-Ball remote control ball that he had intended to hack but found too hard to control due to a very narrow turning radius. He showed a Battlebot toy with moving treads and a spinning blade (Dull, ya know it's a toy, now!) that despite being high quality for $10 was "really kinda lame" for robotics use but nevertheless possibly hackable. He showed an Acroname plastic sonar array holder he bought for $9 to fill out an acroname order. For the grand finale he showed his humanoid ~4 ft tall (?) robot- "G-5". He described it as a long-term project. The robot was great- custom welded torso and drive train frame, plastic arm manipulator, and a ring of 5-6 pyroelectric motion sensors around the boom-box head which will allow the head to follow a person's movement. He plans on using the robot in part as a sentry- type robot, inspired in part by H.R. Everett's (Sensors for Mobile Robots) Robart sentry robot. Really quite the impressive bot so far.
- Young Eric, the master solder soldier, showed off his progress on his robot butterfly, which now includes feather for wings that look remarkably like real butterfly wings.
- Brett showed his refined PIC 876 board. He talked about trying to get the IC^2 line communication to work. The board is built around a Radio Shack prototype pc board, but is so well designed that a minimum of solder bridges and jumpers were used- a very elegant design.
- Warren talked about his LM298 based stepper control board he built for 360-degree panoramic photography. Check it out at: http://www.bluesky.com/warren/autopanhead/
- Tim recommended a "great book"- Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook. He reports trying to resurrect his old robots from many years back.
- Karl gave an update on his BoeBot colony robots, a project he started at PSU as a summer intern high school student and will continue with during the school year. He shared his new web site, which will have documentation of his robots: http://www.robotguild.5u.com We (well, I at least) all wondered why our high school summer jobs were not as cool.
- Paul was welcomed to his first meeting. He comes from a programming background and is interested in becoming more involved with the multi-disciplinary wonder that is robotics.
- John showed new hollow wheels he custom made for his Mark II robot using blue gasket material.
The congregation was reminded by Daryl of a mini/Japan sumo match forthcoming in Seattle (?) September 29th. This match apparently had a lot of cash for prizes last year. Search the PARTS list for details.
There were other first timers at the meeting, my apologies for not getting everyone's name.
After the meeting we had a mini swap meet, then headed over to Hot Lips for some 'za and more robo -yacking.