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SEATTLE ROBOTICS SOCIETY
MEETING NOTES, November 19th, 2005
Jim Wright announced he was elected President of the SRS by the Board of Directors.
He encouraged participation at the Board of Directors' meetings by club members.
The FIRST Lego League competition occurs this year at Highland Middle School
in Bellevue on December 3rd. See http://www.firstwa.org
for information about this great program.
The level I workshop class is over, and the level II classes will be scheduled
soon. Check http://www.seattlerobotics.org/WorkShopRobot/
for more information.
SHOW & TELL
Tom Saxton showed us a mini-robot built from parts obtained at www.robotmarketplace.com.
Tom stated that this web site is a good source for motors, servos, etc. Cathy
Sexton has SRS level 1 kits available now.
Jim Kindsvater encouraged everyone to visit the SRS Yahoo Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SeattleRobotics
. There is a simple sign in form which allows access to the ongoing group discussion
and emails. Visit the SRS website and click on the "contact us" link to find
Dave Hylands assembled 2 PC based oscilloscopes at his table and illustrated
their operation. The BS220, BS300, and BS440 are available from www.bitscope.com
with various numbers of channels and levels of resolution and prices ranging
from $350 to $1500. Sample rates are available up to 40 MS/s. This speed relates
to an analogue bandwidth of about 100 MHz. Kit versions are also available for
DIY'ers. These products are shown as open source with all information available
including programming, schematics, parts lists, etc.
The WST-100 is available from www.oricomtech.com.
It's maximum sample rate of 1MS/s (repetitive signal) or 40 KS/s is slower than
the BS series, but the price is only about $100.
Tektronix has a great tutorial on oscilloscopes called "XYZ on
Oscilloscopes" at http://www.tektronix.com
. Follow the links to Oscilloscopes home page.
Steve Kaehler recommended a compact book from True Value Hardware titled Pocket
Reference by Thomas J. Glover. He showed us sections of information on a wide
variety of topics at a very reasonable price. He also noted a Design News article
about a Boostcap Ultracapacitor rated at 360 Farads at 2.5 volts DC. It can
be found at www.maxwell.com/ultracapacitors/products/BCAP0350.html.
About the size of a D cell batteries, these units cost about $29.00 each and
ship from California.
Kinsey Fobes (our Renton Tech sponsor) showed us his "off-road" version of
the Segway. http://www.segway.com/segway/model_xt.html
It was supplied with knobby tires for grassy or dirt areas. Kinsey keeps the
Segway at school and rides it around to advertise his programs. He says it is
somewhat difficult to navigate up/down hills, but a joy around the campus. A
bunch of attendees had a chance to try out this new big kid's toy.
DARPA CHALLENGE AND GREAT BOOKS
Ron Provine informed us that the Darpa race had been won. Results can be found
. He mentioned a number of teams and the spirit of competition. Ron also recommended
highly two books:
Principle of Robot Motion, MIT press, Howie Choset et al.
Probabalistic Robotics, MIT press, Sebastian Thrun et al.
FLOCK OF ROBOTS
Ron lake brought in a collection of robots including a pterodactyl that he
almost was able to fly.
The team is in a research (quiet) mode at this time looking into new types
of climbing fibers. Updated information is available at www.liftport.com. The
next significant climbing robot challenge occurs in August of 2006 with a prize
of $200k to the team that creates a 15 to 25 Kg robot capable of climbing 170
feet up a tethered ribbon using only beamed power. Information is available
Last year's competitors had significant problems with ribbon movement and the
resulting loss of power transmission.
UW AUTONOMOUS FLIGHT SYSTEMS LAB, PROFESSOR Rolf Rysdyk
Professor Rysdyk is developing control algorithms for autonomous, interactive
groups of drone aircraft. He stated that there are 3 levels of control:
Guiding the aircraft towards an objective.
Coordinating the flight of several aircraft.
The measures that relate the aircraft's position are:
- GPS data.
- Magnetometer instruments
- Inertial units (gyros & accelerometers)
- Environmental data (wind speed, wind direction, altitude)
The objective is to coordinate the flight of several relatively
inexpensive, expendable VTOL aircraft in a search for an identified target.
The most important factor in this coordination is wind direction and speed.
As the aircraft circle each other, their relative motion with respect to the
wind is constantly changing.
Ultimately, Professor Rysdyk is working to coordinate 300 aircraft
making their own decisions about movement relative to each other and working
together on a common task.
for more information about the research being done by the AFSL and an overview
of Professor Rysdyk's presentation.