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Monthly Meeting Recap – 10/14/12

We delayed the beginning of our meeting to watch the Red Bull Stratos skydive jump from 120,000 feet live. Again, a huge thanks to the organizers for delaying this jump so we could watch during our scheduled meeting 😉

Robot Show & Tell:

  • Mike Dvorsky brought a Digi XStick USB to Xbee 802.15.4 adapter.
  • Dan Toborowski provided an update on an Arduino project he’s been working on that involves controlling LEGO motors using the manufacturer’s IR wireless protocol. Dan recently acquired an OWON  SDS6062 Digital Oscilloscope to help decipher the IR commands and confirm that his device was transmitting the signals correctly. He has the system working reliably and now plans to build a more permanent controller with 2-axis joysticks from Servocity and with a more powerful IR LED array to send the commands long distances reliably. Also Dan demonstrated his new SBU V3 self-balancing unicycle. This new SBU has a higher voltage pack and a new compact design which provides better performance in a lighter, sleeker package.
  • Peter Campbell showed us a game he built using a custom C# program and a pair of Wixel wireless modules from Pololu. The game measures reaction time by showing symbols on the screen and measuring how long it takes the user to release the button once a message appears. For the controller Peter mounted the Wixel module, battery supply, and button in a modified VHS tape box which turns out to be an excellent option for use as a project enclosure.
  • Curt Boirum brought a unique art/line follower robot that he’s working on which is designed to look like the upper torso of a T100 from the Terminator films. With servo-powered joints the robot will be able to crawl forward and turn. Curt has plans to make this into a functional, albeit slow, line follower robot. Curt also showed us a video of BeamNG which is a hyper realistic FEA physics modeling engine for video games or graphic simulations. Curt expressed interest in developing his own version of this type of engine to enable hyper realistic combat robot simulations.
  • Joshua Whitley demonstrated a useful tool called AutoHotKey which allows you to create completely custom hot keys or reassign key board keys to anything you like. The custom maps can also be compiled and transferred to other users or other computers seamlessly. Josh also described a new online web application development site called Koding which supports a multitude of languages and also provides users with 2GB of hosting space free. Access is currently by invitation only but current users are able to provide invites to those interested.

Other Cool Stuff:


  • Next Bi-Weekly Build Session – 10/18
  • VEX Robot Competition
    • 10 grants are available to any middle-college schools interested in starting a VEX robotics team. The grant will provide the academic group with a complete VEX robotics kit. The team would only be responsible for paying the competition registration fees ($50-$75) and proving that they are continuing to use the kits each year in order to retain use. Contact Dan ( to get a copy of the application form.
  • Central Illinois FIRST LEGO League Regional Tournament – 12/8
    • Volunteers needed for judging – Contact (
    • Practice scrimmage events – 11/10, 11/17, 12/1

Event Recap: ASME Osmoces – October 13th

CIRC Group Event: Peoria Riverfront Segway Tour

Club Business:

  • Community Event Opportunities:
  • Online Club Library Listing
    • Full list is now available here!
    • We discussed a few changes that will be made to improve navigation and clarify how to request items
  • 2012 RoboMagellan
    • Update on transition to ROS and Python
  • Bot Brawl 2013
    • Date selection on hold pending confirmation of space availability at Riverfront Museum
    • Museum opens on October 20th
    • Still plan to target usual late March time frame for 2013 event

October 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Monthly Meeting Recaps | No comment

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