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.


  • 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.

November Competition 2017

Get Ready!

DPRG’s annual November indoor competition for 2017 is Saturday, November 11th. The competition will start at 12:30PM at the Dallas Maker Space. Competitors will have access to the course at Noon. The contest for this year is the 6 Can (see rules). Also, a competitor is taking on the unbeaten DPRG Challenge Line Following course (see course layout).

In addition to the competitions, Carl Ott will run his successful Challenge Line Following Simulation for the video. There will also be demonstrations of club member recent projects and robots.

Everyone is invited to watch or compete. Members are encouraged to attend and support the competitors.



Monthly Meeting – August 12th

David’s presentation slide deck: Moving Up to ARM

The next DPRG monthly meeting is at Noon on Saturday, August 12, at the Dallas Maker Space. This month there will be two presentations at the meeting.

Member Carl Ott will make the first presentation, which will touch on the use of  node.js and javascript in a robotics project from a beginner’s point of view. He will also give an update on his line following robot simulator. The simulator’s goal is to solve the DPRG Challenge line follower course that was first attempted in May of 2012. To date, no one has successfully completed the course. The course layout can be found at Challenge LF course diagram.

Member David Ackley will present how to prepare a STM32F103C8 minimalist ARM board, commonly called the “blue pill”, for use in the Arduino environment. He will also cover the new STMicro STM32 support package for Arduino. This initiative by STMicro allows programming of Nucleo boards and boards like the blue pill using the Arduino IDE.

NOTE: David’s presentation was actually made at the September 2017 monthly meeting due to time constraints. 

As always, remember to bring and share your projects with other members in an informal show and tell session after the presentations.

Monthly Meeting – July 8th

Will’s slide deck: slide deck (pdf)

The July DPRG monthly meeting is at Noon, on Saturday July 8, at the Dallas Maker Space.

Member Will Kuhnle is going to make a presentation on Closed Loop Feedback System (Servo) Design. He will be giving an overview of the design process including considerations taken for operating in discrete time, i.e., real-time sampled systems as we implement in our robot designs.

His design example system will involve a DC motor – certainly a common component in many our robotics control pursuits.

As always, remember to bring and share your projects with other members in an informal show and tell session after the presentation.

Come Build Robots in Plano, TX!

DPRG will hold its 2nd sesson at in Plano on Thursday, April 27th, between 6:30 and 11:00 PM. The event’s purpose is to help people complete their club or other robot. However if you have another project, please feel free to come work on it and socialize. Everyone is welcome.

Plastic Fastener Sumo Workshop

DPRG is proud to announce its annual Plastic Fastener Sumo Workshop. The workshop will be manned by experienced volunteers from the Iron Reign FTC team and DPRG members to help participants in the Roborama 2017 competitions (or similar) plastic fastener Sumo contest. If you need help with your Lego or Vex IQ system Sumo or line follower robot, this is where you want to be on Saturday, May 6th. The purpose of the workshop is to help competitors either get started or improve their Lego or VEX IQ based  Sumo or line follower robot.

The workshop will be held at the Dallas Makerspace located at 1825 Monetary Ln #104, Carrollton, TX 75006 (Map) between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM on Saturday, May 6th in the Interactive Classroom. The courses will remain setup until 4:00 PM for practice after the workshop.

You must bring your robot or robot parts (don’t forget your battery and charger). No parts will be provided.

In addition to the workshop, the courses for other Roborama contests will be setup, so that they can be used to test robots and practice for the competition.

The event is open to everyone.



Monthly Meeting – April 8th

Meeting is at Noon, on Saturday April 8, at the Dallas Maker Space.

Members of Iron Reign FTC team will demo their award winning  robot at the meeting. The Iron Reign team has a long time association with DPRG. This year they won the Judges Award at the South Super Regional and will be competing in the state championship. Their robot has become more sophisticated each year. It will be fun to view the construction and hear the strategies they are using in this year’s contests.

 April is also the month where the 2nd part of the meeting is devoted to Roborama  contest practice. The courses will be available for anyone wanting to test their robots.

As always, remember to bring and share your projects with other members in an informal show and tell session after the presentation.