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Monthly Meeting Recap – 12/8/13

Robot Show & Tell:

  • Joshua Whitley showed us progress he’s made on the “MCP” ROS node responsible for primary decision making on our club’s Robomagellan robot. Josh estimates that he’s roughly 70% finished converting our software strategy into code. Josh also showed us an interesting Kickstarter project called Circuit Scribe which is a rollerball pen that writes with conductive silver ink.
  • Brian Oleson demonstrated some experimentation he’s been doing with his Pololu Zumo robot kit trying to use the built-in accelerometers to determine speed and distance traveled. Brian’s been struggling to get repeatable results but hopes to understand the technique fully for implementation on our club’s RoboMagellan robot.
  • Ben Daniels demonstrated programming a TI MSP430 micrcontroller using Open GCC on Ubuntu. Ben was able to compile, download, and run the program all through the Linux terminal window.
  • Peter Campbell showed us an online puzzle game called Nuts & Bolts which involves moving a robot around a map by placing beams between platforms. Peter struggled to complete the final level in the number of moves suggested so created a custom program in C# that determined all possible results of the level until a solution could be determined that was the correct number of moves. Peter also shared the recent news about Google acquiring seven robotics companies in an effort to get into the robotics industry. This effort is being led by Andy Rubin who also led development of the Android mobile operating system.
  • Mike Dvorsky demonstrated a low-cost signal generator he recently purchased called the FG085 which is available from Sparkfun and Amazon. This device only costs $50 but is capable of producing many different types of signal waves in various frequencies and amplitudes. Signal generators are generally large, expensive devices so the FG085 is a welcome addition for the hobbyist community. Mike demonstrated the signal generator using an Owon 7102 oscilloscope with features VGA output and a built-in battery for portable use. Lastly, Mike brought in two Dongbu HerkuleX servo motors which are similar to ROBOTIS Dynamixel servos but at a lower cost and with a different case mounting design. Mike is planning to build a humanoid robot with these servos.
  • Dan Toborowski brought a few useful items he recently obtained from Sparkfun including two USB adapter cables with feature multiple spliced connections for different USB connector styles or 5V power outputs. Dan also demonstrated EAGLE PCB Design software which is a powerful tool for designing PCBs and available for free. Dan worked through a basic tutorial on Sparkfun and has begun using the tool to create a custom Arduino Mega shield for his arena lighting and timer system built for the Bot Brawl. Lastly, Dan showed a video of Amazon’s future plans for 30 minute drone delivery. Their plan has many technical hurdles to overcome first but it’s exciting to see this type of forward thinking and should serve as a catalyst for the development of FAA regulations for drone use in the US.


  • Next monthly meeting is January 12th.
  • All 2014 meeting dates have been confirmed with Lakeview library. CIRC Yahoo group calender will be updated to include all of these dates soon.

Upcoming Events:

  • Central Illinois FLL Qualifier Tournaments
    • Bradley University Qualifiers – December 14th
  • Illinois State Championship FLL Tournaments
    • University of Illinois – January 18th
    • Arlington Heights – February 8th
  • Central Illinois Bot Brawl
    • ISU Family Science Day – April 5th

Event Recap:

  • Dan provided a summary of the Peoria Christian FIRST LEGO League Qualifier tournament which took place on December 7th

Club Business:

  • Website Updates
    • We’d like to add more content to website. If anyone would like to put together a “getting started” guide, product review, project summary, or any other content please send to webmaster for posting.
  • Peoria Riverfront Museum Engineering Day
    • February 16th, 1:00PM – 4:00PM
    • 2013 event was highest museum attendance day ever
    • CIRC participation in this event will take place of February monthly meeting
  • 2014 Bot Brawl
    • Saturday, April 5th, Redbird Arena
    • Bot Brawl will start at 10AM and conclude at 4PM. Main Family Science Day Event will start at 11AM (hour after start of Bot Brawl) and also conclude at 4PM.
    • Registration now open through the BuildersDatabase

December 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Monthly Meeting Recaps | No comment

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