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Monthly Meeting Recap – 3/11/12

Our March 2012 monthly meeting did not follow the typical format due to a very low turnout and because we had a lot of Bot Brawl details to discuss.

Robot Show & Tell:

  • We did not have time for a formal show & tell presentation

Announcements (We also ran out of time for announcements but there were a few things I wanted to mention):

  • Job Offers:
    • AVR and Embedded Linus Developer
      • I have escalated a two-year engagement with a company that makes cell phones. You have heard of them, but I’m under NDA so I can’t disclose their identity. They have development offices in the San Francisco area, Lund (Sweden), Tokyo, Beijing, and elsewhere. I have done a significant amount of embedded development work for them personally over the last two years, and now the amount of work that needs to get done is far beyond what I can deliver myself. Anyway, their phones are Android-based which means there is a lot of Linux platform integration work on Qualcomm and ST-Ericsson chipsets. In addition, an accessory device project has been added to my workload which contains an AVR microcontroller along with a bunch of other circuitry. This stuff is very, very sophisticated: the phone device alone has upwards of thirty different power domains e.g. voltage regulators, and we push Linux APIs for USB, I2C, SPI, VREG, platform, and others to the max in order to tame these beasts. The need is immediate, and the current assignments are active through the end of the year— but there will be follow-on work. So this is a near-permanent opportunity for someone, at least if they are comfortable working as a 1099 consultant in a somewhat pressure-cooker environment at times. The ideal candidate can travel to Silicon Valley once or twice a month, and who lives/can be present either in the Peoria area or near the north suburbs of Chicago (where a fellow developer on the project lives and works). They need some familiarity with embedded Linux, i.e. have done a platform or I2C/SPI driver, but I don’t expect them to be experts. I do need for them to be highly trainable, strong communicators, and able to take initiative and responsibility. They can send resumes to me at bgat@billgatliff.com, or contact me at +1 (309) 453-3421.
    • LEGO Robotics Instructors for Summer Program – v-blanas@northwestern.edu
      • We are currently looking for Instructors and teaching assistants for our Summer classes. Classes run Monday through Fridays from 8:30am-2:45 pm for three week sessions.
        The dates and descriptions are as follows:
        June 24-July 13
        Robotics Honors (7th & 8th Grade students)
        Did you know that mp3 players, microwaves, copy machines, cell phones, and universal remote controls are all robotic systems? This hands-on course focuses on mechanical construction, characteristics of sensors, motors and batteries, and control strategies for autonomous robots. Students are members of class teams that design, build and program complete robots that participate in competitions. Biologically inspired approaches to the design and control of autonomous robots are emphasized.
        Robotics (4th-6th Grade students)
        Have you always wanted a robot to do your chores? Are you fascinated by “smart” technology? In this course, students learn the basics of engineering, building and programming robots. Using the LEGO NXT Robotics Design System, students work in small groups to create robots that perform simple tasks, all the while learning basic principles of engineering, honing their math skills and testing their creativity.
        July 15-August 3
        Robotics Honors (7th & 8th Grade students)
        Did you know that mp3 players, microwaves, copy machines, cell phones, and universal remote controls are all robotic systems? This hands-on course focuses on mechanical construction, characteristics of sensors, motors and batteries, and control strategies for autonomous robots. Students are members of class teams that design, build and program complete robots that participate in competitions. Biologically inspired approaches to the design and control of autonomous robots are emphasized.
        Robotics (4th-6th Grade students)
        Have you always wanted a robot to do your chores? Are you fascinated by “smart” technology? In this course, students learn the basics of engineering, building and programming robots. Using the LEGO NXT Robotics Design System, students work in small groups to create robots that perform simple tasks, all the while learning basic principles of engineering, honing their math skills and testing their creativity.
        Pay for the Instructors is $3100/three-week session
        Pay for the Teaching Assistants is $1200/three week session
  • Event Recap – Lakeview Museum National Engineers Week 2/19
    • Big thanks to Len Shelton, Mike Dvorsky, and Bruce Stott for helping with the display
    • More info and pictures posted here
  • Urbana-Champaign Mini Maker Faire, April 14th

Upcoming Events:

  • 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
  • Ohio Robotics Club – Saturday, May 19th
    • The Gate, Indoor RC Racing Club – Brunswick, OH

Club Business:

  • Club Brochures
    • We now have 1000 brand new club brochures for handing out at events and competitions. The design is very similar to the previous brochures but with updated pictures, slightly modified text, the new website URL, and a few other tweaks. A big thanks to Josh for updating the design!
  • New CIRC Clothing
    • We will continue discussions about making new CIRC apparel after the Bot Brawl
  • Online Club Library Listing
    • We will be posting the full club library list on the website once we have a chance to determine the best way to do this.
  • Bot Brawl Preparations
    • Josh has updated the Bot Brawl advertising posters. You can download these here. The PDF can be printed out on standard 8.5″ X 11″ sheets and posted on bulletin boards at work or other suitable places. Help get the word out!
    • Dan Toborowski brought in some laser cut pieces that were tests for “medals” that will be awarded to competition winners. 1st place winners will still retrieve trophies but now 1st, 2nd, and 3rd will receive these laser cut medals instead of printed certificates
    • Peter Campbell demoed the Checkers on a Sumo ring timer and Line Follower timer system he’s been working on. These systems will allow us to easily keep track of times during each match or lap. The line follower system uses a long pressure-sensitive sensor strip which will trigger the timer when a robot drives over it. Peter did a fantastic job selecting a very low profile sensor and the system appeared to work wonderfully in his demo. It will even keep track of the best times and automatically rank the top robots. We’re very excited to use this at the event!
    • We went through the Bot Brawl roles spreadsheet again and found several roles that still need owners. I’ll be sending out this list to the group shortly and hopefully we’ll find club members willing to volunteer.
    • We also went through a tentative event schedule. This will be posted on the competition page shortly and will continue to be updated as we get a better idea of the number of competitors.

March 11, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Monthly Meeting Recaps | No comment

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