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Monthly Meeting Recap – 11/11/12

Robot Show & Tell:

  • Dan Toborowski brought some components he’s planning to use to provide better wireless video range and quality for his FPV quadcopter. Dan is currently using a 1.3Ghz Omni antenna on his video receiver which picks up the video feed from the quadcopter and sends it to the video goggles he uses for flying. Dan is working on adding a patch antenna as well which provides longer range but only in the direction that the antenna is facing. To get the best of both worlds Dan got a Diversity Receiver which accepts multiple video signal inputs and automatically picks the strongest signal to pass through. Dan also brought a GoPro Hero3 which is the newest video camera from GoPro. The Hero3 is smaller and 25% lighter than the Hero2yet includes built-in WiFi for wireless control using a separate key-fob device or a mobile app.
  • Peter Campbell brought a custom tool he fabricated in order to remove a unique proprietary screw from a device he needed to disassemble. Peter also brought a device he built that attaches to a drink container and sounds an alarm periodically to reminds to user to stay hydrated. The device contains the guts of a Texas Instruments eZ430-Chronos sports watch which Peter created a new 3D printed housing for and programmed for his application. The alarm timer is adjustable and the built-in accelerometers are used to detect when the drink container is tilted automatically restarting the timer. Lastly, Peter mentioned the Microsoft Team Foundation Service which might be a good option for our continued Wheel-E software development since it offers online software repositories, bug logging, and other useful collaboration features.
  • Joshua Whitley talked about a recent enhancement to the Google Android’s voice recognition function which now provides vastly improved performance. Android has offered the ability to perform many functions using voice commands for some time now but the voice recognition has been improved greatly making it much more feasible and easy to draft text messages, get directions, call individuals, and more. Josh also went on to mention an interesting online video showing the latest developments in voice recognition, real-time translating, and voice synthesis being done by Microsoft in partnership with MIT.


  • Next Bi-Weekly Build Session – 11/29 (this week’s session cancelled due to schedule conflict with FLL referee/judge training)
  • 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 welcome to help with competition – Contact (
    • Practice scrimmage events – 11/10, 11/17, 12/1
  • PBS NOVA Special: Ultimate Mars Challenge 11/14

Event Recap:

  • November, 10th FLL Practice Scrimmage @ Bradford Junior High School
    • Dan Toborowski also gave a short presentation on the 2012 FIRST LEGO League theme and robot challenges

Club Business:

  • Community Event Opportunities:
    • ISU Family Science Day – April 13th, 2013
      • CIRC participated in 2011
      • This year the event falls on National Robotics Week and they’re planning to include a special robotics “showcase”
    • Central Illinois FLL Qualifying Tournament – December 8th
      • CIRC invited to host robotics display
      • Any club members interested in supporting this?
  • Bot Brawl 2013
    • Peoria Riverfront Museum auditorium rental fees are too high ($1,500 / 4 hours!!!)
    • We are actively looking into other local options in the area
    • Another possibility might be to hold the Bot Brawl at the ISU Family Science Day event
    • We began to confirm individual responsibilities and roles for the event
    • We decided to drop “Best In Show” due to lack of interest

November 12, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Monthly Meeting Recaps | No comment

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