Minutes from the June 2004

Connecticut Robotics Society Meeting:


Total attendance: 20+

The meeting began with a half hour viewing of a video about robotic fish, robotic bugs, the Honda Walker, and COG.

After that, our vice president, Mark W. did the usual introductions.

Mike and Jeff came up next with their review of a book entitled “The Personal Robot Navigator“.  They received a copy of this book at the last Trinity College Fire Fighting Robot Contest and have had some time now to read through it and experiment with the book’s ideas.  They described the strong and weak points of the book and also demonstrated the robot simulation program “RoboNav” that comes bundled with this book.  Thanks for this excellent review!

John then briefly talked about the book “Build Your Own Printed Circuit Boards”.  He gave a quick review of the book and explained what it was about.  Thanks John!

Walter came up next with his demonstration of a multi-processor robotic network.  He explained how this network communicates and how it can be easily used.  He then went on to give a quick demo of this network by bringing in a three processor robot that was able to move away from obstacles placed in front of it.

Brian then showed everyone his newest model cars.  He brought one in that was able to drive itself using a small propeller powered by a DC motor.  Not only this, but he also showed everyone his plans for his upcoming projects.  Great work Brian!

Next up was Jim with a demonstration of his new fire fighting robot idea.  Instead of using a differential drive system (that is, two motors on either side of the robot) which usually causes the robot to slowly arc in one direction, this new robot uses a steering system similar to that found on a car.  In this type of system, the rear wheels are powered by a single motor, while the front wheels are able to rotate which cause the robot to turn.  This system allows the robot to move perfectly straight, however maneuvering the robot is more of a challenge.  Nice work Jim!

This then led to a general conversation about improving this type of a drive system and several excellent ideas were given.

Jim then talked about how he managed to create a five button keypad that is able to communicate with the processor using only two wires.

After this, there was a group discussion about what to do next season.  Several excellent ideas were passed around including ideas for new contests, and lectures.  If you have any ideas for next season’s club meetings, please send them to Jim at webmaster@ctrobots.org .  Please send him anything from contest ideas to what you think can be improved at our meetings.

Our contest this month was the Robot Speed Race.  And we actually had more than one contestant this time!  The competitors were Mark W., Jim, and Walter.  The goal of the contest is to build a robot that is able to move down a 10 foot long track.  A line is placed on the track, and if the robot moves off this line, it is disqualified.  Obviously, in this contest, the fastest robot wins.

It was a tight race between the contestants, but in the end, Mark won with a time of 3.66 seconds.  Jim took second, and Walter took a not too close third (servo motors driving a somewhat large and heavy base just can‘t compete with the light weight Lego ‘bots that the other contestants had...).  Great work everyone!


The meeting adjourned around 3:30pm