Using an Android Phone with Your Robot – Monthly Meeting Topic – March 9th, 2019

For tomorrow’s meeting Iron Reign will share information about how they use Android phones to run their robots. The presentation will be informal and off-the-cuff. It will discuss improvements to their competition robot since last presentation, but the emphasis will be a coding walk-through using the Android framework provided by FIRST – the STEM program in charge of their competition.
The walk-through will show some simplified examples. If you want to follow along on your own computers, you can install the tools and starter code below:
1. Download Android Studio – this is a free development environment based on jetbrains, the java sdks will come along for the ride
2. Download the ftc_app starter framework from github – this is starter codebase
3. Compile the app. This needs to be done ahead of time because it will fail multiple times as it figures out new dependencies that need to be downloaded.
There is a fair amount of downloading in all of those steps. We won’t have time to debug the install process for those trying it on their own. However, if you are able to follow along live, we might have a way for you to test a very basic teleop program.  Iron Reign plans to bring some robot phones and show how to debug wirelessly. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t worry about it – if folks are interested we can follow up at RBNO.

After the presentation there will be a show and tell, with a Donkey Car demo.
The meeting is at the Dallas Maker Space and starts at Noon on Saturday, March 9th. 

Useful OpenCV Routines for Hobby Roboticists – Monthly Meeting Topic – February 9th, 2019


DPRG’s February monthly meeting topic is “Useful OpenCV Routines for Hobby Roboticists”. Member Ray Casler will share his experiences using OpenCV on his robots .

His presentation will cover:

  • blob detection
  • LiDAR – IR filter and line laser
  • pixel diddling – Challenge line following strategy
  • using distance maps from Xbox Kinect sensors
  • object tracking

Many people interested in Donkey Car have started their builds. There will be a Donkey Car show and tell after Ray’s presentation. Bring your Donkey Car build and share your experiences.

The meeting is at the Dallas Maker Space and starts at Noon on Saturday, February 9th. 

DPRG Elections – 2019

DPRG 2019 Annual Meeting Minutes: Annual Meeting Minutes – 2019

Once again it is time to hold elections for DPRG club officers. The election will occur at the DPRG monthly meeting on January 12th, 2019. It is very important that members vote. The by-laws require that a specific percentage of members vote to make the election official.

A slate of candidates composed of the present officers is proposed for reelection in the 2019 election. The club’s by-laws limit the terms of the President and Vice-President to two years. This would be the 2nd term for Ray and Carl. This slate is composed of members who have indicated interest at recent club events. Any member can come forward and be added to the list of people considered for the various officer’s positions. If you want to explore holding office, an overview of officer duties can be found at  officer duties. You can also get additional information by talking to an existing officer at any monthly meeting or RBNO. If you want to throw your hat into the ring, please let me know quickly at email “secretary at dprg dot org” so you can be added to the ballot.

Proposed Slate of Officers for 2019

President: Ray Casler
Vice-President: Carl Ott
Treasurer: Steve Edwards
Secretary: Doug Paradis
Librarian: John Kuhlenschmidt

How to Vote

All members in good standing can vote. The list of members is at member list. If you are not on the list and you think you should be, the problem is most likely that you need to renew your membership. Contact “secretary at dprg dot org” if you need help renewing your membership.

Members can vote by emailing their vote to “election at dprg dot org” before the January 12th meeting. The email should contain the text “I vote for the proposed officer slate”, or “I vote for the following people for office”, or similar text that allows our volunteer election vote counter to determine your intentions.

Members can also vote in person or proxy at the January 12th DPRG meeting. If voting by proxy, you should signal your intention to vote by proxy by sending an email to the person that you are giving control of your vote and to “election at dprg dot org” so the person holding your proxy and the person tallying votes knows of your intention. The person holding the proxy must then vote.

Iron Reign’s Regional Championship Robot, and Clay and Ray Talk Line Following Strategy – Monthly Meeting Topics – Dec. 8th 2018


At the December monthly meeting, DPRG has the honor to host 2 interesting presentations.

In the first presentation, Iron Reign will show and discuss their robot, Rover Ruckus. Rover Ruckus is a competitor in the upcoming FIRST robotics regional championship. The robot is controlled by an Android phone. It also utilizes openCV for computer vision, and TensorFlow for machine learning.

Next, members Clay Timmons and Ray Casler will present the strategy and code their robots are using in their effort to successfully complete the challenge line follow course. They plan to cover the basics of line following all the way through the difficulties on the challenge course Their robots use Raspberry Pi for control and openCV for computer vision.

Lastly, the DPRG board will present a slate of candidates for the upcoming annual officer election, which will end at the January Annual meeting. If you are a member and wish to seek an officer position, please contact one of the current officers.

The meeting is at the Dallas Maker Space and starts at Noon on Saturday, December 8th. ROOM CHANGE – This month the meeting will be in the Purple classroom instead of the Interactive classroom.

Intro to Fuzzy Logic – Monthly Meeting Topic – July 14th, 2018

Doug’s slide deck can be found at: slide deck (PDF)

DPRG’s monthly meeting for July is on Saturday, the 14th, at the Dallas Maker Space. The meeting starts at Noon.

Pursuing Artificial Intelligence, scientists and mathematicians have searched for ways to allow computers to handle vague ideas. Lotfi A. Zedeh realizing that conventional computer logic could not manipulate information presented in subjective terms, such as, “slightly, a little more, way more” laid out the mathematical basis for a method called “Fuzzy Logic“. Fuzzy Logic has since found use in the design of controllers of all kinds.

DPRG’s topic of the month is “Intro to Fuzzy Logic”, presented by member Doug Paradis. Doug will cover the steps used to build a Fuzzy Logic controller. As a demonstration, he will implement a Line Following Fuzzy Logic controller on the inexpensive Arduino “smart car” style robot previously used in the “Build More Robots!” tutorial series.

Using CAN bus in Hobby Robots – Monthly Meeting – June 9th, 2018

DPRG’s monthly meeting for June is on Saturday, the 9th, at the Dallas Maker Space. The meeting starts at Noon.

The topic for this month’s meeting is “Using CAN bus in Hobby Robots” and will be presented by member Scott Gibson.

CAN bus (Controller Area Network) is used in the Automobile and other industries to communicate between the multiple micro-controllers in their products without utilizing a central host computer. Scott has been using CAN bus in his robots for some time now. He will cover the architecture of the standard and illustrate its use by showing example code from one of his robots.

This will be a great opportunity, to learn from someone who has overcome the learning curve of CAN bus. Automobiles can have over 50 controllers, and CAN bus is how they communicate. Our robots generally have less than 5 controllers but the same principles apply. All are welcome to attend.

Monthly Meeting – April 14th



DPRG’s monthly meeting for April is on Saturday, the 14th, at the Dallas Maker Space. The meeting starts at Noon.

The topic for this month’s meeting is “LIDAR – measure distance with lasers” and will be presented jointly by members Carl Ott and Doug Paradis.

Laser ranging technologies (LIDAR) have been around for a while. LIDAR enjoys an ever increasing number of applications, and an ever broadening range of sensor options. These days, it’s easy to find inexpensive LIDAR sensors and integrate them with Arduino and Raspberry Pi. This session will give a high level introduction to LIDAR. Part of the discussion, will cover ST’s TOF VR53L0X/L1X LIDAR sensors and the various modules using this sensors that are available. Insights will also be provided on the performance of the Benewake TFMini Micro LIDAR module’s outdoors performance and the the Neato’s LIDAR module’s signal in the Can Can Soccer’s arena.

Monthly Meeting – March 10th (Competition and IMUs)

DPRG’s monthly meeting for March is on Saturday, the 10th,  at the Dallas Maker Space. The meeting starts at Noon.

The meeting will begin with a graduation competition for those who attended the “Make More Robots!” tutorial series. Participants will use the robot that they constructed in the class to compete in Quick Trip and Line Following contests.

After the competitions, DPRG member Ron Grant will present a short talk on low-cost Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs). The presentation will include a demonstration of  the MPU-6050 sensor using a low-cost and easy to obtain hardware module. This gyro and accelerator sensor chip has available orientation sensor code that can be executed on an Arduino or other suitable micro-controller.

“Build More Robots” Series

Dallas Personal Robotics Group (DPRG) is proud to announce the “Build More Robots” Tutorial Series.

What is it?
“Build More Robots” is a 5 part tutorial series that uses an inexpensive robot kit to teach people interested in robotics how to build robots.

Where is it?
All sessions will be held at the Dallas Maker Space located at 1825 Monetary Lane Suite 104, Carrollton, TX 75006.

When is it?
The series starts on Saturday, February 10th, at 12:15 PM (i.e., just after noon). The following sessions occur on the next 4 Tuesday evenings.

  1. Saturday, February 10th, starting at 12:15 PM. The first session will coincide with the DPRG monthly meeting.
  2. Tuesday, February 13th, starting at 7:00 PM
  3. Tuesday, February 20th, starting at 6:30 PM
  4. Tuesday, February 27th, starting at 7:00 PM
  5. Tuesday, March 6th, starting at 7:00 PM

Who can attend?
The series is open to everyone, however It is not recommended for children under 15. Attendees should be interested in learning how to build robots and have some knowledge of the Arduino environment. Strong programming skills are not required.

Do I need anything?
It is recommended that you buy the robot kit used in the series from Amazon, and use the video below to assemble it before the first session. You will need to bring a laptop with the Arduino environment (version 1.8.5) installed. Also, you should bring a small toolkit consisting of screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters, and wire strippers similar to what you used to build your kit.

If you can’t complete the robot before the 1st session, bring what you have. Help will be available after the session to assist with such things as soldering. If you already have a similar robot kit, you can use it. The basic robot requirement is a Arduino Uno controlled two wheeled differential drive robot with an ultrasonic sensor. Later in the series, you will have to buy a few additional sensors, available from local stores like Tanners (around the corner from the DMS) and Microcenter, or online from Amazon.

What will it cost?
The robot kit is currently available from Amazon for ~$23. The extra sensors needed later in the series will cost ~$12. The Arduino software and the “Build More Robots” series are free.

What will we do?
The 90 minute sessions will be broken up into 3 thirty minute portions: Build, Programming, Techniques. The build portion will modify the robot to create new functions and the capabilities. These will be, “Moth” (attracted to light), “Table Top” (run on table without falling), “Wall Following”, “Line Following”, “Going Straight and Turning” (positional feedback), “Navigation/Mapping” (know location). The programming portion of the session will outline the software needed to create the different functions and give hints on how to improve programming style. The techniques portion will teach basic skills, algorithms, and tricks of the trade.

 

Annual Meeting – 2018

DPRG 2018 Annual Meeting Minutes: Annual Meeting Minutes-2018

DPRG will hold its annual member meeting this January 13th. The meeting starts at Noon and is held at the Dallas Maker Space. This important gathering is where the club’s plans for the upcoming year are discussed and determined. The election of officers for 2018 is also finalized at this meeting.

All members who want to have a say in the club’s activities for next year need to attend.

Agenda


  • Trophy and prize presentation to Scott Gibson for winning the 2017 RoboColumbus Plus competition in November.
  • Steve Edwards, the outgoing president, will sum up the club’s 2017 activities and discuss the state of the club.
  • The candidates for 2018 officer positions will be introduced.
  • The 2018 election will be closed after all attendees have had a chance to vote.
  • Ron Grant, the election overseer, will combined the votes received prior to the meeting by email and the votes made at the meeting, and announce the election results.
  • The new president will take office.
  • The new president will lead the annual planning meeting.
  • The club’s 2018 annual planning meeting will start:
    • Determine community events that the club will hold exhibits.
    • Formation of Roborama committee.
    • Determine topics that members want to have presented at the monthly meeting and ask for volunteers to cover topics.
    • Debate potential 2018 club projects.
    • Listen to suggestions and ideas on how to make the club better.
  • Member show and tell of projects.