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We'd be hard pressed to get Chibots to participate in running a Robotics Convention as this is a very time consuming task. Attending is one thing, running is another. Right now our main focus is on getting more members building robots.

Chibots has instituted a "focus contest" hopefully starting this Sunday. In this contest, most of the 3 hours we spend once a month in meetings will be used for actual build sessions leveraging the more experienced builders when the less experienced builders have questions. This also helps out in contest participation as everyone is in the same boat and the comradery tends to help keep things moving.

Oh n by the way…
Too bad I ran across this bug now. We could have purchased a couple and had them on display at the competition, got a pre order going! Thats not bad markup on it either. Id go 15.00 each, but depends on how big etc…

I have posted a zip file that contains some pictures of my robot, the programs it used, and the building plans for it in a MLcad file. Download the file here :lego files

The Robo O-Games - FINAL Rules, dated November 26, 2007, have been posted on the Wiki. Also posted is a PDF file that documents what Rules have been changed, the changes made to those Rules, and Commentary regarding a selected number of Rules.

Multiple tasks?
jkjellmanjkjellman 26 Nov 2007 16:23
in discussion Programming / RIS 2.0 » Multiple tasks?

Hello all,

What my question to the group is, has anyone used multiple tasks to get a job done? I would like to hear about your experiences.

While I am not too fond of the RIS 2.0 graphic programming metaphor (I program in "syntax based" languages like C for a living ;-) I still find myself using it. Mainly I use RIS 2.0 when I wait too long to program a robot for a contest and end up having to whip something together quickly. The syntax based languages like RobotC, while faster and more precise, require more debugging than RIS programs in general.

I have one usage to share with you all. At our last Chibotica I had an Advanced Table Top entry named Anyway III (Anyway was disassembled for parts after an earlier contest and Anyway II launched off the end of a table ;-) which was programmed in RIS 2.0 for the above mentioned reasons. This is the robot I demonstrated at our first meeting.

In the ATT contest a banquet table is has three zones made using white electrical tape. Each zone is about 11" long with Zone A at one end, Zone B at the other and Zone C somewhere in the middle. The robot must travel from Zone A to Zone B, then back to Zone A, then to Zone C and finally back to Zone A. Sounds confusing, but it is pretty simple (see for details) once you draw it on paper.

The technique I chose to use was to count lines as I went across the table and use this information to determine when I entered a Zone and when to reverse direction or stop. In past contests I wrote a MyBlock that would detect a line and then just inserted as many of these blocks as I needed to "count" lines. Unfortunately this technique would run out of storage under RIS 2.0 so I had to make some concessions to get it to fit. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say I ended up with a robot that would briefly brake every time it went over a line. It didn't stop, it just pulsed which you could hear and also slowed it down.

For this contest I used a second task attached to the light sensor that incremented a global variable every time the light sensor passed over a line. In my main task I would reset the global variable to 0 and then wait for it to hit the value I was looking for (i.e. the number of lines that should be crossed) before performing any action like stopping or reversing. This made for a very simple two part program that was very easy to debug and fit nicely into the RCX memory.

Anyone else found a clever use for multiple tasks? They seem like a pretty powerful tool.

Take care,

Multiple tasks? by jkjellmanjkjellman, 26 Nov 2007 16:23

Oh I remember Johnny 5 from both Short Circuit movies. Reminds me to never give a robot I build the ability to read otherwise they'll become self aware and run amok! ;-)

As for the Servo Erector Set that Johnny is made from, it really isn't that expensive. The most expensive part of Johnny is his base which definitely is priced pretty high for tank treads, even very nice ones like Lynx uses. I think these are custom made for Lynx by a third party (my guess here) and as such are probably a bit on the expensive side due to low volume.

I have used the SES twice now to build robotic arms for a client who wanted light duty "industrial" robotic arms for a pick and place operation. They are quite sturdy and work pretty well. The servos are the biggest expense if you are trying to do anything that has a decent amount of mass to move. In my arm I used all digital servos which cost about $100 a piece on average. This was a bit of over kill, but to get the accuracy needed (cheaper analog servos are temperature sensitive and have less holding torque) I had to do it.

To compare the SES with other robotic kits ,you would need to use servos modified for continuous rotation and some of the hubs/wheel sets that Lynx sells to wind up with something comparable, albeit at a higher price point. If you were to buy a Vex set I think you would find the SES price comparable once you add a few servos and a micro controller. If you were to buy a Lego NXT set, I don't think you could get as much functionality with the SES, thought they are aimed at slightly different physical targets.
All you need to add is a PING))), a micro controller and a QTI light sensor.

Anyway, as you can tell I've had my coffee this morning so I think I'll sign off before I overload. ;-)

Take care,

While searching online- for lego sets, heres what I came across…who remembers JOHNNY 5??

I guess this is an alternative to legos, once you really get hooked! ( And have the extensive income for purchasing the materials!)

So with most of the ideas I threw out, reading over your replies in italics…maybe we dont need any sponsorships?
It is sometimes good to play devils advocate, this shows both positive and negative of each idea and can "weed out"
what we really should or not do.
Re the online fundraising search engines…Ill post a link once I remember the sites name so you all can look at it.

Jewel only gives 5% of each purchase. Takes a lot of family and friends to do this. Most people shop at discount places…I personally shop at Jewel.
even though I kick myself after I see my bill each week! (ouch!).

Like I posted before - I think If we built this ground up as far as the robots, it would be easier to get cash and donations for this stuff.

Summary of ideas thus far (with my comments in italics):

- We need to figure out what we need money for (I agree)

- Find an online search engine that we can send family/friends to for funds (I'm not sure what that means)

- Sponsorship/donation from local computer/hobby stores (We can't go to this well too often, let's think about what we need and when it would be best to approach them - and what is in it for them)

- Jewel/Dominick's Shop and Share Days (This will only successfully generate money if we get a lot of family/friends to do it - but it would not involve that much effort on our parts other than giving the slips to everyone we know)

- Corporate sponsorship (We would REALLY need to pin down what we need the money for - and it would need to be attractive to the corporation)

- Grants (What would we be applying for - these are typically for a specific purpose? When asking for donations, sponsorships, or grants we need to keep it foremost in our minds about what we can offer the sponsor)

- A Robotics Convention (Let's take some baby steps first - I would like to see evidence that we can pull off some small and medium size efforts first…)

I don't for this to sound so negative. To an extent I am being devil's advocate here, but I am also emphasizing that we need to be realistic and keep in mind the level of effort and involvement required for different types of efforts.

OK, we've generated some ideas (though there has been limited feedback on the ideas presented so far) - now it's time to create a plan of action and EXECUTE IT! I am concerned about the limited amount of feedback - is this indicative of the level of participation that can be expected when it comes to doing the actual fundraising? If so, the plan needs to account for that. It seems to me that we should start with ideas that can be accomplished with minimal participation…

Plan of Action by Prof LangellierProf Langellier, 25 Nov 2007 20:25

I can get Jewel shop and share days going. I can pick up the paperwork…Dominicks is a pain to deal with since they changed ownership.
I have time this week to stop at the hobby shop in Oak lawn to see if the guy is intrested/let me leave flyers.
The monies collected are to get new sets…correct? Can we apply for a grant some how looped thru the college?
I think trying to go thru retail stores such as TOYS R Us will be hard becasue mnost of the time (previously found out while working with a school district) you have to go to corporate, and these companies usually donate to their local community, usually not based here in Illinois.
legos may be hard to promote to get monies for funding. I think if we actually built up these robots from scratch, we'd be able to get some bigger corporations (Radio Shack etc…) Think of it like the "Boss" car. They went to GM and Cat to ask for donations…they gave them the frame etc, and monies becasue its a huge impact on technology. Heck- the Lexus corp (I believe owned by GM??) had their auto parking car shown on Oprah the other day. these companys want to see the technology at work…since they may eventually want to use it one day in the manufacturing of their autos.
Just playing devil's advocate - dont like to . But this is what ive seen while seeking out corporate donations.

What about LEGO Corp??

What If we do something in the college center? What if we do a ROBOTICS CONVENTION, and ask the group KJohn is involved with to help us out? We can hold it at the Orland civic center…or school… charge a couple bucks to get in, charge for refreshments, get some promotional give aways (theres where you can get donations from…) and if not making a TON of $$ we can get the word out, make a little $..convince others to try it. maybe get Legos to sponsor us??

Yep, they're in color - I'll have some for Monday night.

Sorry Prof Larry - Are these flyers in color, I should ask, do you want them printed in color? If so, yes, print me the colored ones Monday- I do not have a colored printer - Ill get them out…

Keep me in mind for the chairperson….

Print me about about 5 - Ill get them from you monday night.
There a 2 hobby shops off LaGrange Road in orland Park…for anyone who lives out that direction….

What we desperately need, in addition to ideas, is someone to volunteer to serve as the fundraising chairperson and a bunch of other people who are willing to go out and actually implement the fundraising plans. Money isn't going to magically appear…

Of course, if we are content working with the LEGO RCXs and NXTs that is fine too. We don't really need much (if any) money for that. It all comes back to what people want to do beyond LEGO robotics - and then the dedication to back those other ideas with the time and effort necessary to raise the money that is needed.

Sounds like a great idea. I have flyers that I have made (which are posted on the wiki). Now all we need are volunteers to stop by hobby shops to see if they would be willing to post our flyers. The more volunteers the better - who's interested?

Leave flyers at local Hobby Shops…ask locations that carry the mindstorms if we can leave flyers…this will promote our club, and also the hobby shop/store can order the supplies to have on their shelf. If a kid/adult sees the item, then a group they can belong to…tada…members (and donations!)

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