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[DPRG] Report on the ISDC conference

Subject: [DPRG] Report on the ISDC conference
From: R. Steven Rainwater srainwater at ncc.com
Date: Tue May 29 13:32:25 CDT 2007

The ISDC event is all over now. Friday was slow but we got a fair amount
of traffic to our booth on Saturday. Quite a few teachers stopped by and
were interested in the DPRG. We also made contact with a lot of
potential new members of all ages. We passed out most of our DPRG
business cards during the show.

Most of the other groups in the vendor area were space colonization
advocacy groups. The Dallas Area Rocket Society was there too. I never
saw Larry Niven but I did see Ben Bova, John Carmack, and a few other
interesting people while we were there.

See David's previous email on the Long Haul contest Saturday for the
full story. The short version is that we decided to call it off because
of rain about noon Saturday. Then the Austin team showed up. We thought
they ought to get a chance to do something after driving all the way up
so we were talking about doing an indoor demo. About that time David
showed up and said he'd run jBot on the outdoor course and it seemed dry
enough to go ahead with the contest.

It appears we're well on our way to establishing a DPRG tradition of
having our outdoor contests rained out. At one point the Austin guys
outfitted their robot with an umbrella to keep the light rain off.

jBot finished the course several times, taking about 4 minutes and
arriving at the finish point with about 3 feet accumulated error. The
Austin robot ran into some battery issues and then some software issues
so it didn't complete the course. They were able to demonstrate both
remote-controlled and autonomous movement for us. First prize went to
David, second to the Austin guys.

Sunday turned out to be very, very slow and the ISDC decided to shut
down the vendor area early, so we packed up and got out Sunday
afternoon. Any robots and hardware present at the load out will be at
the RBNO tonight. I may not make it to the RBNO tonight but the hardware
will. If you need to make other arrangements, just let me know and I'll
make sure we get your robots back to you this week.

Thanks to all of the following members for braving the rains and tight
parking situation to man the DPRG table or bring robots to demo or

Rick Bickle
Brian Clough
Randy M. Dumse
Brian Merritt
Ihor Nakonecznyj
Ed Okerson
Glenn Pipe
Scott Sumner
David M. Wilson

Special thanks to Randy M. Dumse, who volunteered to give a presentation
in the ISDC education track. Randy also generously agreed to provide
prizes for the winners of the Long Haul contest. David and the Austin
team were presented with certificates redeemable for New Micros

Thanks are due to Martin Meier as well for all his work putting the last
DPRG Long Haul competition together. I mostly just reused his rules for
the ISDC Long Haul contest. 

And thanks go to David P. Anderson for his time and GPS unit to survey
the waypoints. David also provided traffic cones, marked the waypoints,
and, of course, brought jBot to run the course.


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