Minutes from the December 2006

Connecticut Robotics Society Meeting:


Total Attendance: 15

The meeting commenced with a half hour viewing of the MIT 6.270 contest held in 2002.

Jake was up next with the usual introductions.

John then talked about the work he’s been doing for a Connecticut after-school program for children of low-income families.  Basically he’s involved as a mentor to a team of these students who are creating an underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) for the M.A.T.E contest.  John then went on to describe how the students were constructing these underwater vehicles including such considerations as ballast, framework, and locomotion.  Thanks for sharing John!

Another member then came up requesting advice on how to attach wheels to a heavy-duty motor he recently purchased.  Several members gave him advice and Jake even brought in some sample hardware that would to the trick.

Jim was up next with his demonstration of the programming language Python.  Included in his detailed discussion was a comparison of this very high level interpreted language to other options (such as C and assembler).  Following this, Jim moved on to discuss the many different data types available in Python (such as the usual integers and strings, but also a complex list type) and also its syntax and its native support for creating multithreaded programs.  He ended his talk with a video of a Python controlled robot which used shaft-encoders to drive in a straight line.  Thanks for this great talk Jim!

Walter came up next with an introduction to artificial neural networks.  He started off by explaining the basics behind how they worked followed by a short discussion on how they were actually “trained”.  He ended his speech with several demonstrations of neural networks ranging from a basic four-input AND gate to a more complex robotic network capable of simulating a robot avoiding walls while following the brightest light source.

Jake came up then with a discussion of the Van de Graaff Generator he brought in.

After this, our monthly mini-sumo contest was held between Walter and Jim and after several rounds it seems that Jim is still the club champion!  This was then followed by a general discussion of sumo and other robotics related topics.


The meeting adjourned around 4:00pm