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MEETING NOTES, December 17th, 2005


Cathy Saxton opened the meeting as Jim Wright is traveling in the Far East. The January meeting will be held as usual on the 3rd Saturday. The February meeting may be moved to coincide with the First local competition.


Cathy Saxton showed us her Xmas tree ornament. It consists of a tree shaped pc board with multiple, multi-colored LED's coordinated in several blinking patterns by an Atmel microprocessor. It is designed to plug in place of a mini-light bulb in a normal string. Details of her design quest have appeared regularly on the List Server.

Ron Provine described robotic versions of Segways. He also showed an article about a machine he helped build using FIRST hardware. Boeing has an active robotic community. Details may be found at .

Jin Hayashi (jhayashi(at) is looking for a FIRST team robotics mentor.

Doug Bell illustrated the potential of lego components by building a multiple motion arm with the ability to move up and down, extend, and open and close a manipulator. He also built a 4 arm universal joint which could turn to multiple angles and change length while rotating.

Doug also demonstrated a curve tracer circuit using a two axis oscilloscope linked to a low voltage filament transformer. His circuit had the ability to measure and demonstrate correct operation for various devices under test. An article in this Encoder describes his device and its' uses.



Dr. Rosen's interest centers on Robotic Surgery. He showed a film clip of a theoretical military operating room of the future, where all procedures are totally automated. His research is sponsored by DARPA. Their objective is an army that is 30% robotic.

Dr. Rosen stated that the surgical robot was introduced into the operating room in the early 1990's. In a typical surgery, there are 2 surgeons operating with 4 eyes and 4 hands. The operating room of the future has only the patient in it. All operating procedures are robotic and could be controlled by a surgeon located anywhere in the world.

Dr. Rosen has developed an instrument called the Blue Dragon (because it's blue and looks like a dragon). This machine follows the movements of a surgeon using an endoscopic instrument during a surgical procedure, measuring ranges of motion, force, and acceleration. An endoscopic instrument minimizes tissue damage during surgery by moving and rotating the instrument around the point of entry into the body. The Blue Dragon's base pivots are aligned with the skin entrance point to control potential lateral movements.

Dr. Rosen's objective is to develop a mechanism that can operate two endoscopic instruments with 90 degree operating cones. He is mathematically modeling the blue dragon and then evaluating alternative linkage lengths and geometry to obtain his objective.

Dr. Rosen is also working on exoskeletal control mechanisms. He showed a film clip from the 1987 movie "Alien" which projected two large exoskeletal robots lifting and stacking items under control of internal human operators. He also showed clips of an external arm mechanism that was able to exactly follow the movement of a human arm using complex external bearings. His ultimate goal is to control robotic exoskeletons using neural signals measured over arm or other muscles.

Links to his work are:

"Robotic Surgery" on Google:

"Exoskeleton" on Google: