[chbot] Meeting Report Tue 15 Dec 2009

Richard Jones rjtp at ihug.co.nz
Tue Dec 15 23:04:29 GMT 2009

A nice summer evening with about 20 people, some new faces and an age span
from about 7 to 70. The gold coin collection raised $13.55 for Science
Alive which was much appreciated. Thanks to all who came, and to those who
brought items to show and share, and christmas food to eat. For those who
could not make it here is an account of what we got up to. Also a link to
pictures of some of the robots attending the event:

Kay arrived with a tin man robot and walking legs that welcomed and
entertained people at the door.

We started with the challenge to locate and lift drink cans off the table.
Hayley came along with a Lego robot with an innovative lifter. It performed
really well, locating cans, lifting them and crashting them down onto the
table so that they bounced off. Hayley gave us a good description
construction and operation of the software that uses two lego bricks
interconnected using bluetooth. Wow.

I brought along my can lifting robot and described a free multiplatform
graphing tool called graphviz that I used draw the can finder state
machine, and showed an easy way to construct and test finite state machines
in Lego NXT-G. The can finder and lifter performed well and we discovered
that some more states would be handy. For example when the robot finds a
can, but the can gets stolen just as the robot has decided to lift it!

Sam and Braden came along and performed their RoboBoogie for us. This was
the dance entry that won them first place in the regional and national
robocup competitions this year. The performance was brilliant and you can
see it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qfi0JwF2Ic Thanks again
for coming, I can't wait to see what you have planned for next year.

Kay brought along his Tin Man and Walking leg mechanisms and entertained us
with stories of lawn mowers appearing to run on water and grass, impulse
jets, mechanical green man men rowing boats and more. In addition to
building electric cars, vans and mobility scooters Kay also makes violins
and cellos. Have a look at Kays web site: http://storydad.com

Jimmy gave away some prototyping boards from Brighsparks. Thanks Jimmy.

Hanno showed me how 12 blocks can be used to program state machines in a
graphical way that expresses the program in a way that can resemble the
state diagram. A much nicer approach than NXT-G. Maybe we get to see 12
blocks programming Lego soon?

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 17th February 2010 when the challenge
will be speed line following using a course constructed from Robocup
competition mats if we can borrow some. These have a 15mm black line on
white background with green direction hint squares. There will be edible
treats awarded to robots who bring their owners.


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