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Monthly Meeting Recap – 1/15/12

Robot Show & Tell:

  • Josh Whitley showed us his “Blu” electronic cigarettes which provide nicotine and flavor with the experience of smoking but without the nasty parts that give you cancer and destroy your lungs. These were pretty high-tech devices with lithium batteries, a convinient charging system, variable LEDs to emulate the glow, and a vapor generator to create “smoke.”
  • Dan Toborowski brought some of the latest additions to the popular Hexbug line of robotic toys including a “Larva,” “Scarab,” and a new play set for the Nano Bug that incorporates a zip line. Dan also brought a new wire stripper/cutter tool he purchased from Parallax and donated one to the club library.
  • Peter Campbell demonstrated a line following robot timer system that uses a pair of foil strips to detect when the robot passes the start/finish line to start and stop the timer. At the meeting Peter tested the prototype switch using a variety of line follower robot designs including several from Mike Dvorsky and the results were very impressive.
  • Curt Boirum demoed several Blender projects he’s been working on including simulation of his 120lb combat robot using control input from a PlayStation controller. Curt also demonstrated the impressive physics model built into Blender which can be used video games, research simulations, engineering tests, computer animation, and more. Finally, Curt showed us the latest model of his 120lb combat robot in SolidWorks which will now include upgraded drive motors and lithium batteries saving a great deal of weight and space.
  • Nick Sturm brought a Solar-Powered Robot Kit that is currently available for around $4 at UFS.
  • Mike Dvorsky brought a large collection of robot parts and kits he’s acquired over the years and offered them to any club members who could use them for a project. Mike also demonstrated several of his line following robots and compared the different mechanical design and software strategies such as direct feedback versus PID control.


  • Our February monthly meeting is currently scheduled for 2/19 but we may be attending the Lakeview Museum National engineers day event in place of having a monthly meeting. Once we confirm the details of this event an announcement will be made. UPDATE: CIRC will be participating in this event on February 19th in place of our monthly meeting.
  • Bi-Weekly build sessions will be resuming shortly! At today’s meeting we decided to try Thursday evenings instead of Wednesdays. An announcement will be made when the details are confirmed. UPDATE: Our first bi-weekly build session of 2012 is scheduled for Thursday, February 26th at PROBOTIX.

Upcoming Events:

  • DuPage Engineers Week – Saturday, Feb. 25th
    • IIT Rice Campus in Wheaton, IL
  • Central Illinois Bot Brawl – Saturday, March 24th
    • Lakeview Museum
  • ISU Family Science Day 2012 – Sunday, April 22nd
    • Illinois State University Horton Field House
  • 2012 RoboGames – Fri-Sun, April 20-22
    • San Mateo, CA


  • Josh gave us a tour of the new CIRC website and described the basic layout and how new content is added and modified. All club officers will be provided a login so they can upload content themselves. The site is still a work in progress with more content on the way including event recaps from past Bot Brawls but please let us know if you find any other bugs or problems that need to be fixed.

Club Buisness:

  • Club Brochure/Tri-Fold
    • Josh is working on updating the current design with newer images and the new CIRC website URL.
  • Club Business Cards
    • Curt volunteered to look into the cost and options for getting CIRC business cards made
  • New CIRC Apparel
    • Need to talk with Len who was hoping to have the ability to make custom printed apparel himself.
  • Online Club Library Listing
    • With new website now live we hope to have the full library list published soon so club members can browse and check out items
  • 2012 Meeting Locations
    • All 2012 meeting dates are confirmed for the Peoria Public Library North Branch
  • 2012 Spring Bot Brawl
    • Peter has finished an initial draft of the complete rules for “Checkers on a Sumo Ring” which he will be posting for review
    • Registration is open on the Builders Database and all competitors are encouraged to register their robots ASAP!

January 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Monthly Meeting Recaps | No comment

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