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Page last updated: 11/18/2017

Commentary by S.D. Kaehler

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11/18/17: This month's meeting plan was a little differnt than usual. We tried something new--Special Contest Day or mini-Robothon but at the FIRST WA Fieldhouse. This was a mini version of the regular Robothon we do at the Seattle Center with most of the contests (advanced line following, walker, mini sumo, and Robo Magellan). We had a small but enthusiastic group of participants and a nice audience in attendance. Great fun was had by all and we are planning do this again at the May meeting.

A FIRST Tech Challenge team mentored by Kevin Ross and others was at the Fieldhouse with us working on their robot. It was fun having all the kids there joining us. The place was full and noisy. The Tech Challenge arena was set up for the kids to try out their robot. Click here for more information on this year's challenge. It's a doozy! These kids are AMAZING!!

I have been working on my big robot, Omicron, which many of you may have seen at past meetings. Expect to see him more regularly. Recently, as plans have been jelling for what I want him to be able to do, I realized that an Arduino UNO just won't have enough I/O. The logical alternate is an Arduino Mega 2560. It's convenient that the same Arduino IDE can be used to program this controller. I haven't purchased one yet but plan to soon. As I work on this project I'll post details in this weblog so you all can see the progress and perhaps help me get through hurdles that I'm sure will come. The linked file above will be updated from time to time so check it now and then for new content. I also want your encouragement and feedback on this project as it finally moves forward. I am excited to be making progress and hope you will get excited about your projects as well. Bring them to the monthly workshops and join the fun.

Some questions that I am pondering are: 1) Can I make the robot track in a relatively straight line using a digital compass for feedback? 2) Is it worth $0.99/month for Arduino Create since I do like my Chromebook as a dev station? 3) Can I write a program for the Arduino that can control and read a bunch of PINGs without using some sort of timers and still be responsive to all the other sensors? I think so.

Here are some ideas/plans that I have been working on for Omicron.

  • Main Drive Controls - This diagram shows the general concept for the main drive system control logic.
  • I2C Bus Devices for Robot - This diagram shows the I2C Bus devices that I'd like to include in my robot.
  • Bit Sensor Inputs for Robot - This list summarizes the digital sensors (bit inputs) that I am planning on adding.
  • I/O Summary List for Robot - This list summarizes the I/O of the robot.
  • Left Motor Controls for Robot - This schematic shows the left motor hookup.
  • Right Motor Controls for Robot - This schematic shows the right motor hookup.
  • Stay tuned as more ideas and information are developed and shared.

    If you have comments or opinions on this commentary, please email me at SeattleRoboticsSociety (a) Gmail.com.

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