Portland Area Robotics Society

Regular Meeting Minutes

Apr. 1, 2006, 10:30AM



1.      Welcome and Announcements

2.      May Enthusiast Event

3.      Presentations:

a.       Toy Robotics development (Peet Skegs)

4.      News Reports

a.       Show-and-tell


1.      Renewal of membership dues:

a.       22 members have renewed their dues for 2006.

b.      Renewal Fees are $12 for current members

c.       New Members can purchase pro-rated membership fees that decrease by $1 per month

MAY Enthusiast Event (Roger Ray)

1.      May Enthusiast Event scheduled for MAY 20, 2006

2.      Location: Garden Home Community center

a.       7475 SW Oleson Rd.

3.      Time: 8AM %G–%@ 4PM

4.      Facilities:

a.       Gymnasium: Tables, Chairs, Power, Stage. Food OK.

b.      Soccer field

5.      Gymnasium Events:

a.       Sumo

                                                               i.      Mini

                                                             ii.      Micro

                                                            iii.      Japan %G–%@ (5-foot wooden surface)

                                                           iv.      Lego (NEW)

b.      Walker

c.       Talent Show

d.      Line Following

                                                               i.      Beginning

                                                             ii.      Advanced

                                                            iii.      Lego (NEW)

e.       Line Maze (NEW) - Using Seattle Robotics Society Rules.

                                                               i.      Open

                                                             ii.      Lego

6.      Volunteers are needed

a.       Please join the PARTSEvents Yahoo Group (PARTSevents@yahoo.com) to participate in discussions about this event.)

7.      Naming of the event

a.       Members attending the meeting voted on the name BotFest I. Future events will be named in sequence %G–%@ BotFest II, Bot Fest IIIɒ


Robot Toy Development (Pete Skegs)

Pete has been working on several months as a consultant for a robotics toy development company. The robot, Pleo won the Demo God award at the Demo 06 trade show. Pete brought in the first working prototype of Pleo. Pleo can run pre-programmed routines, includes numerous sensors, and plays sound samples.


Pete described the various considerations and problems of developing this toy demo.




Design constraints:


Controller board: The demo uses off-the-shelf Olimex Atmel 128 board plus custom development card.

Servo Controller: The demo uses Pololu micro serial servo controller. .

Power subsystem: 5 high-capacity Ni-MH batteries.


Designing the daughter card hardware: Pete needed to integrate SRAM, digital-to-analog converter (using i2c), SD Card (SPI interface), 3.3v regulator (SD Card needs this). A consultant provided the final schematic and board layout.


Firmware blocks:

        Behavior Engine

        Motion player

        Motion data to servo joint mapper

        Sound player

        Sensor monitoring, debouncing, actuation testing

        Buffered serial I/O, various interrupt handlers.


Software development: C-code, 5000 lines, 29 files. JTAG ICE debugger.


Show-and-Tell and News

Monty Goodson displayed a prototype nanobot chassis based on his MegaBitty controller board. The chassis will include gearhead pager motors and a Li-Po battery. Monty also displayed a prototype of an IR range finding system and remote control system.


Larry Geib recommends the book Linux Robotics. Larry also recommends a visit to the Robot Hut museum outside of Spokane, WA. Call ahead for a reservation.


Jonathan Fant of Future Robotics introduced his new USB PIC based servo motor controller with a 3A DC motor driver daughter board. Future Robotics will sell the boards as a kit (through-hole soldering required) with a PIC development tools CD. A 4-channel motor driver daughter board is under development.


Mark Medonis demonstrated his animatronic head Maxwell. This month, he is using $200 LCD screen intended for in-car PCs. (logicsupply.com)


A reporter from the NW Examiner is developing a story about our May Enthusiast event. If you have any stories to share, contact csgaston@gmail.com.


Mike from the surplus shop Surplus Gismos visited the meeting with some surplus boards to give away to club members.


Steve brought in a bot based on the Vex kit. VEX is currently price in the stores. The included SW development kit is drag-and-drop based. Alternative programming tools are available as an add-on.


Rocko brought in several of his PIC robots and discussed some challenges in their development.


Two members of the Clark College Robotic club attended and displayed a tank-style bot. The robot seeks an IR beacon using a custom analog IR homing circuitry developed for a class project. clarkrobotics.com