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Seattle Robotics Society

SRS Meeting Presentations

June 18, 2016 - Janitorial Robots
Jeremy Williams talked about the 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 will present on robot sensors: what they are, how they work, and where to get them. Here's a copy of the presentation (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's a copy of the presentation (PDF, 180 KB).
December 19, 2015 - Robotic Pets
Amanda Lazar 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 two 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.
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's a copy of the presentation (PDF, 6M).
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. Presentation (PDF, 1.5M)
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.
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.
June 21, 2014 - 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's a copy of Lloyd's presentation (PPTX, 778k).
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's a copy of the presentation (PDF, 1.5M).
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's a copy of Lloyd's presentation slides (PDF, 632k).
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 paper explaining the system (PDF, 346k).
March 16, 2013 - FIRST Robotics Team 3574, High Tekerz
FIRST Robotics Competition Team 3574, High Tekerz showed their practice robot for this year's FRC competition 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's a copy of Lloyd's presentation slides (761 KB) with instructions for doing the setup.
You can also download the resulting disk image (1.1 GB). This file will be available until 2/28/13.
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, 7.5M).
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 (PPT, 190k).
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 .NET Gadgeteer, demonstrated how to create a new project using it, and showed an implementation of it on the SRS Workshop Robot.
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, 817k) 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, 1.2M), 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 a PDF of Lucas's presentation (160k).
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 a PDF of Mark's presentation (10.7M).
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 a PDF of Lloyd's presentation (700k). Additional information can be found on 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 a PDF of his presentation (60k) and a ZIP of the code (3M).
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 serial port connections.
August 21, 2010 - Science Fiction in the Classroom, Robots in the Community
Sarah Pérez-Kriz is an 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 a PDF of her presentation (250k).
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 a PDF of his presentation (2.1M).
June 19, 2010 - Humanoid Robotics
Dr. Rawichote Chalodhorn (Choppy) presented on humanoid robotics and strategies for balance and walking. Here is a PDF of his presentation (2.3M).
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.
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 a PDF of his presentation (1.6M).
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 Labs Seattle.
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 Steve 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. Here's a copy of the presentation (PDF, 1.2M).
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, 580k) and speaking notes (PDF, 13k), or download a ZIP of presentation materials (10M) 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, 1.3M).
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.
November 15, 2008 - Personal Robotics at Intel
Joshua Smith, 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, 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, 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. Here is a link to his presentation.
July 19, 2008 - Robotic Fish
Daniel Klein and Emmett Lalish from UW talked about the robotic fish project and future Robotic Fish in Schools, Remote Control, and Localization.
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 analog inputs, 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 will be introduced in Seattle in mid 2008. 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
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 image processing library.
July 21, 2007 - Wearable Sensor-Platforms
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. For information about Brian and his research, visit Brian's website Information about SLAM is at
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 gave 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.
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 of "mini-crate contraption" robots that move around LEGO crates and balls. Here is a copy of the SMART presentation (PPT, 500k).
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 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. and balls. Here is a copy of the WiMo presentation (PDF, 800k).

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, 1.3M).
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 on sensors (PPT, 1.5M).
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, 2.7M) and a movie (WMV, 4.2M).
October 21, 2006
David Shoemaker discussed the latest information on and status of the LiftPort Space Elevator Project.
September 16, 2006
Z-Corp demonstrated their 3-dimensional 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's presentation (PDF, 2M).
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
Stewart Tansley 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, we explore 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, 1M), where he talked about current robot products you can buy, questions to ask and answer to get started, and what resources are 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.
November 2005
Rolf Rysdyk, Autonomous Flight Systems Lab (UW AFSL).
October 2005
Issaquah F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Team - I.R.S.
September 2005
Embedded Linux - Karl Lunt, Dave Hylands.
August 2005
Various - Tyler Folsom, Jim Wright, Pete Miles.
July 2005
Sim of SRS Robot - Lee Leahy + Robot Rovers - Paul Verhage.
June 2005
Carangiform Locomotion Update (UW, robot fish) - Kristi Morgansen.
May 2005
MEMS (UW) - Kevin Wang.
April 2005
Barbaric Robotics - Jim Wright.
March 2005
ARC Lab (UW) - Sam McKennoch.
February 2005
GYRE Project (UW) - David Bliss, Matthew Dockrey, Lee Zeman.
November 2004
RTC Machine Shop - Kinsey Fobes, Francisco Martinez.
October 2004
RTC - Kinsey Fobes, Jim Milstid, Dave Marshall.
September 2004
Digital Flocks (UW) - Bruce Hemingway.
July 2004
TurboCAD - Cathy Saxton.
June 2004
Photosensor Secrets - Bill Beaty.
May 2004
Space Elevator (LiftPort) - Michael Laine.
April 2004
Carangiform Locomotion (UW, robot fish) - Kristi Morgansen.
January 2004
LEGO Mindstorm Robots - Dave Schilling & Gus Jansson.
December 2003
Lloyd's Exc. Robot Adv - Lloyd Spencer + I/F'ing to LEGO sensors - Larry B.
November 2003
PSoC - Greg Verge.
October 2003
Batteries - Larry Barello + Eagle PCB Design S/W - Jim Wright.
August 2003
Neural Networks - Doug Kelley.
May 2003
International Schools Robotic Club - Jacob Eggler.
February 2003
DARPA Challenge, Scarab GCXC - Martin Calsyn.
January 2003
Combat Robots - W.A.R.
November 2002
Evolution Robotics - local sales guys.
October 2002
Making Sumo Wheels - Pete Miles.
July 2002
Piezo Sensors - Doug Bell + FF Robot Navigation - Gary Teachout.
June 2002
Flame Detectors - Gary Teachout.
May 2002
Segway Human Transporter (HT) - local sales guys.
April 2002
Mars Polar Lander - Jeff Slostad.
December 2001
Fugro Seafloor Surveys - Paul Jubinski.
November 2001
Haptics/Biorobotics (UW) - Blake Hannaford.
September 2001
Artificial Muscles (UW) - Kristen Jaax.
August 2001
Atmel Microcontrollers - local sales guys.
July 2001
Probablistic Navigation (UW) - Dieter Fox.