What to Expect
IThe Seattle Robotics Society has had meetings nearly every month since 1982. We had a hiatus in early 2019 due to COVID shutdowns, but are now meeting every month online. If you are building a robot, planning one, or just curious about robotics, you’ve come to the right place. If we’re meeting in person, and you’re in the Pacific Northwest, come on down to our venue, and meet the gang. We are on an exciting journey and welcome you to join us. They are free, open to anyone who would like to attend, and family friendly. We have a Meetup group page where you can RSVP and set up a reminder for yourself. Here’s a link to the pre-meeting slideshow that explains many details that won’t be covered during the meeting announcements to save time before the member sharing time.
Schedule and Venue: The Seattle Robotics Society meets on the third Saturday of each month. Our in-person meetings WERE at the FIRST Washington Fieldhouse in Kent, WA, however this facility was vacated in early 2021. A new location should be available sometime soon, where we hope to resume in-person meetings. Details will be posted here when a new location has been established.
The online meetings try to include as many elements of the in-person meetings as possible, but direct personal interaction will be limited to what’s possible through Zoom. General robot-related discussions may continue after the monthly meetings.
What happens at a meeting
Our meetings officially start at 10 am PT (11 am MT, 12pm CT, 1 pm ET) on the third Saturday of each month, with Zoom being up around 9:40-9:45 am PT so you can join ahead of time. Our meetings have moved online and are now pretty consistent. We plan to continue to run online meetings when in-person events resume for the benefit of those who appreciate remote attendance capability.
Welcome: My name is Steve and I usually run the meetings. Jump online early (~9:40 am PT or so) and introduce yourself. Meet the other people attending. We have new people all the time, as well many faithful, longtime members who have been attending for years. Use the Zoom Chat during the meeting to share useful information and to streamline the info-gathering process for me. This will be posted along with the video and meeting slides on the website after the meeting.
Club Business: The meetings are friendly and informal, but do follow an agenda. We’ll start by addressing any club business (related to the club’s mission and purpose, what people are interested in, etc.), and share about news of upcoming robotics events, local activities, the upcoming presentation and schedule, Robothon activities, and anything else related to club operations or activities.
Show-n-Tell/Round-the-Room/Web: This is your opportunity to shine. Show us your projects, ask questions, announce events, etc. The style is an informal demonstration or presentation. Attendees have the opportunity to share what they are working on and this is a great time to ask questions to and seek help from other club members. Because this portion of the meeting is unscripted, it can last 15 minutes or exceed an hour. If you have a longer presentation you’d like to do, consider sharing about your project briefly now but more extensively as a formal presentation at a future meeting. See the Presenter Information page for details and contact me at the club email so I can get you scheduled.
Generally we try to wrap this part of the meeting up around 11 (PT) or so and then take a short break prior to the formal presentation. This is an opportunity to run to the restroom, grab a cup of coffee and get settled for the presentation without missing anything. At in-person meetings, this is a brief opportunity for people mingle, meet others, and rummage through the swap meet items plus the above stuff.
Presentation: After the break, I’ll call everyone back for the formal presentation, which begins with an introduction of the presenter. The presentation will run until noon (PT) or so, but might go a little longer, but not past 12:30pm PT.
Presenters can be an invited guest speaker sharing his/her experience on a robotics or a technology-related topic, an open discussion on a pre-defined topic facilitated by me or another club member, or a member presenting on his/her robot or other interesting project. While not doing in-person meetings, all presentations are online which enables us to book presenters from any reasonable time zone on the planet, not just locals to the PNW. Anything interesting is a possibility. If you are interested in formally presenting at a future meeting, see the Presenter Information page for more details.
Afterwards: After the presentation, the meeting officially ends, but feel free to hang around and chat during the Robotics Discussion. In person, you can hang out and chat with people, follow-up on questions about things shared, meet more people, see demos of things people brought, etc. Online, the Zoom meeting will continue until people are done and leave.
The monthly workshops are intended to provide a collaborative environment for people to work on their personal projects, but with other potential helpers close by. They may start up once in-person meetings happen if there’s enough interest and will take place wherever the meetings happen. If you have questions or just want to have company while you work, the Zoom meeting will probably continue for a while, but not be recorded. If you’re stuck or don’t quite know where to begin, perhaps we can provide just the impetus you need.
The SRS Workshop Robot kits: The current club robots are the SRS Arduino Boe-Bot Kit and the Activitybot Kit which you can buy at any meeting or reach out to the club at via the SRS email: SeattleRoboticsSociety(at)gmail.com. When in-person meetings start, bring them back to future meetings for help, to share what you’ve done, to get questions answered, to work on them, and to prepare for and do contests. These kits were designed specifically for the SRS by Parallax President Ken Gracey and SRS member and published author Carol Hazlett. They come with extensive, excellently written documentation and a special selection of sensors well suited for building robots to compete in our Robothon events and other contests. Additional sensors and sensor kits can be purchased from Parallax or other places on the web.
These kits are not available as sold by the SRS, from Parallax. They can only be purchased from the SRS. This means that if you buy them, you are intending to participate in our workshops, come to meetings, compete in contests, and work on your robot alongside other SRS members. We don’t want to compete with Parallax by selling these kits to just anyone, so we don’t sell them through an online store. They are designed to support the mission and purpose of the Seattle Robotics Society, and we wish to respect and support Parallax as our thanks for their extraordinary generosity and support of the Society.
General Robotics and SRS Workshop Robot Resources:
- Workshop Robot and Class Overview
- Parallax Arduino Boe-bot User Manual (a nice spiral-bound one comes with each kit).
- “Programming 101 Classes” during the monthly workshops.
- Activitybot Tutorials
- Troubleshooting the Activitybot
- Arduino.cc Website
- Arduino IDE Software for Windows, iOS, or Linux (or web-based requiring no SW installation but $12/yr subscription).
- Class/Workshop Details
- Parallax Robot Kit Tutorials.
- Parallax Website
- Fritzing Website for documenting your Arduino projects.
- Useful robot resources for parts, kits, platforms, tools, etc.
- Coming (we hope): Brief monthly “How to…” highlights during the meetings on different functions and capabilities of the SRS Workshop Robots.
Page last updated on 12/24/21