About the SRS

 Page last updated on 12/16/23

The Seattle Robotics Society was formed in 1982 to serve those interested in building robots and learning about the associated technologies. The Society is a club incorporated as a non-profit entity consisting of a diverse group of technologists and tinkerers. Our collective passion is to learn about robots through educational activities and to freely share our skills and knowledge with our community through meetings, workshops, contests, outreach events, online activities, and mentoring. We enjoy meeting new people interested in robotics for whatever reason. 

One great way to learn about the Society is to come to our monthly meetings. Since they happen online via Zoom, this is super-easy and no longer geographically limited. Since we started doing online meetings, we have had regular attendees from all over the country and presentations from all over the world. Robotics is a great way to connect.

See the SRS Programs page for information on the activities that the SRS does to help promote robotics. If you are interested in donating financially to the SRS, we can accept donations using the PayPal app at PayPal@SeattleRobotics.org.

New to Robotics?

It is our hope that we can help you on your journey to build your own robot. Several of our members have put together information about some options. 

There are now so many ways to get started with robotics now compared to decades ago. How you approach this challenge depends on how much you think you can do and how much you want to purchase off-the-shelf. There are kits available that allow as little or as much effort as you want to put into a robot. Some come ready-to-go, right out of the box, or having only  a little assembly required before you can begin using them. Others requires extensive assembly of many features, but result in more sophisticated and capable machines when complete. In most cases, once the kits are built, they will have built-in software to make the robot do something. Robot kits capable of many functions are available online, and most offer a fairly quick way to get something running quickly, but that pre-designed functionality also steers the robot in the direction chosen by the kit designers. This offers less personal creativity, but quicker progress towards a working robot. The choices are yours to make depending on how you roll.

SRS Workshop Robots

The SRS has a couple good starter kit robots that try to balance pre-designed functionality with builder creative license. Consider the following: Whether you’re just getting started in robotics or just want to learn about more advanced topics, the SRS Workshop Robots are great choices. These basic kits enable you to explore robot design, construction, and programming within a well-documented learning environment. These kits are not sold as presented apart from our club or on our website. They are customized for the SRS and heavily discounted to encourage the beginner, and to promote the mission of the Society to help people build robots. Purchasers of the kits are encouraged to share what they’re doing with them at meetings and participate in contests. Bring them to monthly online meetings and ask for help if you need it.

The Boe-bot Arduino UNO kit is simple, easy to build, and available for purchase via cash, check, or card that uses one of the most popular processors in the world. The kit comes with wonderfully detailed, printed manual walking you through everything from opening the box to complete programming of the robot to use all the included sensors, so you can be productive in between workshops.

The second kit we offer is an eight-core Propellor Chip-based robot called the Activitybot, also available for purchase via cash, check, or card. It also comes with a very detailed electronic (not printed) manual. This kit is great for folks interested in something more sophisticated than an single-core Arduino UNO-based robot. This kit supports true multi-tasking software, comes with 360-count-per-revolution wheel encoder-servos, an array of other special sensors, and uses BlocklyProp for programming (based on Scratch).

The Encoder

The Encoder is the Newsletter of the Seattle Robotics Society. We hope you find it informative and useful. We’re sorry it hasn’t been updated for a while, but even though technology and robotics evolve rapidly, many things don’t change that much. People seem to be quite busy and prefer building robots to writing about them. If you are interested in writing something that you believe would be helpful or interesting to our members, we would love to talk to you about publishing it in the Encoder. Contact us at SeattleRoboticsSociety(at)gmail.com, Subject: Encoder Article. Just create a PDF file of your article and we can drop it right in. Here’s a link to our writer’s guide to help you get started.

For some historical perspectives on hobby robotics, we have scanned and posted some pre-Internet issues of the original Encoder magazine from one member’s stash. Check these out for some SRS history and to see how far robotics has come since the club started.

Robothon

Robothon is the Seattle Robotics Society’s signature public event where we show off our robots and get to talk to lots of people about robotics. Robothon usually happens at the Seattle Center Armory in the fall, is free and open to the public, and is filled with exciting competitions, continuous floor demonstrations, interesting displays, and lots of people to answer questions about the SRS and robots. Between Robothons we sometimes have “Special Contest Days” featuring some of the typical Robothon contests. Watch the SRS homepage and visit the Robothon website for event details and contest rules.

Since we have not had in-person meetings or in-person Robothon events lately, we have shifted to online technical presentations that we call Virtual Robothon Exhibitions. You can check videos of these events out here. We will continue to do these virtual events between in-person events as long as there are presenters available.

FIRST Washington

FIRSTWA is an amazing, energetic organization dedicated to exposing kids to the exciting possibilities of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) wrapped together in robotics. Its primary focus is to provide opportunities for young people in Washington state to participate in the four programs (FLLE, FLLC, FTC, FRC)  and compete in contests developed by FIRST.