Minutes from the Feb. '99 CRS meeting:

Total attendance: 12

The meeting commenced at 1pm with a viewing of Mike's Discovery Channel video on Robots.

As Jake was absent, we skipped all of the usual opening ceremonies and went right into show-and-tell time.

First, Kyle showed off his Lego "Mindstorm" robot from the last meeting with a few enhancements. This version was light activated and sported two front mounted finger-like bumper sensors. All worked as advertised. Good job Kyle!

Next, Kevin demo'ed his anamatronic monkey. Made from scratch, this creation's mouth, arm, and finger could move on command. Kevin made the frame and sewed the fabric himself such that you thought that he bought a monkey puppet in a store and fit the rest in. Amazing job! - I see a high-tech movie career in this guy's future. Kevin also brought in a small two wheeled robot that was in need of fresh 9V batteries so we didn't get to see it do much - perhaps next meeting.

Mike M. brought in his line tracing competitor and the robot performed very well. The robot was built around Mondo-tronics tank tread platform and used a Basic Stamp II for its brain. Mike used two IR phototransistors connected to op-amps to detect the line (which was masking tape on the floor). Another nice touch was the piezo speaker connected to one of the Stamp's output lines to indicate line detection, etc. All in all, a clear winner! Thanks Mike.

Scott's PC, parallel port relay board, and mobile robot platform made a return visit this meeting. Scott added a couple of front mounted bumper whiskers to the robot. The tethered robot did its thing scooting around the floor all the while getting its commands from Scott's QuickBasic program. Mention was also made of a micro switch connected to one of the wheels to provide some distance info.

Finally, Jim brought in his rendition of a tethered robot. The PC ran Linux (UNIX for the PC), the programming on the PC was done in PERL, and an RS-232 cable connected the COM port on the PC to the SCI port on the robot's 68hc11. The robot platform sported bumper switches, IR detectors, and two CdS photocells for light detection. Jim spent some time explaining how all the pieces fit together. The robot did indeed move around trying to find the brightest part of the room while avoiding collisions.

Just as we were all ready to leave, Jake rolled in. He gave the remaining folks a quick demo of photocell vs. photodiode conductivity by means of his pic-stic and LCD display setup.

Jake also hosted a last minute round of giveaways - some project boxes, relays, and a lot of other neat stuff.

The meeting adjourned around 2:45pm.