Simulation Success!

In 2011,  gathering inspiration from Carnegie Mellon’s yearly outdoor sidewalk line following contest for freshman engineers,  DPRG decided to create a challenging line following course for indoor use.  The result was a course that included both black on white and white on black elements, segmented S curves, three different line widths, intersections, 90 degree and oblique curves, lines through color puddles of different contrasts, gaps, and more.  The course even had one gate similar to those used in the Carnegie Mellon competition.  The course layout was introduced at the Roborama 2011b competition (see course layout ).

Several members have attempted to complete the course since its introduction, without successful. One of the attempts was witnessed by Carl Ott. Carl became a DPRG member and set out to solve the course by creating a RoboRealm and Node.js based vision system.

At the Robot Builders Night Out held at the Dallas Maker Space on November 7th, Carl successfully ran to completion a RoboRealm vision system simulation of the DPRG Challenge line following course cheered on by attending members.  Carl plans to mount the vision system on a DPRG club robot base and complete the physical course at an upcoming DPRG event.

 

 

 

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.

Moon Day 2017

Judging by the sizes of the crowds, Moon Day 2017, set attendance records.

This annual collaboration of the Frontiers of Flight Museum and the National Space Society of North Texas, celebrates space flight accomplishments, such as the moon landing, and focuses on current and future activities in space exploration. The event features an extensive list of exhibitors and three series of presentations: Moon academy for the younger set, Lunar University a college-level series of presentations, and a Teacher Professional Development series. There were many STEM activities to excite students (and adults) about the possibilities of space and the universe.

DPRG was there! DPRG along with Iron Reign (FTC team 6832) sponsored a 6 table booth with interactive activities and displays.


DPRG and Iron Reign’s booth

 

    
 
                                   Iron Reign                                                             DPRG Members

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.

Roborama 2017 Results

On the morning of May 13th, the Dallas Makerspace bustled with the excitement of competitors in the 22th annual Roborama. Activities started with a tour of the makerspace. Many of the competitors and their guests had never seen a makerspace and the creative possibilities displayed by the work of various makers was a real eye opener.

Each competitor or team was assigned a table area in the pit room where they fussed with final robot adjustments while checking in. At check in, robots were measured, weighted, and inspected to insure that they passed competition rules. By the time check in was finished, everyone was very excited.

In the Plastic Fastener Sumo contest, the quality of the robots was good. The impact of the learning from the Sumo/Line Following workshop, held a week before Roborama, was clearly evident. The competitors that had attended the workshop had taken to heart the best practices they had learned. As always the competition was fierce with several of the matches not decided until a final push by the winner.

The Line Following contest, the second part of the student portion of the of the competition, also showed improvement over past contests, with the winning robots achieving higher speeds. The contest doesn’t require the robots to be made from plastic fasteners, however all student competitors used them.

After the student portion of Roborama concluded, prizes were rewarded to the winners of the student portion of the competition. Each winner received a DPRG trophy and choice of a complete robot kit or a gift certificate provided by our sponsors. Kits and certificates were provided by Pololu, Parallax, REV Robotics, Tanners Electronics, RoboRealm. and Richard Neveau.

                          

                                            Trophies                                                                      Prizes
Winners

The unrestricted participation part of Roborama consisted of the contests Big Table Top 2 and Can Can Soccer. In Big Table Top 2, a robot must complete 4 tasks. The tasks are: return a can to the starting zone, knock a can off the table, place a can into an overhanging box on the side of the table, and use the two remaining cans to form a line with the can in the starting zone that a yard stick can lay over (cans must be at least 8 inches apart). The top prize for Big Table Top 2 was won by a visitor to Roborama from Vancouver Canada, Markus Lampert.  His robot, Freddie, achieved a perfect score with a hitchless performance on the 1st attempt. Freddie has a hand crafted frame made of jig sawed plywood, a very tight design that incorporates several IR sensors, and a unique fin style grabber using flexible 3d printed claws. Markus is a member of the Vancouver Robotics Club (www. vancouverroboticsclub.org). Second place was taken by Doug Paradis with his robot, Little Andy.

                          

                          Freddie dropping can over edge                       Freddie placing cans in a line

Can Can Soccer, where two robots go head to head in an non-aggressive test to collect cans, becomes more competitive and exciting with each repetition of the contest. The winner this year was Doug Paradis and his robot VEX Navigator. Vex Navigator is built with the VEX IQ system. It incorporates a CMUCAM5 Pixy to identify cans. The Pixy is connected via a TI MSP430 LaunchPad  board, using the techniques published by James Pearson, in his documentation of the VEX IQ Sensor Reference. Second and third places were won by Ray Casler and Scott Gibson. Ray’s robot, Rainman, sported several new modifications. The modifications included a beacon system to allow determination of location after a collusion event. Scott’s robot, Can Man, usually a truly strong contender, suffered from a flurry of undetermined problems that hampered performance. Markus Lampert’s robot, Freddie, also participated. Fredde made a good show, but did not place. The final bout pitted VEX Navigator versus Rainman. In the ending moments of the bout, Rainman and VEX Navigator targeted the same can. Time ended with Rainman trying to catch VEX Navigator as Navigator snatched the can and placed the winning can into the goal.

                         

                               Big Table Top 2 Winners                                   Can Can Soccer Winners

Trophies and prizes were handed out by DPRG President Steve Edwards.

Judges

Steve Edwards, David Ackley, and Richard Neveau were the judges for the event.

 

Come Build Robots in Plano, TX!

DPRG will hold its 2nd sesson at theLab.ms 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.

Help DPRG’s Robot Art Team!

DPRG has fielded a team in the robot art contest conducted by robotart.org. The submitted art pieces are the result of efforts by team members Doug Paradis, Ray Casler, and Steve Rainwater. Over the last several months, they have been diligently working at RBNO to create two art painting robots, artBot and drumArtBot.  ArtBot was used to produce Sumi-e art, while drumArtBot created a unique form of line art that appears similar to a modern art style.
Project Documentation:
artBot:                https://www.dprg.org/artbot-2017/
drumArtBot:       https://www.dprg.org/drumartbot-2017/

The team needs your support!

The judging is partially determined by the number of votes collected on the web. Please go to https://robotart.org, click on the Sign up to Vote button and follow the instructions. Select the Teams tab, find DPRG (or go to https://robotart.org/team/profile/dprg), and vote for all the DPRG art works. You can give each piece 3 votes. The way the voting works, all votes for a team are summed together.
The team thanks you!


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.

 

iMake 2017

iMake, a festival sponsored by the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History to celebrate the Maker movement, gives people a chance to be “a maker for a day”. The event collects demonstrations and on-hand activities created by a diverse group of organizations, and provides a venue for sharing them with young children and parents.

DPRG  manned a five table exhibit with interactive demonstrations of robots, Kinect, CNC drawing, 3D perspective tracking, LiDar, automated xylophone, Roborealm modeling, manual driven robot arm, and 3d printing.  Also, Big Robie made an appearance, all bright and shiny for this year’s event season.

The booth was crewed by Steve Edwards, Eric Chaney, Carl Ott, John  Kuhlenschmidt, Ray Caslier, and Doug Paradis. The all day event occurred on April 1, 2017.