DPRG Elections – 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.

Fall Indoor Competition Results

DPRG held the club’s Fall Indoor Competition on November 10th at the Dallas Maker Space. The Fall competition is very informal and provides a chance for competitors to check their progress achieving new capabilities without waiting for the bigger Roborama competition held in May. The competition was lively with a good  turnout and nice prizes. Everyone had a good time.

The featured image above shows the competitors in the challenge line following contest. Left to Right: Clay Timmons, Ray Casler, Carl Ott, Ron Grant, James LeRoy. Contest winner was Carl Ott. His robot, Technical Debt, advanced the farthest along the course. Carl’s robot was also able to complete the course’s circuit with three robot assists. The challenge course still has not been completed without assists.

 

Advanced line following competitors, left to right: Ron Grant, Clay Timmons, Doug Paradis, Michael Ivison, James LeRoy, Carl Ott.  The contest winner was Doug Paradis, with Clay Timmons placing 2nd.

Basic line following competitors, left to right: Ajaya Dahal, James LeRoy, Matt Britt. The contest winner was James LeRoy, with Ajaya Dahal placing 2nd.

Six Can competitors, left to right: Doug Paradis, Jack Jones, Scott Gibson, Ray Casler. The contest winner was Scott Gibson, with Doug Paradis placing 2nd and Jack Jones placing 3rd.

Quick Trip competitors, left to right: Scott Gibson, David Anderson, Doug Paradis, James LeRoy. The contest winner was David Anderson, with Scott Gibson placing 2nd and Doug Paradis placing 3rd.

Rules for the contests can be found at rules.

Robot Showcase at DevFest 2018

Dev Fest Weekend (Dallas) was held on October 13th at the Microsoft campus in Irving. DPRG was there. The club presented a showcase of robots and competitions during the lunch session of the conference. Members demonstrated “Can-Can Soccer”, a competition where two robots autonomously collect cans from a 7′ X 10′ course and return them to their goal, and various levels of line following from simple to challenging. The showcase was viewed enthusiastically by many conference attendees with DPRG members fielding multiple questions about the robots and strategies used.

Below is a picture of members who participated in the showcase.

Left to right: Will Kuhnle, Steve Edwards, Ray Casler, Carl Ott, David Anderson, David Ackley, Scott Gibson (kneeling), John Kuhlenschmidt, Doug Paradis, Jack Jones, Clay Timmons, Ron Grant. Also attending was member Thomas Eriksson (not in picture).

Fall Competitions Schedule and Details

DPRG has several competitions scheduled for this fall. Below is the competition schedule with details.

Added this year is a competition showcase at the Dev Fest Weekend conference. The date is October 13th. The location is the Microsoft campus located off of President George Bush Turnpike in Irvine. For the latest updates, please keep an eye to the DPRG Meetup Group, https://www.meetup.com/Build-More-Robots-with-DPRG/.  That site will include the latest updates, including a registration page if you’d like to compete.

 

RoboRama – 2018 Contests

ARM based Subsumption – Monthly Meeting Topic – August 11th, 2018

DPRG’s monthly meeting for August is on Saturday, the 11th, at the Dallas Maker Space. The meeting starts at Noon.

This month, long time DPRG member David Anderson will review recent upgrades made to his infamous “leaf blower” RCAT robot. Dave has completed a port of the robot’s subsumption architecture and LMX, a light-weight cooperative round-robin multi-tasking executive, to an STM Nucleo F411 board. The result is a dramatic improvement in performance. David will also highlight a custom printed circuit board, a joint effort between Ron Grant and David, that facilitates signal and power breakout for clean wiring layout. David will provide details on how to obtain a copy of the board.

As part of the presentation, Dave will also touch on the subsumption architecture used in this and many of his competition winning robots.

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

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.

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.

Roborama 2018 Results

On May 12th, student and non-student roboticists tested their robots in a variety of contests at the 23th annual Roborama held by DPRG. Located at the Dallas Maker Space, the competition provided experiences covering the spectrum of thrilling surprise victories to the disappointment of mechanical failures. All contests at Roborama require that competing robots run autonomously.

     
The prize table                                                                                    Eric Gibson, the chief judge


Will Kuhnle looks at prizes while Brandon Flores
of Mouser hands out swag.

In the student contests, Plastic Fastener Sumo and Student Line Following, competition was strong with competitors from four schools competing. The winning  robot in the Plastic Fasteners Sumo was  “Grizzly”. Grizzly’s owner received a complete VEX Robotics IQ Starter Kit as a prize for his accomplishment. This impressive kit was provided by VEX Robotics. Competitors from Grand Saline Middle School overwhelmed all competition in student contests. In Student Line Following, the winning robot “Thunder” traveled the 19.4 foot course twice in 54.6 seconds for a robot speed of 8.5 inches per second. Thunder’s owner choose a Leap Motion gesture motion control donated by private donor.  The 2nd and 3rd place winners in the student contests happily received great prizes from Pololu, Tanners Electronics, and other sponsors. There was much joy.

     
Competitors prepare for Can-Can  Soccer                                           Clubby the robot


Steve Edwards starts Quick Trip run

In the open contests, Scott Gibson continued to dominate. He won basic line following with “quicky” achieving a robot speed of 10.8 inches per second. He also won Wall Following, Four Corners, and Can-Can Soccer.  Scott achieved a start to finish distance of 0.428 inches in Four Corners. The student team, TechoKids, placed 2nd in Four Corners with a start to finish distance of 2.875 inches, a great achievement. Quick Trip was won by Doug Paradis with his robot “Clubbie”, which uses the DPRG club robot (v2016) design. Clubbie made some impressive runs in Can-Can Soccer. However, the robot’s success was limited due to an intermittent bad connection, later found to be a bad ground wire.

     
KISS the robot                                                                         David Ackley, a happy prize winner

Several members vowed to come back next time stronger and better than ever to give Scott a true run for his money.

Complete contest results are available in the DPRG Hall of Fame. For privacy reasons the name of student winners are limited to their first name.

The featured image at the top of this post is TechnoKids in the pit area working on their robot. All images were provided by either Mary Mathias or Doug Paradis.

 

 

 

Roborama 2018

Roborama 2018 is this Saturday, May 12th, at the Dallas Maker Space! The event starts at 10:00 AM and lasts until ~4:00 PM.  There will be prizes and trophies for the winners! Have a robot? Come join the fun and compete, or just come and watch. All are welcome.  Robot check-in starts at 10:00 AM.

The Dallas Maker Space is at:
1825 Monetary Lane
Suite 104
Carrollton, TX 75006 (Map).

The competition contests are:

  • Plastic Fasteners-only Sumo (students only)
  • Line Following (Beginning with both student and adult divisions, Advanced and Challenge levels (open to everyone)
  • 10 cm Sumo (open to anyone)
  • Four Corners (open to anyone)
  • Quick Trip (open to anyone)
  • Wall Following (open to anyone)
  • Can-Can Soccer (open to anyone)

Start times for student events:
Plastic Fasteners-only Sumo will start at 11:00 AM, followed by Beginner (student division) Line Following. Student events should be completed by 2:00 PM. The Sumo rings and arenas are open for practice between 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM.

Registration:
Free for students of any grade level
Free for DPRG Members
$10 for non-DPRG Members (per team for access to all events)
Pre-registration – https://dprgblog.wordpress.com/pre-registration/
Competition Rules – https://dprgblog.wordpress.com/rules/
Pre-registering helps the events run more smoothly and makes sure you are aware of any important news about the events. Pre-registered teams are given priority.