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Monthly Meeting Recap – 5/13/12

Robot Show & Tell:

  • Dan Toborowski brought his Neato Robotics VX-12 robotic vacuum cleaner which he obtained from Dan compared the performance of the VX-12 to the iRobot Roomba. The VX-12 includes a 360 degree laser range finder sensor which is capable of “mapping” it’s environment. This allows the robot to know where the edges of the room are so that it can efficiently clean with accurate parallel passes through the space unlike the Roomba which “randomly” criss-crosses the room in a much less efficient manner. As of now this robotic vacuum cleaner technically provides the cheapest source of a 360 degree laser rangefinder sensor. There are already a large collection of open source programs and developer communities who have created software that can read the output of this sensor allowing it to be used for any application.
  • Mike Dvorsky demonstrated his “Checkers on a Sumo Ring” entry which had some trouble functioning correctly at the competition. This was due to an infrared sensor sensitivity issue which made the robot unable to properly distinguish between the black and white surfaces on the competition sumo ring. Mike adjusted this and showed us the intended operation which is remote controlled but uses the infrared sensors to stop each motor when the robot reaches the end of the ring. This frees up the operator to focus only on collecting the checkers and pushing them to the edge of the ring without needing to manually ensure the checkers are positioned correctly at the end.
  • Peter Campbell demonstrated a new line follower timer system he’s been working on that solves some of the issues encountered with the initial prototype. The original design used a force-sensing resistor strip that the robots would run over to trigger the beginning and end of a lap. This worked quite well but a few robots appeared to jump over the very small bump failing to reliably trigger the sensor. Peter’s new design uses a light source and a webcam with RoboRealm. When the robot drives between the light source and camera the software detects the change in light and the lap trigger is activated. Peter demonstrated the system using Mike Dvorsky’s 1st place robot from the 2012 Bot Brawl and it worked very well.
  • Curt Boirum showed a collection of items he recently acquired for the RoboGames competition including some rotating beacon lights and ammo cases from Surplus Center and a power supply distribution box from Trossen Robotics. Curt also brought a paper piano roll for self-playing pianos he found at an antique store. Curt talked about a new project he thought of that would use infrared sensor to interpret the paper rolls and output the song through an electronic medium.
  • Ralph Boirum showed us 2 videos of robotic welders used for ship building. One system uses a suspended rail system to move into position inside the ship compartments. With position sensor feedback and an accurate knowledge of the design the welding robot arm is able to understand where obstacles are and how to navigate around these to complete the necessary weld. The other welding system uses a magnetic track system to climb up the side of the ship completing very difficult welds automatically.


  • ROBOT Magazine
    • Check out the July/August issue of ROBOT for a terrific article about our 2012 Bot Brawl! A huge thanks to our event emcee Brian Nave for putting together this terrific article!
  • Sponsor Updates – Several sponsors of the Bot Brawl provided offers for support or potential collaboration that extend beyond the Bot Brawl:
    • Solutions Cubed: 20% Robot Club Discount
    • Digilent: They are interested in collaborative projects, beta testing, products evaluations/reviews, etc… Let me know if this interests you.
  • Sensors Expo & Conference – June 6-7 (Rosemont, IL)
    • Event organizers are interested in offering free passes and discounts to members of the hobby community who can come demonstrate how various sensors are used in their projects.
  • Bi-Weekly Build Sessions
    • Next build session – 5/17

Upcoming Events:

  • Ohio Robotics Club – Saturday, May 19th
    • The Gate, Indoor RC Racing Club – Brunswick, oH
  • ChiBots SRS RoboMagellan Competition – Saturday, August 4th
    • Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills, IL

Club Business:

  • Monthly Meeting Location
    • The Lakeview Branch Library was found to be acceptable for our needs and will be the location for all future 2012 monthly meetings. Due to a schedule conflict we will now be targeting the 2nd Sunday of the month rather than the third. The dates will be updated in the Yahoo Group calender accordingly.
  • CIRC Group Event – Riverfront Segway Tour
    • We are going to try to set up a group Segway tour for CIRC club members at the Peoria Riverfront. They offer a 30 minute tour which is perfect for anyone who wants to try out riding a Segway and it only costs $25 per person. We found out that the maximum tour size they offer is 6 people. We will work on selecting a date and determining who will be attending through an email discussion on the Yahoo Group.
  • Online Club Library Listing
    • We hope to have the full library list published soon so club members can browse and check out items through the website.
  • 2012 RoboMagellan
    • ChiBots SRS RoboMagellan Competition – 8/4
    • We are currently in the process of developing the next generation of Wheel-E for this year’s competition. Most of our development takes place at bi-weekly build sessions.
    • If you’d like to get involved in this group project let us know! There’s plenty of work to be done on a project as complex as RoboMagellan.

May 13, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Monthly Meeting Recaps | No comment

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