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MEETING NOTES, October 15, 2005


Pete Miles hailed Robothon as a huge success, but many are relieved that it's over. There were many robots participating, although mini-sumo participation seemed lighter than a couple of years ago. A big THANK YOU to all volunteers, participants, vendors, exhibitors, and spectators. The results are available at .

A request was made that more people participate in the practice events held after the monthly meetings. A lot of setup effort is made for these events and it helps when participation is significant.


Cathy Saxton told us that the latest edition of the workshop robot class starts October 22nd and will continue for three Saturdays in a row. This will be a Level 1 class focusing on basic kit assembly and robot kits are available for sale at .


Jim Kindsvater, SRS Encoder editor, made a plea for articles for Encoder editions. Articles need not be complicated and may address any subject of general interest to the club. Articles may be submitted to .

Please keep picture size under 100KB or so. Email questions to . Jim will be taking pictures at the meetings and including meeting summaries into the encoder.



Tom Sexton introduced the Blue Smurf-a wireless serial connection based on blue tooth protocol. The effective range can be up to 100 feet, depending upon the surrounding environment. This product may be found at


Pete Miles held up his $20 case from Lowes Hardware with customized foam inserts for his mini-sumo robots. Pete also asked for input about the mini-sumo contest. He noted that 2 years ago we had 50 contestants, last year we had 30 contestants,and 5 contestants this year.

Doug Kelley asked whether more interest is shown in newer events and the group agreed. Newer contests with newer challenges invite greater participation. Ron Provine suggest adding wireless control to some mini-sumo platforms to encourage audience participation.


Pad O'Dowd has some small motors for sale.


Chris O'Dowd showed us a B.E.A.M. robot that he put together two hours before Robothon.


Darrel Kromarek showed us his walking robot and asked for information on programming Pic micro-processors.


Eric Knise is building a mini-sumo robot. The base chip is a baby orangutan from This board includes a microprocessor, motor drivers, A/D converters, etc.

John Maivor showed us the mini-sumo built by his son Ian. He mentioned that the wheels are roller blade wheels which come in a variety of materials and are extremely tough.

Cathy Sexton illustrated how her line following robot uses an array of Led's and Photo-Sensors to compensate for the poor lighting at the Seattle Center house. Her base chip is an Atmel ATmega32, which can read her photocell array 100 times per second.

Jeff and Michael Schober brought out their walking robot named "crutches" which has crutches for arms. They pointed out that the simpler walking approach will lead to greater speed.


Richard Fenway showed us an American Bright 3 watt LED which was quite visible in our meeting room.


The Space Elevator team climbed 1000 feet up their ribbon last month. The FAA required them to paint the yellow fiberglass tape with orange paint for 15 feet at 50 foot intervals so as to increase the visibility of the tape. The paint unfortunately affected the strength of the tape so the team is looking either for a paint which is not based on Acetone or a different type of tether wire or string.



Eric Knise, Christopher Nield, and Kyle Corbitt along with coaches Tom and Cathy Saxton introduced us to their 2005 competition robot. The First competition starts every year in January and the team is given 6 weeks to design, build, and operate a robot dedicated to solving a particular task.

The basic parts of the robot such as wheels, base frame, motors, controllers, air compressor, storage tank, etc. are supplied by the First organization and all parts must be used. The robot cannot weight more than 130 pounds and must fit in a 30 x 36 x 72 inch box.

The 2005 task was to place a number of tetrahedrons in a row on top of target pyramids on a Tic Tac Toe style board. The robot is controlled remotely using a dual joystick style controller. The team gave us a complete demonstration of the task. The team's website is

Each year a new task is defined, and volunteer coaches are welcomed. News about the First competition is available at .