Minutes of the PARTS meeting on April 3th, 2004

Monty Goodson started the meeting telling about that there is a member's survey that can fill out to give feedback on how to improve PARTS.  Also he mentioned to come up, sign in for members sheet, new members sheet, and also guest sheet for new people so they can become members.  He then mention about the yahoo PARTS group that people from all around the world is in the group.  Reminders about the next meeting and upcoming topics will be posted to the yahoo PARTS group.  He also mentioned that there are other robot yahoo groups these are good other places to learn about robotics and about other robotic projects.  He put the web link on the board http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PARTS.  He then mention about what was going on about PDXBOT.04 planning meetings that Pete Skeggs and Monty Goodson is going to be the overall leadership roles of the event. He then mentioned some others that are helping. Pete Skeggs then show some of the proposed artwork for the t-shirt.  The artwork will be at http://pdxbot.org then will have vote for what is going on the t-shirt.  The next PDXBOT.04 planning will be Monday April 12.  The need for volunteers to be judges for the competition.  Next he mentioned that next months meeting the on May 1st a group from OSU group to talk about Teckbot program that was started with Tektronix.  The next meeting after that will be June 5th the day before PDXBOT.O4, that meetings subject will be on the preparation for PDXBOT.O4 the next day.

Monty Goodson then introduced the main speaker for the meeting that Edward Epp has worked for Intel for 4 years and in Intel research for the last 1 1/2 years.  During his time at Intel, Edward has worked on the Robotic Strategic Research Project and is currently working on in the Ubiquity Group that supports use of Intel's XScale(tm) platform in many technologies including the personal server, sensor networks and robots. Before joining Intel, Edward had extensive experience teaching students. He was a high school teacher and then taught at Goshen College for 4 years.  Edward moved to the Pacific Northwest to teach Computer Science at the University of Portland for 10 years.

Edward Epp from Intel will talked about using Linux and the Intel X-Scale processor for robots.  He used his talk on based on a 3-hour tutorial on this subject.  He demonstrated how to control an Amigobot through a web browser.  He focused on the Stargate board running Linux, Apache, Perl, and Player. The Stargate has a 400MHz PXA255 processor, 64 MBytes RAM, 32 MBytes of flash, Ethernet, USB, CF & PCMCAI slots, Bluetooth radio, and Mote connector. It is about the size of a deck of cards with a daughter card.  More information on the web at:  Sourceforge site http://platformx.sourceforge.net/ ,   Crossbow site http://www.xbow.com/Products/XScale.htm,   Data sheet http://www.xbow.com/Products/Product_pdf_files/Wireless_pdf/6020-0049-01_A_STARGATE.pdf , Amigobot http://www.amigobot.com/ , and Player http://playerstage.sourceforge.net/.  He showed how he connected the Stargate board communicating wirelessly to a router connected to his laptop.  That enables him to use is laptop to communicate to the robot.  Another application using the Intel's X-Scale processor is a pocket personal server that will communicate via blue tooth.  This will allow you to have pictures, or video stored and then communicated to display devices.  Another X-Scale applications are sensor network with use for health care to monitor motion, motor vibration, temperature, and monitor ground water. 

Edward Epp showed and explained about robot base is the amigobot, with the local controller is the Stargate X-Scale board.  The Stargate board is running the operating system Linux 2.4.19 kernel plus patches.  The programs running on Linux is Player, Apache/cgi web server.  The Player software is a device server level that can be changed for different robot platforms by writing device drivers and also can be used with a robot simulator.  Player communicates by TCP as in a LAN.  He can control the robot to communicate with Player or with Apache running he can control the robot using a web page interface.  With Player communication by TPC any language can be used to control the robot and the programs can be put anywhere on the board or on any computer with connection capability.

Edward Epp now is working on low-level Linux drivers.  He wants to do more image processing.  He then opened it up to questions.  There was a question about power consumption and he answered 250ma at 5V, but adding more cards and USB devices will increase the power consumption.

Monty Goodson then talked and showed pictures and video of ROBOlipics at Fort Mason.  One third of ROBOlipics was sumo and other compositions, and the rest was combat robots.  Monty showed pictures and video of Japanese class robots remote and autonomous.  The sumo robot classes were remote control, and autonomous, with Japanese class robots.  There were also other classes for sumo Mini, Micro, and one nano-sumo.  He showed pictures and video of robot soccer from universities, rope climbing sponsored by a company and the contestants got extra points for a power source that is not on the robot, robot walking contest, and a connect four Lego robot game.  He showed a robot sapiens toy that recharges the batteries from the movement that is hack able and that will run for twenty hours.  He showed pictures and video of bipedal robots walking contest and boxing.  He showed a wooden bipedal robot using servos.  The ROBOlympics photo/video gallery is at http://www.bittybot.com/gallery.   One very cool robot (if you have the BW... It's 24MB) http://unit.aist.go.jp/is/dsysd/mtran/M-TRAN_II_DEMO.mpg that showed an inchworm robot that could reconfigure itself to make different configurations.  He also showed schematics and pictures of how the parts worked. Check out the details at: http://unit.aist.go.jp/is/dsysd/mtran/English/index.html.

Jonathan Fant showed is FRED his robot and he explained the similarities to the setup of the todays talk explained above.  He explained his robot is now reading the battery state, updated the power supply to 5 amps.

Pete Skeggs showed some pictures from the Emerging Robotics Technologies and Applications Conference in Boston.  There were displays on venture capitalist, Irobot, white box robots, and Ibow's Sony's dog robot.  He showed and passed around the conference proceedings.  He also showed pictures of MIT museum of robots in Boston.  He explained that in October the launch of RoboNexus, an international

consumer, educational and business development event for personal,  service and mobile robotics http://www.robonexus.com.  The conference and exposition will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, October 21-23, 2004.  RoboNexus is a multifaceted educational forum and exposition designed to bring together all of the key participants driving the rapidly expanding personal, service and mobile robotics markets.  RoboNexus will provide dedicated, one-day events-within-the-event specifically tailored to serve the educational, sales and branding needs of multiple constituencies. The event will include programs specialized for investment and business development professionals, educators and academics, professional and hobbyist robot developers, and robotics enthusiasts and consumers.

Tim, did not get his last name, showed new micro arm board with Phillips processor with 16 IO, RS232 level converter, comes with pro-forth already loaded, TCP/IP communications, and an inch square.

Larry Geib showed a $10.00 backup sensor, and talked about his improvement to his pressure sensor.

Tim Weaver talked and demonstrated his remote control tanks bought, that he is making mega bitty tank war.  He has bought extra, and had them for sale for $12 dollars.

Daryl Sandberg showed his 5 cylinder steam engine that he is making, and his work on a high current 30 amps @ 30-50 volts h-bridge circuit board.

Monty Goodson mention a new service called Bear Boons PC for $25 per lot with, 50 cents per squire inch, but does not have software.

John, did not get his last name, has the same board as Tim, did not get his last name, explained about programming the board, being able to move the board from robot to robot with the pin connector on the board, and that the board is from New Micro.

Mark & Eden did not get their last names, showed their minsumo robot.

Pete Skeggs working on encoders first using laser-cutting disks, he then made stickers down to $1.50.  He made an alignment tool for the encoder and the circuit board.

Doug Arnold explained on his work on getting vender for PDXBOT.04 has now $2000 dollars worth of prizes.

Kathy Lowe spoke about the first robot league that she is working with a team.  She is looking for mentors, and company sponsors.  The robots are 3 feet tall, and 300 pounds at http://www.usfirst.org/robotics/.  She is a student at University of Portland and is mentoring/lesson for a team at Benson High school.  She has been in the composition when she was in high school.

Dana Weesner talked about a toy that can be bought at Kbtoys that has two motors for $5 runs charges for 3 seconds and then runs 4 minutes.  He then talked about MESDA group that Kelvin was working on an electric car composition that tries to go the fastest in 5 meters, and he took 3rd place.

Bob Dyer, I think is his last name, talked about being a judge for the Intel's northwest science fair May 9-15th at http://www.intel.com/education/isef. One was for a robot that marks a soccer field.

Mark Medonis, talked about Maxwell and a new type of amplifier called class C that uses switching like in switching power supplies that are very efficient.  It is 20 watts.  He compared it with another that is much bigger and heaver.