Fall Competition 2019 Highlights

The FALL competition for 2019 has come and gone. It was casual, exciting, and a lot of fun. Great progress was shown by several competitors.

Some highlights were:

  • Ross Melbourne’s Donkey Car completed 20 flawless laps within the 5-minute time limit of the Donkey Car competition on a course with an inside boundary length of ~50 feet (course is visible in the image above) . We hope to post video of the run on DPRG’s YouTube channel.
  • Carl Ott, Ray Casler, and Clay Timmons were all able to finish the Challenge Line Following course with 4 interventions. Each competitor showing great progress from previous attempts. Carl was able to reach block 5D before requiring an assist.
  • Carl Ott debuted his modified version of the 2016 Club Robot in the Quick Trip competition, taking first place with a perfect score of 7 in a time of 14.77 seconds.
  • Scott Gibson continued to rule the 6-Can competition, collecting all 6 cans in 1:42 minutes.

 

 

FALL Competition Update

By now, you should know that the DPRG Fall Competition has been moved from November 9th to November 16th, but do you know that the rules for the Donkey Car competition have been released and the training times scheduled? You can find out the details on the DPRG Fall 2019 Competition page.

Date change: Competition will be held on November 16th, 2019.

Donkey Car Training: 10:00 AM to Noon.

Donkey Car (DPRG version) Rules:  donkey_car-dprg_version_v20191014

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.


Moon Day – 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

Moon Day 2019 held at the Frontiers of Flight Museum celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. DPRG and Iron Reign, a very successful FTC team, both hosted booths at the event. Their booths contained multiple robotic themed demonstrations that allowed the crowd to participate while learning something new.

 

Roborama 2019 Gallery

Nothing gets the enthusiasm going like a good robotics match. The enthusiasm at Roborama 2019 was epic. Everyone was excited and enjoyed themselves. 

DPRG would like to thank all the competitors that participated, all the members who helped manage the event, and our sponsors. A particular shout out goes to: Mouser, Pololu, Rev Robotics, and Tanner Electronics for their support. 

Here is a gallery of some of the sights at the competition. Click on the images to see an expanded view.

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. 

Useful OpenCV Routines for Hobby Roboticists – Monthly Meeting Topic – February 9th, 2019


DPRG’s February monthly meeting topic is “Useful OpenCV Routines for Hobby Roboticists”. Member Ray Casler will share his experiences using OpenCV on his robots .

His presentation will cover:

  • blob detection
  • LiDAR – IR filter and line laser
  • pixel diddling – Challenge line following strategy
  • using distance maps from Xbox Kinect sensors
  • object tracking

Many people interested in Donkey Car have started their builds. There will be a Donkey Car show and tell after Ray’s presentation. Bring your Donkey Car build and share your experiences.

The meeting is at the Dallas Maker Space and starts at Noon on Saturday, February 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).