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Page last updated: 6/17/2019

Commentary by S.D. Kaehler

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Meeting Pictures on Google Photos.

5/18/19: This month's meeting had a good turnout. The meeting was facilitated again by Jim Kindsvater as Steve Kaehler is still busily building the college fund for his kids. We met downstairs at the FIRST fieldhouse, which gave us much more room for demonstrations and note taking.

We started off with an article and video about autonomous personal delivery vehicles (robots) soon being allowed to operate on Washington state's sidewalks.

The usual slides were presented, and Daniel Kuntel led us to a video about an open source version of the Boston Dynamics “mule” robot. Search “open dog” on youtube to find it. The budget for this robot is about $4000, which is much cheaper than the BD version, we are sure. The legs are moved by 2000 watt (about 2.7 hp) DC motors and ball screws. The spine is extruded aluminum and the mounting parts are either CNC milled at home or 3D printed. A very impressive project – check it out!

Lloyd Moore introduced the Nvidia Jetson development board. This is a quad core ARM with an onboard 256 core GPU. It costs about $100 and looks like a powerful robot control processor. RoboMagellan anyone?

SRS Polo shirts are available at meetings for $30 (card, cash, or check). See Jim K. or Lloyd M. during the break or after the meeting if you would like to purchase one (or more).

Round-the-Room

Meeting Pictures on Google Photos. The following people shared something with the group:

  • Thurman showed us the Adafruit Huzzah32 – their latest and most powerful ESP32 development board. At $20, it includes a 240 MHz dual core processor with 4 Mbyte of flash memory, an integrated 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi transceiver, and a bunch of other peripherals. A powerful addition to the Adafruit line of IOT devices.
  • Daniel popped back up with an offer to sell (very reasonable) or give away a bunch of wheel chair motor/reducer and actuator sets. He obtained them from a company closing out returned inventory. They are very powerful, and would be good for a powerful robot pal.
  • Greg Schumacher showed us his ongoing development of a Pop Can challenge upcoming competitor. He talked about and demonstrated a voice synthesizing board using the Raspberry Pi and an audio adapter. He uses a program called Pico 2 wave to turn text into voiced messages. He demonstrated it with several phrases. He also disussed his CAN system and the challenges of matching 5 volt CAN to the 3.3 volts needed by the RPI and the ESP8288 modules. It’s very interesting to see the robot develop before our very eyes and hear about the challenges faced.
  • Melissa Calvert came back to say thank you to us for our help and support in her robot endeavors. She has been accepted at MIT with her veteran’s benefits and an MIT scholarship paying all her expenses. Congratulations Melissa!
  • Michael Pugh stepped up to tell us about a new group he is forming a new STEM focused group at Seattle Central College. He has 25 folks and some funding and wishes to solicit help in how to build their outdoor robot. The organization is a local chapter of Sacnas. He’s looking for advice on how to get started and where to go for parts. Contact him at or find him on linkedin at michaelpugh.

Feature Presentation

    Our program presenters were Steven Tibbets of ZEVA and William Davis of FABLAB Tacoma.

    Steven (CEO of ZEVA) initially introduced us to the SEVA Zero – an electric powered personal flying vehicle. As shown in the pictures of the 1:6 scale model, the eVTOL (electric Vertical takeoff & Landing) is a 2 Meter disc into which a person can step. The disc takes off vertically and then rotates to fly horizontally at 160 mph.

    Steven pointed out that transportation is the #1 polluting sector today, and the Zero is intended to extend the commuting zone vertically to take those cars off the road. The model is mechanically simple as it has no tilt rotors. It is built from Kevlar and has many safety features including multiple 18 hp motors and lots of external sensors. The present projected range is 50 miles, and this range is projected to increase to 100 miles by 2028.

    The Zeros’ initial target market is Police, Military, and Search and Rescue – anywhere where it is important to get people somewhere in a hurry. Eventual broader adoption will be dependent on an AI grid to coordinate the travel of all these vehicles.

    ZEVA was hatched and currently is based in FABLAB Tacoma.

    FABLAB Tacoma was started in 2004 with the objective of assisting entrepreneurs, helping startups, and lowering the cost of producing a prototype. Their model was Techshop in California. They are located up the hill from the Tacoma dock area, close to UW Tacoma, and their website if fablabtacoma.com.

    FABLAB Tacoma offers the following equipment and services for use by their members:

  • Mark Forge 3D Printer
  • Epilog Laser Cutter
  • Torchmate Plasma Cutter
  • Shop-Bot CMC router
  • Vacuum Forming Machinery
  • HTC-Vive Virtual Reality Room
  • CAD equipment and services
  • Digital Fabrication
  • CNC manufacturing
  • Business Incubation & Consulting
  • Membership can be gained by the month or the talents of FABLAB can be hired on a job basis.

At the end of the meeting Tanya Mead introduced her First Tech Team and is looking for mentors. She can be reached at tanyamead7(at)gmail.com or EastgateYouthTech(at)gmail.com.

The Workshop

    The afternoon workshop was canceled due to insufficient attendees. Dick Curtiss will lead "Programming 101" class next month so bring your kit and a laptop. Visit the Workshops page for details including the downloads.

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

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