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Monthly Meeting Recap – 11/13/11

Robot Show & Tell:

  • Dan Toborowski brought a Useless Machine kit he purchased from MakerShed. These fun contraptions provide lots of entertainment as their only function is to turn themselves off. Dan also brought a Vacuum Gripper Kit he recently won from Lynxmotion which functions as an add-on for the robotic arms also sold by Lynxmotion. Dan demonstrated the assembly by using an SSC-32 hooked up to a computer running FlowStone. FlowStone is a powerful graphical programming application that can interface with many different types of hardware such as servo controllers, ESCs, webcams, phidgets components, game controllers, and more.
  • Peter Campbell showed a video he created with Blender to describe a potential new game for our 2012 Bot Brawl competition called “Checkers on a Sumo Ring.” This new game would require robots to push colored objects to the edge of a standard sumo ring. Robots could be autonomous or remote controlled. We’re looking for feedback to see if there is enough interest to support adding this to our 2012 event! Peter also showed his progress on a line following event timer that would be used to more accurately time robot runs during these events. Peter has the software operational with an interface using a LabJack data acquisition device. What is now needed is the hardware for detection. There was discussions on making a new line following course to support the addition of a start/stop “gateway”.
  • Mike Dvorsky demonstrated his custom line follower robot “Low Down” which earned first place in the Racing Line Following competition at the recent ChiBotica event. Mike discussed some of his programming strategy used to improve its performance and he also demonstrated wireless control through Xbee which allows Mike to tune to robot real time while it’s running on a practice course. Mike also showed us a GPS module that provides direct USB output and a protective case which could be worth testing on our RoboMagellan robot.
  • Matt Johnson demonstrated the robot he built for a graduate engineering class. “The Tailgater’s Best Friend” is essentially a beverage cooler on wheels that will automatically follow it’s owner using a CMU Cam to track a red light. The CMU Cam looks for the red light and steers while a pair of MaxBotix ultrasonic range finders detect distance to the user and control motor speed to hold a specified distance. The robot is driven with a pair of automotive power window motors and uses a Sabertooth ESC. The cooler also opens and closes using a linear actuator.


  • iHobby Expo Recap – October 22nd, 23rd
    • Congrats to Mike Dvorsky on his 1st place victory in the ChiBotica Racing Line Following competition!
    • Pictures from the event
  • FIRST LEGO League
    • Scrimmage Event – November 19th, Peoria Christian High School
    • Regional Tournament – December 10th, Bradley University

Club Business:

  • There are plans to migrate our website to a new server in order to provide more space and make several improvements. By moving to a new server we can also acquire a new domain name but unfortunately “” is not available so we need an alternate domain name that is still straight forward and easy to remember. Any suggestions?
  • Officer elections will be taking place at our December meeting. If you are interested in running for a position or continuing in your current role be sure to attend this meeting. Here are the current officer positions and the members who occupy these roles:
    • President: Dan Toborowski
    • Vice President: Bruce Stott
    • Treasurer: Peter Campbell
    • Librarian: Mike Dvorsky
    • Secretary: Curt Boirum
    • Webmaster: Len Shelton
  • 2012 Spring Bot Brawl – March 24th, LakeView Museum Auditorium
    • Check our Peter’s suggestion for a new competition and let us know if you’d be interested in having an entry ready for our 2012 event
    • Bot Brawl Roles – Will be contacting individual members to verify roles

November 13, 2011 at 11:49 am | Monthly Meeting Recaps | No comment

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