Build More Robots Tutorial Series 2 – Starts Mar 21th

— Tutorial Series CANCELED due to COVID-19 virus situation —

Want to build a robot? Here is your chance to do it, with some help, and in a group of similarly minded individuals. The Build More Robots Series consists of 4 sessions, each 2 hours long, held on consecutive Saturdays. The sessions will cover the assembly of the robot, basic Arduino programming, line following robots, and sumo robots. In the line following and sumo sessions, you will reconfigure your robot to accomplish line following and sumo robot functions. There may even be some friendly competition!

The series is aimed at beginners. Prior knowledge is not necessary.  The classes are open to everyone, including students, however, note that the classes move quickly, and the classes may not be a good fit for young students.

To join the series, you must bring at least the robot kit, batteries, tools, and $5 to the 1st session. The sensors will be needed in the following sessions.

You also must sign up for the class at:

https://calendar.dallasmakerspace.org/events/view/15255

Seating is limited so sign up quickly. A count of students is needed to make sure that enough Platform Upgrade Kits are available.

It is also suggested that you get your robot kit and sensors as soon as possible.

Total Cost:    ~$40.00 for parts (note: parts are listed below, tools not included in cost).

Sessions:

Mar 21 at noon  –  Robot Build Session

Mar 28 at noon  –  Basic Arduino Programming Session

Apr 4 at noon  –  Line Following Robot Session

Apr 11 at noon  –  Sumo Robot Session

What you will need:

  1. Robot Kit  – https://smile.amazon.com/VKmaker-Avoidance-tracking-Ultrasonic-tutorial/dp/B01CXVA6IO/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=smart+car+robot&qid=1580782367&sr=8-3, or similar.
  2. Sensors – https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I57HIJ0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 , or similar.
  3. Platform Upgrade Kit – Provided by instructor at a nominal cost ($5).
  4. 6 AA Alkaline batteries.
  5. A Philips head screwdriver (#1), a small pair of pliers, wire strippers (optional), and wire cutters (optional).

    Example set of tools

The session descriptions:

Build More Robots Series – Robot Build Session

In this first session, you will need the robot kit, platform upgrade kit, batteries, and tools. During the session we will build the robot together and learn about the different components of the robot while we build.

Build More Robot Series – Basic Arduino Programming Session

You have built the robot, now what? In this session of the Build More Robots Series we will explore how to program the robot’s Arduino microcontroller board. We will learn the different commands, and how to develop a programming style that makes the process more organized and easier to change. The session is geared for the novice and should help anyone move up the learning curve with confidence.

Build More Robot Series – Line Following Session

In this session of the Build More Robots Series we will explore how to make our robot follow a line. We will cover some of the sensor strategies used in line following, then build our line following sensor using the infrared obstacle avoidance sensor modules that we purchased. After assembling and mounting our new sensor, we will program a basic line following program using what we learned in the Arduino Programming session. You will need the listed sensors for this and the next session.

Build More Robot Series – Sumo Session

What is Sumo? When talking robots, we mean a competition where two robots are placed in a circular arena and proceed to try and push each other out of the arena. It is a sort of bumper cars for robots. In this session of the Build More Robots Series, we will discuss basic strategies used by Sumo robots, and why they are used. We will also modify our robot into a Sumo robot and demonstrate a basic robot sumo program. Next, we battle!

Graduation Competition

After the last session, the attendees will have a chance to test their robot in a friendly competition. They may also consider attending DPRG’s Roborama on April 25th, and competing for prizes.

Have Questions?

You can contact the instructor by emailing info(at)dprg.org.

Practical LiDAR for Hobbyist Roboticists

Scott’s slide deck: slide deck (PDF)

Followers of DPRG’s competitions are familiar with Scott Gibson’s very successful robot CanMan. CanMan utilizes a spinning LiDAR manufactured  by RPLidar (~$100). In competitions where the arena is bounded by walls, CanMan’s LiDAR allows the robot to reacquire its location even after a collusion with walls or other robots.

At the October 12th DPRG monthly meeting Scott is going to share how you can add a similar LiDAR to your robot. The presentation will take a quick look at the serial interface and data fields used by the RPLidar unit, and then dive deep into how to use this data.

Scott will discuss the algorithms and code that he uses to:

  • Find the center of the arena,
  • Align to an arena wall,
  • Detect an outside edge,
  • Detect an inside edge.

This is a great opportunity to learn about how to use a spinning LiDAR unit.

The meeting is at the Dallas Maker Space and starts at Noon on Saturday, October 12th.

Autonomous Rover Robot with GPS RTK and Novel Control System – Monthly Meeting Topic – August 10th, 2019

Ross’s slide deck can be downloaded at: slidedeck (PDF)

Guest speaker Ross Melbourne will demonstrate his autonomous rover robot which uses GPS RTK for navigation, and a novel robot control system that employs Unity and Python. Ross’s robot control system has potential practical applications such as: robotic lawn care, security patrol robots, and autonomous delivery services. Ross’s talk will cover both the challenges and the lessons learned that he experienced while building the robot.

This is a great opportunity to see a sophisticated antonomous rover build.

The meeting is at the Dallas Maker Space and starts at Noon on Saturday, August 10th.


Roborama 2019 Pre-registration

 

Pre-registration Time is NOW!

With Roborama 2019 less than a month away (May 11th), it is time to pre-register your robot team. If you tried and ran into problems, those problems are now fixed. Try again. Pre-registered teams get the best pit area placements. This year’s competition has several contests that will test your robot’s skills. Come compete, win, and take home great prizes.

  • Plastic Fastener-only Sumo – a student only event. Pits your robot in a contest of strength and strategy as you attempt to push your opponent from the arena. 
  • Line Following – with contests for beginners through advanced competitors and a special student only contest. Tests if your robot can follow a line around the course.
  • Quick Trip – an open event. Can your robot go straight? Can it make a 180 degree turn? This contest tests a fundamental skill of your robot. Never been in a robot competition? This might be your contest.
  • Four Corners – an open event. So your robot can go straight and turn, can it maneuver a large square and come back to its starting location? How close can it come?
  • Table Top (classic) – an open event. This contest is for the daring. Your robot moves around a table top with nothing to keep it from taking the plunge to the floor as you perform three tasks.
  • Can-Can Soccer – an open event. Race another robot to collect cans while not getting confused or hitting your opponent. 

More information and rules to the contests can be found at:

https://www.dprg.org/roborama-2019-competition/

Using an Android Phone with Your Robot – Monthly Meeting Topic – March 9th, 2019

For tomorrow’s meeting Iron Reign will share information about how they use Android phones to run their robots. The presentation will be informal and off-the-cuff. It will discuss improvements to their competition robot since last presentation, but the emphasis will be a coding walk-through using the Android framework provided by FIRST – the STEM program in charge of their competition.
The walk-through will show some simplified examples. If you want to follow along on your own computers, you can install the tools and starter code below:
1. Download Android Studio – this is a free development environment based on jetbrains, the java sdks will come along for the ride
2. Download the ftc_app starter framework from github – this is starter codebase
3. Compile the app. This needs to be done ahead of time because it will fail multiple times as it figures out new dependencies that need to be downloaded.
There is a fair amount of downloading in all of those steps. We won’t have time to debug the install process for those trying it on their own. However, if you are able to follow along live, we might have a way for you to test a very basic teleop program.  Iron Reign plans to bring some robot phones and show how to debug wirelessly. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t worry about it – if folks are interested we can follow up at RBNO.

After the presentation there will be a show and tell, with a Donkey Car demo.
The meeting is at the Dallas Maker Space and starts at Noon on Saturday, March 9th. 

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).