Past SRS Meeting Presentations & Events - Last Updated: 11/7/18
Professor John Swensen of Washington State University in Pullman presented "Soft Robotics: Robots that interact with and act like soft tissue" via a Google Hangout.
Presentation Abstract: Soft robotics and compliant robotic mechanisms have achieved great popularity in the past decade within the academic community. This soft robotics approach is in stark contrast to the traditional paradigm of large, heavy, rapidly-moving robotics in isolated environments. The soft-robotic approach has shown a lot of promise because their compliant nature lends itself well to safety concerns in co-robotics environments and exhibits adaptability and robustness to uncertainty, such as in robotic grasping. However, this same intrinsic compliance in soft robotics is also its biggest pitfall — in many scenarios it is unable to exert necessary forces and control manipulator shape under external loading. This talk will present some of the methods Dr. Swensen’s lab has taken to create soft robotic materials that can switch between acting like traditional rigid robotics and modern soft robotics. Additionally, he will talk about some of his recent work on the interaction between soft robots (like medical needles and catheters) and the soft tissues in which they operate. One particularly promising application is in waterjet-directed steerable needles.
Steve Kaehler facilitated a discussion about robots taking our jobs. Check out the SRS Weblog for more commentary on this topic. Here are the slides from the discussion.
Jason Russell, PNW Territory Account Manager for Stratasy/GoEngineer talked about the latest 3D Printer Technologies including printing metal. His company worked with the builders of "Disk O' Inferno", a cool combat robot built completely out of 3D printed parts. They have helped a number of teams around the West Coast with material, applications, and additive processes in order to stream line their custom manufacturing processes. Due to the size of his presentation, only a link is provided this time.
Alex Kaehler (my son) took us on a mathe-magical journey to the 4th Dimension. He showed how to imagine 4D things using 3D projection and models made from K'NEX, drawings, discussions, and showed us some of the amazing things they can do using game some development tools that are available. He built some 3D models using Conex parts. Here are some models you can print and resources if your are interested in exploring this fascinating subject.
At the Seattle Center in the Mural Amphitheatre south of the Armory: Robo-Magellan Competition. Contest Pictures
Xinli Zou presented on AR (augmented reality) integration with robotics for training. More information can be found at Wyzlink. Here are his slides.
On June 8th, Western Washington University (WWU) in Bellingham hosted the Student Robot Festival Mobile Application Showcase.
May 19th - Special Contest Day - Mini Robothon
No presentation happened for this month. Contests set up: Pop Can Challenge, Mini Sumo, Line Following, Walking Robot. Meeting & Contest Pictures
April 21st - Lloyd Moore - Vision Processing Algorithm Selection
Lloyd Moore presented on three different implementations for the machine vision operation of connectivity analysis. He talked about the details of how each algorithm works and compared the performance of each algorithm. Since each of the algorithms was used for a different purpose, he showed that matching an algorithm design to it's intended use can give large performance gains. Here are his slides.
March 17th - The 2017 Solar Eclipse from Nearspace with L. Paul Verhage
Paul Verhage from the Boise Robotics Group shared amazing solar eclipse pictures and data from his high altitude balloon launch program that helps
inspire student interest in science. His students build BalloonSats and program them to collect images and other science data. Here are the slides.
February 17th - "3D Printers and Creations" - facilitated by Jim Kindsvater
NOTE: Special meeting location this month: Western Integrated Technologies at 7651 South 190th St, Kent, WA 98032.
This month's meeting focused on 3D Printers and interesting things people have made with them. Scott Worley shared about OpenSCAD, an open-source Solid 3D CAD modeling tool that he has gotten to know quite well and is a handy tool to use with your 3D printer.
January 20th - "Why We Have Robots in Our Lives" - facilitated by Steve Kaehler
NOTE: Special meeting location this month: Western Integrated Technologies at 7651 South 190th St, Kent, WA 98032.
Steve Kaehler led a facilitated discussion about the roles of robots in our lives. They can be companions, assistants, protectors, pets, entertainers, and many other things. Why would you want a robot companion? Do they have feelings? Where is robot technology headed? What surprises might the future hold? Is this good, bad, or ?. A lively discussion ensued on this topic and much fun was had by all. Here are the slides with all the links including many we didn't have time to visit. Meeting Pictures
December 16, 2017 - PID Controllers by Carol Hazlett
Carol presented on PID controllers and what she's learned about them and how they work. She used several LEGO Mindstorms two-wheeled balancing robots (Google Search) and a Parallax robot programmed with BlocklyProp where she tweaked the P, I, and D coefficients then uploaded the changes to the robot to see what would happen. All in all it was a fun presentation. I'm not sure how much we learned but we had lots of fun anyway. She concluded with a Youtube video of her robotic Christmas tree using her Parallax Arlo platform. Here's a PID tutorial for your perusal.
November 18, 2017 - No Presentation this month.
The presenter had to reschedule. Look for him at the March meeting. The SRS hosted a Special Contest Day with a number of Robothon contests and lots of spectators. It was great fun!
October 21, 2017 - How to Build Robots and How NOT to Build them
Tom Carroll presented on the practical mechanical aspects of building robots and covered how NOT to build robots. His experience building robots has taught him a lot about what's possible as well as what's practical. This included building robots for several movies including "Revenge of the Nerds". He discussed drive systems, using gears, arms, treads, and converting his garage into a robot workshop. Tom's bio: Tom Carroll is a retired aerospace robotics engineer, having worked for Rockwell on numerous space and satellite programs from Apollo, ground instrumentation, MinuteMan systems, metrology, to operating an antenna range testing GPS satellite's antennas. He then got into robotics after his chief engineer read a cover story article that Tom wrote for the April 1984 issue of Popular Mechanics on the "5 Best Home-Built Robots". He spent a lot of time at NASA Johnson Space Center and at Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA working on Rockwell's bid for space station robotics. Tom was one of the founders of the Southern California Robotics Society in the late 70's, now called Robotics Society of Southern California--the second robotics group in the US after the one in Albuquerque, NM. The next one was the Homebrew Robotics Society in San Francisco. Time was somewhat short so he had to zip through his presentation but here are his slides (PDF, 8.8MB).
September 16, 2017 - Successfully Designing 3D-Printed Things
Scott Worley shared the challenges of designing things that will actually print the way we expect them to. Printing stuff that's proven is pretty easy but when you design something new, it's important to understand how the 3D-printer works and what to expect from the printing material it uses. Here are his slides (PDF, 15MB).
August 19, 2017 - Open Discussion on Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Part2
This was a continuation of last month's discussion. Steve Kaehler facilitated an open discussion on AI with the meeting attendees. The sharing was lively and interesting and included a couple TED Talk videos. Here's a copy of the slides (PDF, 1.5MB).
July 15, 2017 - Open Discussion on Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Part1
Steve Kaehler facilitated an open discussion on AI with the meeting attendees. The topic was engaging and well received with lots of sharing.
Here's a copy of the slides (PDF, 1.6MB).
June 17, 2017 - Minds-i Construction Demonstration
Carol Hazlett demonstrated the amazing capability and versatility of the Minds-i construction system invented by Mike Marzetta. Since Carol has helped Mike with designing and building robots using his construction system for STEM competitions in the Spokane area, she has acquired a vast inventory of parts and loves to use it.
May 20, 2017 - Marine Advanced Technology Education
Mark Allen of Underwater Admiralty Sciences shared about the
MATE underwater remote operated vehicle competitions and his work with the students and teachers at Bainbridge High School.
April 15, 2017 - The UW Hyperloop Project
Malachi Williams and David Coven shared technical details and competition challenges they encountered with the
University of Washington's hyperloop vehicle.
March 18, 2017 - The Intelligent Robot Learning Lab (IRLL) at Washington State University in Pullman, WA
Professor Matthew Taylor and several students joined us via Google Hangouts and showed us around the IRLL which he founded, discussed some projects he and his students are working on, and shared WSU's involvement in the Palouse RoboSub Club in underwater robotic sub competitions.
There are growing opportunities for STEM outreach and careers even in very rural areas as high tech is applied to agriculture. Here's a copy of his presentation (PDF, 1.3MB).
February 21, 2017 - The Amazing Arduino
Jim Kindsvater talked about the different Arduino controllers, explaining their capabilities, advantages, relative costs, and uses.
January 21, 2017 - RC Vehicle Programming
Carol Hazlett presented on programming Radio Control Electronic Speed Controllers and Ackermann-steered vehicles for use in robotics. She showed code and demonstrations, including using on oscilloscope to display the RC radio's signal.
December 17, 2016 - Debugging Intermittent Issues
Lloyd Moore explained how to debug intermittent issues. His talk covered topics including how to determine if the issue is really solved or just not showing up, and techniques for untangling the interaction of multiple issues. Here are the presentation slides (PPTX, 170KB).
November 19, 2016 - Open Forum Discussion: Autonomous Vehicles
Steve Kaehler facilitated a group discussion about the present state and future possibilities of autonomous vehicles. Here are the slides (PDF, 1.3MB).
October 15, 2106 - Engineering for Violin Bow Motion Capture and Presentation
Dick Curtiss presented his project for capturing bow motion information using accelerometers. His goal is to record and present bow motion information in a way useful for training fiddle students. Here are the presentation sildes (PDF, 1.2MB).
September 17, 2016 - Analyzing Loudspeaker Cabinet Vibrations
Thurman Gillespie explained and demonstrated his project for measuring the effectiveness of loudspeaker cabinet vibration reduction techniques.
His system uses a digital accelerometer and an Arduino UNO to collect the data.
August 20, 2016 - Robots that understand people and their environment
University of Washington professor Dieter Fox showed examples from his team's research on modeling, detecting, and tracking articulated objects. To interact and collaborate with people in a natural way, robots must be able to recognize
objects in their environments, accurately track the actions of humans, and estimate their goals and intentions. The last years have seen dramatic improvements in robotic capabilities to model, detect, and track non-rigid objects such as human bodies, hands, and their own manipulators. These recent developments can serve as the basis for providing robots with an unprecedented understanding of their environment and the people therein.
Professor Fox highlighted his team's advances and discussed open problems that still need to be addressed.
July 16, 2016 - Service Robots
Prof. Maya Cakmak shared her research on service robots for household applications.
June 18, 2016 - Janitorial Robots
Jeremy Williams talked about the capabilities and applications of janitorial robots.
May 21, 2016 - Autodesk Inventor
Jim Wright, SRS President, presented on Autodesk Inventor 3D CAD modeling and simulation software.
April 16, 2016
(No formal presentation this month.)
March 19, 2016 - Surface Mount Soldering
SRS member Richard Greenway demonstrated various techniques for soldering surface-mount components.
February 20, 2016 - Robot Sensors
SRS member Steven Kaehler presented on robot sensors: what they are, how they work, and where to get them. Here are the
presentation slides (PDF, 3 MB).
January 16, 2016 - High Reliabilty Systems
Lloyd Moore presented various software techniques that can be used to harden a software system and make it more reliable in a harsh environment. Here are the presentation slides (PDF, 180KB).
December 19, 2015 - Robotic Pets
Amanda Lazar (UW graduate) from the UW presented the results from a focus group that she and her colleagues conducted, learning about the attitudes of older adults toward robotic pets.
November 21, 2015 - Bluthe and the Rover, New SRS Workshop Robot Proposal
Anantika Mannby presented
of her robots. She demonstrated Bluthe and the Rover and talked about her projects and what she learned about robotics during her two years with Destination Imagination.
SRS member Carol Hazlett presented a proposal for a new SRS Workshop Robot based on the Arduino Parallax Boe-Bot. Here is a video recording of the presentation.
October 17, 2015 - ROV for MATE competition
Miles Logsdon presented on Ocean Science & Technology curriculum and an ROV for MATE competition.
September 19, 2015 - Off-Grid Living
Michael Pawlowski, a nuclear project engineer at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, presented his experience with off-grid living at his home in Prineville, Oregon. His talk explored off-grid options (solar, wind, micro-hydroelectric, fuel-cell, solar hot water, geothermal),
challenges (water, phone, internet, TV, heating system, out-buildings), and evaluation (cost vs. benefit vs. need).
August 15, 2015 - "ARIEL"
Craig Peterson presented his work on ARIEL: An Artificial Intelligence based Chatbot.
July 18, 2015 - ICRA 2015 conference summary
David Hunter talked about the recent ICRA conference, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society's
flagship conference and international forum for robotics researchers to present their work. The 2015 conference was held May 26-30, 2015, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.
June 20, 2015 - PixyCAM
SRS member Robert Dyer talked about color detection using the CMUcam5 Pixy.
May 16, 2015 - Robothon Contest Demo
During the presentation period, there was a new Robothon contest demonstration.
April 18, 2015 - Open Forum Discussion
Instead of a formal presentation this month, we had an open discussion about robotics.
March 21, 2015 - Color Vision and Color Sensors
SRS member Robert Dyer described some of the aspects of color vision that aren't obvious, but are important to understanding how color vision differs from what color sensors detect, and how we can use color sensors to obtain the data we need for our robots to perform the tasks we want.
February 21, 2015 - Data Visualizations
UW Professor Jeff Heer discussed how to interpret and display large amounts of data, including verifying that the data is complete and considering the most effective ways to accurately convey the information. Here are the presentation slides (PDF, 6MB).
January 17, 2015 - Smart Emergency Response System; Haptics
Professor Howard Chizeck presented two topics: the Smart Emergency Response System (SERS), a project that seeks to move emergency response to the next level through incorporation of the products of cyber-physical systems research; and haptic rendering and virtual fixtures research, including surgical and underwater applications.
December 20, 2014 - 3D Printers
Members brought their printers, creations, ideas, suggestions, and recommendations to share. Steve Kaehler hosted a facilitated discussion on the topic including feedback from owners and users of various 3D printers. Here are the Presentation slides (PDF, 1.5MB)
November 15, 2014 - Prototype to Retail: Evolution Controllers Drone
SRS Member James Wall presented on retail product development, Kickstarter funding, and lessons learned while designing electronics for the Evolution Controllers Drone, which is a compact game controller designed for use with mobile phones, tablets, and computers.
October 18, 2014 - FIRST Robotics Competition Team Demonstration
FIRST Robotics team 1983 brought their robot for show and tell.
September 20, 2014 - Robothon
Robothon 2014 took the place of our usual meeting at Renton Tech. We try not to schedule Robothon the same weekend as our meetings but must fit our event into the Seattle Center's schedule so once in a great while, it happens.
August 16, 2014 - Open discussion on robots
Instead of a formal presentation this month, we had an open discussion about interesting robots featured in several videos shown at the meeting.
July 19, 2014 - Bomb Disposal Robot
Walter "Wally" Wesson and Josh Rideout of the Port of Seattle Police Department Bomb Disposal Unit demonstrated two of their robots.
YTV: Loading Port of Seattle Bomb Disposal Robot on transport truck at RTC
June 21, 2014 - The Raspberry Pi
Lloyd Moore explained how to use the Raspberry Pi, along with an open source Cypress PSoC daughter board, to build a very functional robot. The final goal of this project will be to update the SRS robot with a Raspberry Pi, camera, and Wi-Fi network connection. Here is Lloyd's presentation (PPTX, 778KB).
May 17, 2014 - CoroBot Pro
Lloyd Spencer from CoroWare talked about their CoroBot Pro and an upcoming security robot.
April 19, 2014 - Surface Mount Soldering
SRS member Richard Greenway demonstrated various techniques for soldering surface-mount components.
March 15, 2014 - Seaglider Project
Dr. Fritz Stahr presented the latest information on the Seaglider Project.
February 15, 2014 - Radio Telescopes
David Hunter gave a photographic presentation on the four great radio telescopes operated by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory: The Very Large Array (VLA), The Greenbank Telescope (GBT), The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), and The Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). David started working for the observatory in 2007 as part of the ALMA construction project. Now that construction is complete he maintains the Brewster VLBA station.
January 18, 2014 - Robotics for Caregiving
Dr. George Demiris presented on the use of robotics to assist the aging and in hospice care. Dr. Demiris is the Alumni Endowed Professor in Nursing at the School of Nursing and Biomedical and Health Informatics at the School of Medicine, University of Washington. He is the Director of the Clinical Informatics and Patient Centered Technologies Program at the University of Washington. He has served as the Chair of the International Medical Informatics Association Working Group on Smart homes and Ambient Assisted Living and the Lead Convener of the Technology and Aging Special Interest Group of the Gerontological Society of America. He is investigating the use of advanced information technologies such as web-based videoconferencing, remote monitoring devices, and sensors to support patients at home and enable them to interact with care providers at a clinical site. His research also focuses on the concept of a "smart home" (a residence equipped with sensors and other devices that enhance safety and monitor the residents' health conditions). This includes both design and evaluation of ambient assisted living applications. His research involves social and clinical dimensions of the so-called area of "gerontechnology," namely the use of information technology to support aging.
December 21, 2013
There was no presentation this month.
November 16, 2013 - castAR Augmented Reality
Jeri Ellsworth from Technical Illusions talked about her experiences and background, and she and Rick Johnson demonstrated castAR, a 3D augmented reality system.
October 19, 2013 - Robot Sensors
Steve Kaehler presented on robot sensors, explaining about different types and how they work. Here are the presentation slides (PDF, 1.5MB).
September 21, 2013 - Robothon
Robothon 2013 took the place of our usual meeting at Renton Tech.
August 17, 2013 - Effects of the High Altitude Program on Student Attitudes Toward Science
Paul Verhage from the Boise Robotics Group explained how his high altitude program helps inspire student interest in science. He had students build BalloonSats and program them to collect science data. This was the first time that many of these students had soldered a circuit board and programmed. Paul also talked about his club's experience teaching a robotics class as part of community education.
July 20, 2013 - Real Time Debugging
Debugging real time issues presents a unique set of challenges and requirements to the developer. Normal debugging techniques such as breakpoints, printf statements, and logging frequently fail to locate the problem and can actually make the issue worse. In this presentation, Lloyd Moore examined why common debugging techniques fail when applied to real-time issues, and he presented tools and techniques that can successfully address the unique challenges of real time debugging. Here are Lloyd's presentation slides (PDF, 632KB).
June 15, 2013 - Emotiv EPOC Neuroheadset
Joshua Madara explained how the Emotiv EPOC Neuroheadset could be used to control a robot. The headset is a wireless, 14-electrode, EEG, brain-computer interface that can detect facial expressions, some emotional states, and certain thoughts you train it to recognize (it also detects head position with its built-in, two-axis gyro). Joshua uses the consumer edition of the headset ($299, no SDK) as an interface to robotics controllers using open-source technologies including Arduino.
May 18, 2013 - They Shall Walk
Monty Reed presented on They Shall Walk.
April 20, 2013 - Robotic System for Inspecting Guywires
Tony Mactutis talked about his work on the development of a robotic system for inspecting guywires at Naval antenna facilities. The towers are 1200' tall and are used to communicate with submarines. Tony explained the sensors, climbing mechanism, and some of the challenges with this project. Here is a whitepaper explaining the system (PDF, 346KB).
March 16, 2013 - FIRST Robotics Team 3574, High Tekerz
FIRST Robotics Competition Team 3574, High Tekerz, showed their practice robot for this year's
and shared information on the Seafair Jubilee Days Space Elevator Race.
February 16, 2013 - NG02
Tom Dean talked about NG02, a three-wheeled autonomous robot he built. This is a project with no end goal, often described as "an excuse to go to the shop and tinker." Tom described NG02's mechanical components and sensors and demonstrated odometry.
January 19, 2013 - Getting Started with the Raspberry Pi
Lloyd Moore showed us how to get started with the Raspberry Pi, an inexpensive ($35), credit card sized computer that is able to run the Linux operating system and has USB, Ethernet, HDMI, SPI, I2C, serial, GPIO lines, and a camera port.
Lloyd gave instructions for loading and configuring the operating system, installing the Qt (C++) development system, and controlling some of the ports. Here is Lloyd's presentation slides
(761KB) with instructions for doing the setup.
December 15, 2012 - MINDS-i and .NET Gadgeteer
Mike Marzetta from MINDS-i showed his new quadcopter design and Tom Dean did a .NET Gadgeteer hands-on demo.
November 17, 2012 - Gadgeteer
Michael Ashby and Rick Villar showed the current state of Microsoft's .NET Gadgeteer, including new modules.
October 20, 2012- UW's 3D Printing Lab
University of Washington professor Mark Ganter explained the various printers, materials, and techniques used in UW's 3D Printing Lab. Here is a copy of Professor Ganter's presentation (PDF, 7.5MB).
September 15, 2012 - 'C' for Microcontrollers, Just Being Efficient
Lloyd Moore shared ideas for working in the resource-constrained microcontroller environment, using program space and memory efficiently, and optimizing for low power consumption. Here is a copy of Lloyd's presentation
August 11, 2012 - Implantable Computers
Dr. Eberhard Fetz presented on bidirectional interactions between brains and implantable computers.
July 21, 2012 - Object Recognition
Dieter Fox from UW's Robotics and State Estimation (RSE) Lab presented on using Kinect-style depth cameras for object recognition.
June 16, 2012 - MINDS-i
Michael Marzetta did a technical presentation on the MINDS-i products.
May 19, 2012 - Micromouse Algorithms
Donna Smith talked about micromouse robot algorithms.
April 21, 2012 - Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer
Kerry Hammil from Microsoft Research and Michael Ashby of Logic 20/20 explained Microsoft's .NET Gadgeteer, demonstrated how to create a new project using it, and showed an implementation of it on the SRS Workshop Robot. Gadgeteer was an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio/Visual C# Express. It combined object-oriented programming, solderless assembly of electronics, and support for quick form-factor construction using computer-aided design.
March 17, 2012 - Creating USB Devices
Lloyd Moore explained the USB fundamentals for implementing various types of devices and showed how to implement a USB HID Joystick using the
Cypress PSoC 5 processor. Here are the slides (PPT, 817KB) and code (Zip, 17k) from the presentation.
February 18, 2012 - Surface-Mount Soldering Demo
Richard Greenway gave demonstrations and shared hints, tricks, and skills for surface-mount soldering, from prototyping with SMT parts and assembling circuit boards to doing modifications or repairs of assembled boards. You can see a copy of Richard's presentation (PDF, 1.2MB), and there is information about the kit used in the afternoon workshop at
January 21, 2012
This meeting was canceled due to weather and dangerous road conditions.
December 17, 2011 - Eric Johanson
Eric talked about his various robotics projects, including his work at Intellectual Ventures.
November 19, 2011 - Waterjet Cutting
Pete Miles explained how waterjet cutters work and showed examples of what they can make.
October 15, 2011 - Charlieplexing and Other Techniques
Cathy Saxton explained the development of her game timer project, covering various topics including Charlieplexing, playing notes on a buzzer, programming, designing PCBs, and ideas for lasercut project boxes. Presentation slides, code, and other resources are on her web site's
game timer page.
September 17, 2011 - Various Experimental Projects
SRS member Jesse Gordon showed the amazing gadgets he's created with parts scavenged from devices like printers and disk drives. His projects ranged from robots to a machine for placing surface-mount components to a high-power microscope.
August 20, 2011 - High Altitude Balloons and Dangerous Robotics
Paul Verhage of Boise Schools in Boise, Idaho, talked about flying high altitude instrumented balloons with cameras and other sensors, and "dangerous robotic projects" that shoot things.
July 16, 2011 - Using Cypress PSoC Creator
Lloyd Moore continued his presentation on the Cypress PSoC with a demonstration of
PSoC Creator, the development tool chain for the PSoC 3/5 line of Programmable Systems on Chip. This talk explored the development environment and Lloyd created a simple bubble level application using Creator with the
PSoC 5 First Touch Starter Kit.
June 18, 2011 - 3D Mapping
Peter Henry presented on his group's 3D mapping work in a joint project at
UW and Intel Research Seattle.
May 21, 2011 - Surgery in the Future
Dr. Richard Satava talked about advanced surgery techniques, both current and future.
April 16, 2011 - Using Video Game AI Algorithms for Robotics
Lucas Keyes presented different AI algorithms that can be useful for applications to robotics. Here is Lucas's presentation (PDF, 160KB).
March 19, 2011 - Wireless Haptic-feedback Controller
SRS member and UW student Tom Sommerville talked about the wireless haptic-feedback controller and various other projects at UW's
Ubiquitous Computing Lab.
February 19, 2011 - Underwater Remote Operated Vehicle Project
Mark Allen from Underwater Admiralty Sciences explained the ROV Challenge Program that they helped pioneer at Bainbridge High School. Here is Mark's presentation (PDF, 10.7MB).
January 15, 2011 - Using the Cypress PSoC Processor
Lloyd Moore presented on the Cypress PSoC, a Programmable "System on Chip" device which includes all the functions of a traditional microcontroller in addition to programmable analog and digital blocks. This combination of resources makes the chip well suited to robotics applications. This was an introductory talk about the PSoC 3 and 5, covering basic architecture and development tools. Here is Lloyd's presentation (PDF, 700KB). Additional information can be found on the Cypress's site.
December 18, 2010 - Seaglider Project
Dr. Fritz Stahr presented on the Seaglider Project.
November 20, 2010 - LIFESUIT Project update
Monty Reed gave an update on the LIFESUIT.
October 16, 2010 - OpenCV image processing
Jim Wright explained how to do color sensing using the OpenCV image processing library. Here is his presentation (PDF, 60KB) and the code (Zip, 3.0MB).
September 18, 2010 - USB Made Easy
Kevin Ross showed how easy it is to program a USB-capable IC so that it can communicate with a computer, providing a modern and faster alternative to the old RS-232 serial port connections.
August 21, 2010 - Science Fiction in the Classroom, Robots in the Community
Sarah Pérez-Kriz, former assistant professor in UW's Human Centered Design and Engineering department. Her Human-Robot Communication Laboratory is home to Bucky, a PeopleBot robot. Currently, her research focuses on understanding people's expectations about robots' capabilities,
how science fiction and the media influence those expectations, and how art and interactive exhibits can help people gain a more realistic understanding of robots. She teaches classes on visual communication and research methods, and her upcoming graduate course, Science Fiction Prototyping, will allow students to explore design issues in robotics through creative writing. Here is her presentation (PDF, 250KB).
July 17, 2010 - Robotic Surgery
Professor Mika N. Sinanan,
MD, PhD, (President, University of Washington Physicians Professor of Surgery) presented on the role of a robotic interface in surgical procedures.
Here is his presentation (PDF, 2.1MB).
June 19, 2010 - Humanoid Robotics
Rawichote Chalodhorn (Choppy) presented on humanoid robotics and strategies
for balance and walking. Here is his presentation (PDF, 2.3MB).
May 15, 2010 - Alchemy Project
Professor Pedro Domingos talked about the
Alchemy Project. Alchemy is a software package providing a series of algorithms for statistical relational learning and probabilistic logic inference, based on the Markov logic representation. Alchemy allows you to easily develop a wide range of AI applications, including collective classification, link prediction, entity resolution, social network modeling, and information extraction.
YTV: DoubleCross Game Intro (Kevin Ross)
April 17, 2010 - Parallax Propeller Chip
SRS member Michael Park presented on and demonstrated the Parallax Propeller Chip,
an option for robot control and other applications. Here is his presentation (PDF, 1.6MB).
March 20, 2010 - Wireless power and personal robotics
Josh Smith of Intel Research Seattle presented on wireless power and personal robotics, a sampling of the research being done at Intel
February 20, 2010 - SMART / LEGO Mindstorms
Gus Jansson and David Schilling showed us their latest LEGO Mindstorms NXT creations and talked about
the uses of and sources for cool sensors.
January 16, 2010
This meeting was canceled because Renton Tech's campus was closed for the holiday weekend.
December 19, 2009
Tyler Folsom presented on a plug-in hybrid electric / human-powered light vehicle and showed
video clips from the DARPA Grand Challenge and a concept presentation.
November 21, 2009 - Autonomous Robotic Buoys
Professor Steven Riser, UW oceanographer, presented on autonomous robotic buoys
(Argo Floats) that swim the earth's oceans gathering temperature, salinity, and current flow data giving scientists a view of the global ecosystem and effects of climate change around the world.
October 17, 2009 - RepRap
Wahid Tanner and Lou Amadio talked about their work on RepRap, a project where 3D printers create parts for 3D printers. Here's a copy of the
presentation (PDF, 1.2MB).
September 19, 2009
(No presentation this month.)
August 15, 2009 - Surface Mount Soldering for the Masses
Richard Greenway convinced us that anyone can solder SMT parts! He gave demonstrations and shared hints, tricks, and skills for surface-mount soldering, from prototyping with SMT parts and assembling circuit boards to doing modifications or repairs of assembled boards.
You can see his presentation slides (PDF, 580KB) and
speaking notes (PDF, 13KB), or download a
ZIP of presentation materials (10MB) from Richard's site.
July 18, 2009 - Swap Meet
No formal presentation this month. A swap meet was held in the parking lot following the show-and-tell portion of the meeting.
June 20, 2009 - Automobile status monitoring
Cathy Saxton presented her RAV4-EV Monitor, explaining how she learned to communicate with the RAV4-EV's internal computers and her project for showing useful diagnostic and energy-efficiency information on a color OLED screen.
May 16, 2009 - FIRST Robotics
FIRST Robotics Team 2046, Bear Metal explained this year's FIRST Robotics Competition, talked about their design, and demonstrated their robot.
April 18, 2009 - Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology
Yoky Matsuoka talked about her research into future assistive and rehabilitation technology by merging robotics and neuroscience.
March 21, 2009 - "The Raven"
Professor Bruce Hemingway talked about the final project from his current
Embedded Systems class and brought some hardware that demonstrated on-the-fly poetry with wireless nodes.
February 21, 2009 - Robot Sensors
Steven Kaehler presented on robot sensors: what they are, how they work, and where to get them. Here's a copy of the presentation (PDF, 1.3MB).
January 24, 2009 - Technology at Seatac Airport
Wally Wesson, Team Leader of the Port of Seattle BDU (Bomb Disposal Unit) group, explained the features and uses of their Hazardous Duty Robot, and the team showed the robot functionality. The Port's robot is a product of REMOTEC,
a Northrup Grummen subsidiary. Their unit is comparible to a current Model F6A. Other Hazardous Duty Robots are available from
Allen Vanguard: Vanguard and Defender;
iRobot: Pacbot and R-Gator;
Mesa Associates; and
Foster Miller: Talon.
Some of these types of robots are only available for purchase by police, security, and military organizations.
Dec 20, 2008: Meeting and presentation canceled. RTC was closed due to icy roads.
November 15, 2008 - Personal Robotics at Intel
Joshua Smith, former leader of Intel's Personal Robotics project, presented on technologies Intel is developing to help personal robots function in unstructured human environments. Electric Field Pretouch -- a sense that some species of fish use but humans do not -- allows the robot to "feel" objects without touching them. Electric Field Pretouch is used for both arm alignment and hand pre-shaping prior to grasping. The Perceptive Arm includes E-Field Pretouch and vision, and makes use of an object recognition algorithm developed at Intel. Herb is a mobile manipulation robot that can navigate in populated environments, pick up cups, and open drawers.
October 18, 2008 - Robotic Monitoring of Power Equipment
Professor Alex Mamishev, former director of the UW Sensors, Energy, and
Automation Laboratory (S.E.A.L.) at the UW, presented on the development of several sensing technologies for monitoring of power system
infrastructure, including mobile robots for inspection and maintenance.
September 20, 2008 - Relationships with Personified Robots
Rachel Severson, graduate UW psychologist, presented her group's research on children's and adolescents' social and moral
relationships with personified robots.
August 16, 2008 - RFID Tags
Evan Welbourne from UW presentated on
RFID Tags and Tracking, Localization, and the Future.
July 19, 2008 - Robotic Fish
and Emmett Lalish from UW talked about the robotic fish project and future Robotic Fish in Schools, Remote Control,
June 21, 2008 - Motor Control
Larry Barello explained his techniques for motor control. This presentation (as well as other useful robotics information) is on Larry's site.
May 17, 2008 (part 1) - FIRST Robotics
Local FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Teams explained the 2008 competition, showed their robots, and explained the challenges they faced this year.
May 17, 2008 (part 2) - BioRobotics Lab Tour
SRS members went on an afternoon tour of the BioRobotics Lab at the UW.
April 19, 2008 - "ProtoBox"
Jim Kindsvater introduced the Maximum Robotics "ProtoBox." This module is intended as a learning platform for beginning Atmel AVR
enthusiasts. Mounted in a pocket-size plastic enclosure, the enclosed pc board includes an ATtiny13, a switched 3 volt battery pack, an ISP
connector, and an external 8 pin connection header wired to corresponding pins on the ATtiny. Also on the board is a socket for a
28 pin ATmega8 with a similar connection header. Mounted to the outside of the box is a 320 pin bread board for building experimental projects.
March 15, 2008 - High Altitude Balloons and Dangerous Robotics
Paul Verhage of Boise Schools in Boise, Idaho, talked about flying high altitude instrumented balloons with cameras and other sensors, and "dangerous robotic projects" that shoot things.
February 16, 2008 - Developing MSRS Device Services
Joseph Fernando returned to talk about Microsoft Robotics Studio and how to develop MSRS device services.
January 19, 2008 - Harjit Singh, MicroMice
Hajit Singh presented on the evolution of his MicroMice: what he learned, and how he improved his designs as a result. Hajit's robot Zeetah III took first place in the MicroMouse competition at Robothon 2007.
December 15, 2007 - Blake Hannaford, UW BioRobotics Lab
Professor Blake Hannaford presented on the UW Bio Robotics Lab (BRL). He also invited us to come on a tour some time.
November 17, 2007 - Microsoft Robotics Studio
Joseph Fernando talked about Microsoft Robotics Studio.He will come back in a few months and expand on this talk.
October 20, 2007 (part 1) - "Wiring Board"
Jim Kindsvater demonstrated the "Wiring Board" sold by Maximum Robotics. The board is based on an Atmel ATmega128 processor and has 40 digital I/O, 8 analoginputs, 6 analog (PWM) outputs, 2 serial ports, and an I2C port as well as an onboard USB/serial converter so the board can be directly programmed from a remote computer. Also furnished is the wiring language program which allows easy programming in a 'C' like environment with simple commands for reading sensors and controlling lights, motors, and servos.
October 20, 2007 (part 2) - TechShop
TechShop is a new equipment-sharing concept which was planned to be introduced in Seattle in mid 2008 (so far none in Washington). It will have multiple machine tools available for rent on a daily participation basis. Available equipment will include lathes, mills, welders, a water-jet cutter, laser lithography, vacuum forming machines, embroidery, laser etching and cutting, full electronics lab, PC stations, CAD stations, etc. etc. etc. All new equipment will be furnished. The facility will feature 24/7 operation with techs on-site. There will be 3-hour qualification class for each complex machine. A meeting room, lab, lounge, and private work facilities will also be available in a 25,000 square foot facility. Also, an on site retail shop with metal, plastic, & electronics supplies will be provided.
September 15, 2007 - Balancing Robots and Other Such Machines
Members showed their balancing robots, and then the meeting moved outside for rides on Segways brought by a couple of members and Jack from
Segway of Seattle.
August 18, 2007 - OpenCV
Jim Wright presented OpenCV, an open source image processing library you can download for free.
July 21, 2007 - Wearable Sensor-Platforms
Former UW grad student Brian Ferris presented his work focusing on wearable sensor-platforms and interesting activity recognition and
inferencing functions that can be performed on those platforms. As cell phones and PDAs begin to include more interesting sensors (WiFi,
accelerometer, digital compass, etc), he is exploring interesting things that can be done. So far, his work has focused mostly on WiFi
localization of human users. His current work focuses on automatic mapping of indoor environments using the simple cell phone sensors
(described above), as opposed to full-on robotic SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) techniques.
June 16, 2007 - BOKU
Michael Miller of Microsoft showed a presentation on BOKU, a simple graphical programming environment for young children.
May 19, 2007 (part 1) - FIRST Robotics
Local FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Teams explained this year's competition and showed their robots.
May 19, 2007 (part 2) - EAGLE CAD
After lunch, Jim Wright ran his class on the EAGLE Layout Editor for schematics and PCBs.
April 21, 2007 - Robotic Easter Egg Hunt
Instead of the usual presentation this month, we held a contest for autonomous robots to collect plastic Easter eggs. Here's
a short video of some smokin' highlights of the contest at RTC.
March 17, 2007 - SMART: Seattle Mindstorms And Robotic Techies
David Schilling and Gus Jansson explained the new LEGO Mindstorms NXT controller and options for programming it and building custom electronics for it. They demonstrated several NXT creations, including two walking robots and a couple "mini-crate contraption" robots that move around LEGO crates and balls. Here is a copy of the SMART presentation (PPT, 500KB).
February 17, 2007 - "WiMo Robot" and Microsoft Robotics Studio
Brian Cross introduced us to WiMo (pronounced "Weemo"), a Windows Mobile Robot. The name comes from the "Wi" from "Windows" and "Mo" from "Mobile." He explained its origin and evolution as Windows Mobile Robot he developed with no prior robot-building experience. The entire system consisted of a Windows laptop with Bluetooth (for code development in MSRS), Windows-Mobile-capable cell phone with Bluetooth (to receive and execute the code), and an OOPIC with a Bluetooth module on the robot to execute the control functions.
The laptop sent code developed and compiled in Microsoft Robotics Studio (MSRS) to the cell phone for storage and execution. The robot is actually just the cell phone and an OOPIC coupled wirelessly via Bluetooth. He explained the basic physical configuration of each component and how they are connected and talked about some things he hopes to do with WiMo in the future.
His demonstrations included: driving the robot from the laptop keyboard, making the robot speak text typed into the laptop, verbally commanding
the robot to "dance," showing the wireless connectivity by physically separating the laptop, cell phone, and robot while still operating it,
retrieving real-time images from the cell phone's camera to the laptop screen, and -- in less than 5 minutes -- creating and executing code to
control the robot with a proportional USB joystick plugged into the laptop. Here is a copy of the WiMo presentation (PDF, 800KB).
January 20, 2007 - GYRE Project
David Bliss, Matthew Dockrey, and Amelia Lacenski explained the GYRE project, an experiment conducted under NASA's Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program. The GYRE team has built an autonomous free-flying robot capable of orienting itself using visual cues and navigating in a microgravity environment. Here is a copy of the GYRE presentation (PPT, 1.3MB).
December 16, 2006 - Robot Sensors - Steve Kaehler
Steve presented a discussion about sensors and their applications in robotics. Here is a copy of Steve's presentation (PPT, 1.5MB).
November 18, 2006
Lloyd Spencer and Kevin Sikorski from CoroWare presented on how they built their robots with Phidgets. Here is a copy of their presentation (PPT, 2.7MB)
and a movie (WMV, 4.2MB).
October 21, 2006
David Shoemaker discussed the latest information on and status of the LiftPort Space Elevator Project.
September 16, 2006
A presentative from formely Z-Corp, demonstrated their sintered-powder 3-D printers.
August 19, 2006
Ryan Wistort explained his 5-legged walker, the RyBOT.
July 15, 2006
Monty Reed explained the concept and evolution of the LIFESUIT. Here is a copy of Monty'spresentation (PDF, 2MB).
June 17, 2006
Larry Barello showed the robotic parachute that he's been working on and demonstrated examining the signaling in the device using a nifty PC
oscilloscope that he just got.
Jim Wright held an EAGLE class.
May 20, 2006
and John Wingfield presented some of their experiences as Microsoft representatives at the first Maker Faire held in April in San Mateo, CA. The Faire brought together the creators of MAKE magazine, the MythBusters, and thousands of tech DIY enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, science clubs, students, and authors. Called alternately a "Woodstock for Inventors," a "Burning Man for Geeks," or a "Giant Do-It-Yourself Science Fair," Maker Faire was a unique event that celebrated the use of science and technology in fun and creative ways. Stewart presented a personal review of the event in a photo show; John presented one of the Microsoft Coding4Fun projects highlighted at the event, .NET programming for LEGO Mindstorms.
April 15, 2006
Karl Böhringer, Associate Professor in UW's Microelectromechanical Systems
(MEMS) department, presented "Micro Manipulation and Micro Robots: Algorithms, Devices, and Applications."
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are tiny machines built with techniques derived from the microelectronics industry. Very large numbers of MEMS can be conveniently fabricated in parallel. However, the control and assembly of such massively parallel microsystems gives rise to numerous challenges in modeling, algorithms, as well as in physical implementation.
In this presentation explored parallel micro manipulation and micro assembly by investigating a cilia-like micro conveyor, a precision
docking system for future "pico-satellites", a walking microchip, and selfassembling micro devices.
Karl Böhringer is an associate professor in Electrical Engineering with adjunct appointments in Computer Science & Engineering and in
Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle. He received both his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Cornell University and his Diplom-Informatiker degree from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany. He was a visiting scholar at the Stanford Robotics Lab and Transducer Lab and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, before joining the faculty at the University of Washington.
His current interests include micromanipulation and microassembly, as well as biomedical implants and bioMEMS for single-cell genomics and
proteomics. His Ph.D. thesis was nominated for the ACM doctoral dissertation award. He received an NSF postdoctoral associateship in 1997, an NSF CAREER award in 1999, and was an NSF New Century Scholar in 2000. His work was featured among the Top 100 Science Stories in Discover Magazine's 2002 "Year in Science." In 2004, he received the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Academic Early Career Award and a sabbatical fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).
March 18, 2006
Eric Klavins, assistant professor in UW's Control and Robotics department.
February 18, 2006
Steve Kaehler presentated "So you want to build a robot" (PDF, 1MB), where he talked about current robot products you can buy, questions to ask and answer to get started, and what resources are currently available to help.
January 21, 2006
Dieter Fox, Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington.
December 17, 2005
Jacob Rosen, UW's BioRobotics Laboratory.
Rolf Rysdyk, Autonomous Flight Systems Lab (UW AFSL).
Issaquah F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Team - I.R.S.
Embedded Linux - Karl Lunt, Dave Hylands.
Various - Tyler Folsom, Jim Wright, Pete Miles.
Simulation of the SRS W/S Robot - Lee Leahy.
Inexpensive Robot Rovers - Paul Verhage.
Carangiform Locomotion Update (UW, robot fish) - Kristi Morgansen.
MEMS (UW) - Kevin Wang.
Barbaric Robotics - Jim Wright.
ARC Lab (UW) - Sam McKennoch.
GYRE Project (UW) - David Bliss, Matthew Dockrey, Lee Zeman.
RTC Machine Shop - Kinsey Fobes, Francisco Martinez.
RTC - Kinsey Fobes, Jim Milstid, Dave Marshall.
Digital Flocks (UW) - Bruce Hemingway.
TurboCAD - Cathy Saxton.
Photosensor Secrets - Bill Beaty.
Space Elevator (LiftPort) - Michael Laine.
Carangiform Locomotion (UW, robot fish) - Kristi Morgansen.
LEGO Mindstorm Robots - Dave Schilling & Gus Jansson.
Lloyd's Excellent Robot Adventure - Lloyd Spencer.
Interfacing to LEGO sensors - Larry Barello.
PSoC - Greg Verge.
Batteries - Larry Barello.
Eagle PCB Design S/W - Jim Wright.
Neural Networks - Doug Kelley.
International Schools Robotic Club - Jacob Eggler.
DARPA Challenge, Scarab GCXC - Martin Calsyn.
Combat Robots - W.A.R.
Evolution Robotics - local sales guys.
Making Sumo Wheels - Pete Miles.
Piezo Sensors - Doug Bell/dd>
Fire Fighting Robot Navigation - Gary Teachout.
Flame Detectors - Gary Teachout.
Segway Human Transporter (HT) - local sales guys.
Mars Polar Lander - Jeff Slostad.
Fugro Seafloor Surveys - Paul Jubinski.
Haptics/Biorobotics (UW) - Blake Hannaford.
Artificial Muscles (UW) - Kristen Jaax.
Atmel Microcontrollers - local sales guys.
Probablistic Navigation (UW) - Dieter Fox.