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Meeting Notes & Pictures 9/05

by Jim Kindsvater Winter 2006


September 17,2005


Jim Wright opened the meeting and explained procedures to about 60 people.


Cathy and Tom Saxton reminded us that Robothon '05 is October 8th and 9th at the Seattle Center House. See www.robothon.com Volunteers are always needed so sign up. T-Shirts are available for $20.00 each. They will be sold at the Friday night hack session and at Robothon. Pre-paid raffle tickets will be available at the show.


Classes will start again later in the year. Robot kits are available for sale. Check www.seattlerobotics.org/workshoprobot/ for more information.


David Shoemaker (www.liftport.com) talked about progress at Space Elevator. The space elevator crew tried a 1 mile test with 2 balloons last month. The large sail area of their balloon was a problem in the wind. Their next attempt will occur on September 20th. See www.spaceelevator.com for more information.

PSOC's (Programmable Systems on Chip)

George Storm is trying to set up a PSOC class. Anyone interested should email him at keencoyote@earthlink.net. He needs 10 or more people to run the class. Information on PSOC's can be obtained at www.cypress.com.


Cathy Saxton introduced a walking robot (R-o'bot because it's green and therefore Irish. Cathy wants to run it in the walking robot competition at Robothon. Cathy purchased it from www.junun.org.


Steve Evans is introducing potential First team members to the various systems commonly used in First competitions at Eastlake High School. He intends to cover mechanical, electrical, and pneumatic systems using his "Robot in a box".


Jeff Schoberpurchased a walking robot kit at a cost exceeding $1000 from www.lynxmotion.com including additional ultra-sonic sensor and optical sensor to set up for the walking contest at Robothon.



Dave Hylands and Karl Lunt

Karl illustrated an easy, inexpensive way to get into Linux for Robots. He showed us a $20 Pentium laptop (233 MHz) with about $50 of accessories including a 384Mb flash drive which gave Karl enough room to install and run Linux.

Linux may be obtained on 15 Cd's for about $30. Karl suggested the Debian 3.1 distribution and the 2.6.8 Kernel which are the easiest to obtain and implement. Sources are www.Debian.org or www.linuxcentral.org.

Suggesting reading materials are: 1. Running Linux, 4th (or higher) edition, Welsh et al. 2. Advanced Unix Programming, 4th edition, Marc Rochkind.

Karl showed us a talking voltmeter. It is based on an A/D converter chip linked over the serial port to the PC.

Dave described a free program called Colinux (www.colinux.com) which lets you run Linux on Windows XP. Dave runs an embedded version of Linux called busybox on a 64 Mb Gumstix with 4 Mb Flash. He connected the Gumstix to the associated Robostix expansion board for hardware interfacing to a Robo Magellan competition 'Bot.

Reference Websites are:

  1. www.uclibe.org
  2. www.busybox.org
  3. www.gumstix.com
  4. www.robostix.com
  5. www.freshmeat.org or .net
  6. www.linuxfromscratch.org

Dave compared the ATMega to the Gumstix.

Platform ATMega Gumstix
RAM 8 Kbytes 64 Mbytes
Flash 128 Kbytes 4 Mbytes
Speed 16 MHz 400 MHz

Dave stated that the transition from an imbedded processor like the Atmel to the gumstix will be made because the problem to be solved requires more memory than is available to a micro-processor. An example of this situation would be the mapping of a line maze course.