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[DPRG] Few Notes on Roborama 2010b

Subject: [DPRG] Few Notes on Roborama 2010b
From: Jeff Koenig koenig.jeff at gmail.com
Date: Mon Nov 15 18:04:41 CST 2010

Agreed - Many thanks go out to everyone who put forth effort to put on this

John's acoustic locator's functionality was breathtaking, and I couldn't
imagine a better (or worse?) acoustical environment to show how well it
worked.  The noise level was very high, and those walls were very close.  I
can't imagine how much time John and Paul must have put in for their entry.

>Jeff Koenig had a robot in every contest including a sensorless "dumb"
robot that got him a 2nd place!

My goal was to have an entry in each contest that met the rules.  (My
tabletop "cheater" bot with its sub-4 foot wide block plow was made
specifically to see if I'd get booed).  "Sensorless" and "Dumb" are actually
complimentary for my outdoor robot - due to some last-minute self-induced
software problems, I punted and made its functionality really, really dumb
-  but it worked well enough meet the rules, start, get halted by a tree,
and grab 2nd place!  Special thanks to Brian Merritt for giving it its new
name - "George".  (Fans of old Jay Ward cartoons will understand the

I agree with Ron - the energy was great, and I saw what I'd call a "bimodal"
crowd - some very sophisticated, and some brand new - a good mix!  I like
the idea of  having hands-on demonstrations during the competition,
separated a bit from the course itself, at kid-friendly venues like the
Museum of Nature & Science.  I'll see if I can make a kid-friendly BumperBot
for the next RoboRama.

On Sun, Nov 14, 2010 at 7:24 PM, <DeltaGraph at aol.com> wrote:

>  All,
> First a big thanks to Paul,Doug and Glenn for their big time effort
> invested into contest at Museum of Nature and Science.
> The following is my _limited_ snapshot of the contest -- please add /
> correct me -- I missed a great deal.
> Thought maybe some commentary might reduce time, others might have to spend
> writing some comments..
> Many folks attended the contest including guest presence of Vex and some of
> their coo robots and students from Caddo Mills High School who demonstrated
> their robot. Will Kuhnle has been mentoring them for at least two years. --
> fantastic job Will!
> Nice to see past DPRG president, Bob Jordan, too.
> John Swindle demonstrated his sound locator beacon technology tied to a
> Roomba for navigating Square Dance.   I assume Paul worked with John on this
> project? John won DaVinci for his work in robot location using audible
> sound. Cool.
> Jeff Koenig had a robot in every contest including a sensorless "dumb"
> robot that got him a 2nd place!
> Sends a real message to some of us that could have made an entry, but left
> their robot that "was not good enough" at home.  Also, Jeff made good on
> using some of the Vex goodies given away at our visit to their
> facility making a robot that competed in table top.
> John Abshier smoked the line following contest with a very nimble robot
> -- Micro mouse next John?
> Eric built a lego robot that withstood hours of kids playing with in RC
> mode, then was able to win outdoor RoboColumbus contest. I think Eric
> competed in about every contest too.
> Many new faces, wish I had spent more time meeting. Many past faces, not
> present, missed.
> I think the contest had a real buzz about it maybe it was all the young
> kids who were very entertained by the VEX robots and Eric's Lego robot which
> had RC mode and provided much interactive experience for the kids.
> Still I wonder, just me talking, if there is a way to target a greater mix
> of older kids who might be more ready to go after doing autonomous robots.
> Maybe we are talking college age+.
> I guess I am wondering if there is a way to deliver better experience for
> kids and better for adults. Hmm -- maybe not practical at one event??
> Anyway, looking forward to next contest and having a little more to offer
> up in robots.
> OK, one robot, one day, did not work -- 2 of my 3 robots were in the large
> paper weight class.
> Ron Grant
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