Portland Area Robotics Society

Regular Meeting Minutes

September 2, 2006, 10:30AM



1.      Presentations:

a.       PDXBot.07

2.      Table-top Line Maze competition

3.      News Reports

a.       Show-and-tell


1.      The next table-top line maze competition will incorporate extra intersections in the course. The participant must recognize and count intersections to reach the goal. The robot will have to take the 3rd turn, which might be to the right or left. The intersections between the start and the third turn may be Right, left, or a tee. At the September meeting, we will run the new maze and the simple Right-Angle Challenge. Look for rules posted to portlandrobotics.org. Participants are invited to discuss their robots after the competition.



a. Monty Goodson's line follower

Monty Goodson demonstrated his line follower on the Right-Angle Challenge maze. He is currently working on issues in his P.I.D control logic that will help the bot smooth out it's response to course changes. Monty's bot will eventually incorporate 10 photoreflector line sensors. The arrangement of the sensors should allow the bot to detect intersections, and minor course deviations.

Monty has controllers on the wheels, so a next step for his bot is to

b. Aidan's line follower

Aidan demonstrated his Lego NXT robot, developed in about 12 hours! It uses two line sensors at the front of the robot to detect the maze. The robot had some difficulty detecting the turn, but Aidan says it was successful in his testing.



b.                PDXBot.07

Announcing the next PDXBOT competition and exposition in Portland, Oregon!

Date: Apri/June 2007



This year, we are adding a Line Maze competition to the event. There will be training contests for Line Maze at monthly PARTS meetings prior to the event.

We are looking for volunteers to help with planning, advertising, running events, and helping with the show. We want this to be a club activity!


Next Steps:

  1. Start building robots
  2. Share your expertise in the events you choose
  3. Volunteer to help! Watch for postings to the PARTS mail list for opportunities.


Show-and-Tell and News

Resources for beginning in robotics:


Roger Ray recommends this month's issue of "Popular Science", with a cover story on the future of robotics. The article includes one interesting of a robot that balances on a sphere, enabling it to move in any direction.


Jeff S. led a discussion on torque forces relating to Robotics. Jeff also discussed his simulations for a new walker robot to calculate optimal leg lengths, servo speeds, and servo strengths.


Basil demonstrated his robot based on the Maverick AVR controller board. The bot uses DC motors from an automotive side-view mirror mechanism. The bot performs basic collision avoidance.


Various club members discussed vision sensors for robotics. Several members recommended the CMU Cam. Larry G. has experimented with the sensor from an optical mouse.


Rocko brought in a demonstration board from the Win PIC demo series. He is working on the various exercises. He also brought in several new robot designs, one built on a platform made from two Frisbees.


Donald showed his "Roach" robot, a small bot that he may convert to a line follower. He also promised to bring in a Theremin he is working on .


Paul recommended a visit to the robotics display at OMSI. The display runs through the 4th of Sep. Donald was impressed by the "robotic garden" display, and the speech recognition display.


Steve D. is experimenting with the Parallax Propeller chip. He displayed a project that generated color graphics on a small video display, reacting to sensor inputs. The Propeller demo board is on sale at www.parallax.com.


Tim recommends svn.psas.pdx.edu/trunk/other/redDwarf for information on the GCC toolchain for ARM boards. Tim also showed a mini PC board that he is using as a flight computer for a rocketry project.