Moon Day 2019 held at the Frontiers of Flight Museum celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. DPRG and Iron Reign, a very successful FTC team, both hosted booths at the event. Their booths contained multiple robotic themed demonstrations that allowed the crowd to participate while learning something new.
July was the month in past times that DPRG held its annual club picnic. For one reason or another this tradition had fallen by the wayside. However this year, thanks to the gracious invitation of Steve and Trina Edwards to host the picnic, DPRG members and families gathered to relax and have fun. The club thanks Steve and Trina for their wonderful hospitality.
The multitude of radio communication protocols available to the hobbyist roboticist can be overwhelming. At the June 9th monthly meeting presentation “Untangling the Mesh: how to choose between Bluetooth, BLE, Zigbee, Wi-Fi, LoRa, DigiMesh, Z-Wave, …”, guest speaker Brent Grimm will compare and contrast BLE to other wireless protocols.
This is a great opportunity to introduce yourself to the various trade-offs between wireless communication methods and how they can be used control or share data with your robot.
Note: Ron Grant shared a very interesting show and tell of his Challenge line following course simulator. See the video above.
The meeting is at the Dallas Maker Space and starts at Noon on Saturday, June 8th.
Jack Jones, DPRG’s currently youngest member, graduated from high school this year. His family graciously invited DPRG to join in Jack’s graduation celebration. A very good time was had by all, and the club thanks Jack’s family for their invitation. The club presented Jack with a DPRG cap and mug to help him start his college career.
Nothing gets the enthusiasm going like a good robotics match. The enthusiasm at Roborama 2019 was epic. Everyone was excited and enjoyed themselves.
DPRG would like to thank all the competitors that participated, all the members who helped manage the event, and our sponsors. A particular shout out goes to: Mouser, Pololu, Rev Robotics, and Tanner Electronics for their support.
Here is a gallery of some of the sights at the competition. Click on the images to see an expanded view.
With Roborama 2019 less than a month away (May 11th), it is time to pre-register your robot team. If you tried and ran into problems, those problems are now fixed. Try again. Pre-registered teams get the best pit area placements. This year’s competition has several contests that will test your robot’s skills. Come compete, win, and take home great prizes.
Plastic Fastener-only Sumo – a student only event. Pits your robot in a contest of strength and strategy as you attempt to push your opponent from the arena.
Line Following – with contests for beginners through advanced competitors and a special student only contest. Tests if your robot can follow a line around the course.
Quick Trip – an open event. Can your robot go straight? Can it make a 180 degree turn? This contest tests a fundamental skill of your robot. Never been in a robot competition? This might be your contest.
Four Corners – an open event. So your robot can go straight and turn, can it maneuver a large square and come back to its starting location? How close can it come?
Table Top (classic) – an open event. This contest is for the daring. Your robot moves around a table top with nothing to keep it from taking the plunge to the floor as you perform three tasks.
Can-Can Soccer – an open event. Race another robot to collect cans while not getting confused or hitting your opponent.
More information and rules to the contests can be found at:
DPRG’s April monthly meeting topic is “Line Following Kinematics & Open source course programs in Processing”. DPRG Members Will Kuhnle and Ron Grant will share their experiences on Line Following Kinematics and Processing based Line Following course simulation. The meeting is at the Dallas Maker Space and starts at Noon on Saturday, April 13th.
Part 1 – Line Following Kinematics:
Will Kuhnle will address questions like:
What are Kinematics of line following?
How can Kinematics help my robot design?
This part of the presentation is about how to make a robot follow a path based on its physical parameters and design. It will look into the problems of following a smooth curve path (e.g. the DPRG Novice Course), and the more advanced problem of following a combination of smooth curves and disjoint curves (e.g. the DPRG Advanced Line Following Course).
Part 2 – Open Source Course Builder and Interpreter programs:
Ron Grant will demo and explain his interactive line following course builder program, which is written with Processing (java environment). This builder program reads/writes a human readable format and can use SVG files created in such programs as Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator. Note: DPRG stores past courses in their GitHub repository in SVG format.
Ron will also share a few words on a data format and interpreter that reads a description of line following course tiles in order and tracks path with each sequential tile. The format supports DPRG line following courses including all features of the Challenge Course except the finish gate (which is “hand coded”).
Both programs will be published to a DPRG’s GitHub repository.
Show and Tell: After the presentations, anyone who wants to show or demo a project that they are working on is welcome to present it to the group.
About DPRG Monthly Meetings:
DPRG hosts interesting presentations each month during its regular membership meeting. These meetings and presentations are open to public and free to attend. We hope to see you there. Everyone is welcome.
Dallas Personal Robotics Group has been actively building robots for fun since 1984. We meet every Tuesday evening and every 2nd Saturday of the month. DPRG also frequently participates in community events. We usually meet at the Dallas MakerSpace. Guests of all ages and skill levels are always welcome! It is a great place to meet others exploring the world of hobby robotics, and share tips and experiences.
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
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.
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.