Minutes of the PARTS meeting on September 4th, 2004

Monty started by mentioning that next month's meeting speaker will talk about grounding. Robothon 2004 is 1 month away. It will be held at the Seattle Center, Center House on September 25th and 26th "Saturday and Sunday". The popular Hack session will be that Friday night. This year we will have a new contest called the Robo-Magellan that is an autonomous robot contest similar to the DARPA Grand Challenge, but located at the Seattle Center. Daryl explained the Robo-Magellan contents is about going through a course of cone waypoints in the shortest time. He then explained about his entry with the GPS, compass, infrared sensors, CMU camera, and Basic Stamp 2 controller. They will be having the traditional events: 3 kg Sumo, Mini Sumo, Ant weight Combat Robots, and the internationally popular Line Maze contest. They will also have the Judges Awards for all those cool robots that show up to the event. They will have formal papers presentation, and a walking robot seminar. They are in the planning phase of an all day robot building workshop for people to build working robots. More information on the FREE event can be found at the official Robothon website: http://www.robothon.org. P.A.R.T.S is planning to have a booth to sell T-shirts so the group is looking for people to help sell. RoboMax is in two weeks in Southern Oregon in Grants Pass. This event will have round robin matches with compositions running all the time.

Larry is selling T-shirts, DVD03's, and Servo magazine 6 pack $15 a piece.

Bret showed a wireless joystick Mad Cats brand for a Sony play station. He got code to read the reading from wireless joystick using a micro-controller. He put the micro-controller on a remote control car that he can control that goes relatively fast. He wants to add a heat sensor, and squirt gun so he can use it to chase cats. His setup cost $30 dollars. He showed a digital oscilloscope through P.C. The OPTAscope oscilloscope has two channels for $189. It was reviewed in last month's Servo magazine, and is from a local company.

Someone needed help with a Mark III sensor board and had a white table top for a sumo robot ring.

Loren McConnell is looking for items to make dives and a suggestion is to look at the web site http://www.robotcombat.com.

Larry told that he is working on the Garmin Geko 201 GPS serial link that runs at 4800-baud rate connection feature barring in feet to a waypoint then to the next waypoint. He is working on connection the serial to the micro-controller. He then explained about the CMU camera new firmware that needed to be updated, and to read white balance to see a traffic cone at 7 to 10 feet. He first gets a reading from a white object then the color of the traffic cone. He has made the camera to move with a servo to look for the traffic cone. The Garmin Geko 201 GPS puts out a signal that you are close to the waypoint and that is when the CMU camera will start looking for the traffic cone. He took his Garmin Geko 201 GPS to where the Robo-Magellan contest was to be held to see if he could get good readings. The football field is where the contest was most likely going to be and he received a good reading. The CMU camera is great for finding objects of a certain color, but that is not always a good thing if someone has a similar color item during the contest.

Daryl blew up some H-bridges so he replaced them with ones that have twice the capacity. He talked about the MR2 project the uses pick chips with one pick chip for one function and one to send commands to the LCD.

John, D from University of Portland explained that he is working on analog breaking or traction for a formula-1 racecar with a $40 thousand dollar grant control project. The project includes 12 people for the racecar design. This is a competition with other schools.

Daryl then explained how some anti-lock brakes work, and was willing to help on the project.

Someone was working on the DARPA Challenge. Then a discussion went to what is ahead in robotics, some because Japanese has an aging population so the Japanese commands are working on robotics some of them are Honda, and Sony. The talk changed to Intel's x-scale in related to robotics. Also was discussed that Japanese hobbyists are more advanced than we are here.

Pete showed some gear head pager motors, and wheels. He also said that http://www.ROBONEXUS.COM is October 22-23rd and a booth cost $5000 dollars.

Some asked about getting soldering iron with temperature control and subjections was Hakko 936 is the most popular for $100, or Wellers for $100. Wellers tend to not last as long as Wellers. Someone ask what the temperature range of soldering irons is 500-600 degrees Fahrenheit.

People ask about getting started in robotics. Discussions then started and some of the answers are to get a kit like the Mark III and which micro-controller to use like a stamp pick chips or atmil chips do have some development tools. Suggestion is to have a beginner's group project, and then the next thing is to get a leader for the project. A comment was given that the Mark III does not have documentation on how to build it.