Scarily Realistic Animatronic Spider – Monthly Meeting Topic – Dec 14th, 2019

Link to John’s slidedeck: slidedeck

December’s DPRG monthly meeting ventures into the frightful, with a presentation on the construction of a scarily realistic animatronic spider that happens to be ~4-feet in diameter.

John Gauthier conceived of this spider as a Halloween project. His presentation will carry us all the way from its layout in SketchUp to its final implementation. The spider is remotely controlled by a data glove and a switch wand. Movement of the robot is done with stepper motors and Microchip PIC MCUs. A Raspberry Pi handles the sounds. Communication between the controls and the spider are accomplished by using nRF24L01+ RF transceiver modules. The project utilizes custom build PCBs, 3D printing, and fabric crafts to create a truly impressive result.

The spider in all its glory (or is that gory) will be lurking at the DPRG December 14th monthly meeting at the Dallas Makerspace in the Interactive Room. Presentation starts at noon.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see how to conceive and execute a complex project. Don’t miss it!

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.

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).