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DPRG: July 1997 DPRG Newsletter 1 of 3

Subject: DPRG: July 1997 DPRG Newsletter 1 of 3
From: Jim Brown jbrown at spdmail.spd.dsccc.com
Date: Wed Jul 9 16:23:42 CDT 1997

Dear DPRGers:

Here's the text version of the July 1997 DPRG Newsletter.
The WEB version with pictures can be seen at:


Don't miss the great articles below by John Wadley about his impressive
Low Rider Design and last minute before the contest experiences and
the "Night Before Christmas" poem loose style rendering of Eric Yundt's
"Night before RoboRama" about his Yatu Robot below.

Thanks for the articles guys, they really "make" the newsletter!

- ------------------------------------------------------------------------

                            July 1997 DPRG Newsletter

Another month has come and gone, and DPRG just seems to be getting better
and better. We have grown to expect over 30 in attendance at the meetings
lately. We're talking about adding new challenges to the
robotics contest, and still keeping our current contest. And, people
who never before found time to do robotics have kicked into gear and
built things they thought they never would. With the Mars Sojourner
recently making headlines, the whole world is becoming more interested
in robotics. It's as though a robotics boon has occurred. Who, but can
only dream, the exciting creations that will come out of DPRG in the days
ahead. Stay tuned to find out. 

A rerun of the May RoboRama Robotics contest will be run during the August
Meeting. Bring yourselves and your robot. A good time to be had for sure. 

The Dallas Personal Robotics Group is one of the nation's oldest special
interest groups dedicated to the development and use of personal robotics
and has been around since 1984. Currently the DPRG has about 35 members. 

Look at the huge crowd at the June meeting. Offically we had 33, but a
few more came in later pushing to total to over 38!!! 


RoboRama Robotics Contest to be held in August

DPRG will be having a robotics contest at the
August meeting, August 16th! The purpose of the
contest is to raise participation in the group.
Hopefully this will inspire those who have half-built
robots to get them built so that they can do the
course. Last time (May 97) we had the contest we
had 9 robots enter and 5 robots that completed the
course. Eric Yundt's YaTu had the best time. 

The simple premise for the contest is for a robot to
autonomously go from the start area (on the right)
to the end area (on the left), and back in the best
time. Although this seems like a simple task, it's
amazing how few were able to come up with a robot
that could do it for the last contest. (click on the
image to see a 120k animated gif of a robot running
the course). 

The Contest is described in more detail below. 

Kip shows a $99 DSP development board

Kipton Moravec brouht a TI DSP board that he purchased with a development kit
for only $99. The board uses the TI 32050 DSP. He mentioned that the board
would be perfect for robotics and would be very powerful. Kip plans to use the
board in an upcoming project. 

Philips Semiconductor Gives a Presentation

                           The large part of the June meeting was the
                           presentation by Brian Harris the Richardson
                           based the Philips Semiconductor representative.
                           They are located at: 1801 Gateway Blvd., Suite
                           217, Richardson, TX 75080. The presentation
                           consisted of a quick review of
                           8051 parts and derivatives, and then a full
                           presentation on their 16bit 8051
                           style XA part. The XA boasts at least 10
                           times faster execute speeds. It is a
                           68 pin PLCC part (Brian mentioned that he
                           would give samples and a
                           68pin socket if you ask). Brian was quick
                           to point out that there's a design
                           contest for the XA part where one lucky winner
                           will win a BMW Z3. Following the XA
                           presentation Brian also went into detail about
the I2C bus. The presentation on the I2C bus was my favorite part of his
presentation. Basically the I2C bus is a two wire bus and can run at 100k
bps. It usually runs as a master/slave setup, but also can run as dual
master setup. It can allow up to 127 parts to be hook up to it such as
I/O parts, EEProm parts, Real Time Clocks, etc. Brian mentioned that
much of the data and even some source code is on their web page. 

Roger Brings Sonars

Thanks go to Roger Arrick for bringing sonars and servos to sell at the
last meeting.  These were a one time only deal for members of DPRG. The
servos were the Polaroid 6500 with the controller board. These parts are
perfect for robotics and may have helped a few of the members get into the
next step of robotics - sonar ranging. 

more to come...


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