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January 29th, 2009
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Or what I have been doing for the last 3 months.

I’ll tell the story with pictures:img_0009

The box behind the little motor is a test tool I made initially to test servos.  In the hobby store, these kinds of testers sell for about $100.  Not only did this one only cost a grand total of $50, but it does much much more than just a motor tester.  Simply hook to USB and reprogram it to do whatever you need it to.

So far, this is what I have programmed into it:

  • LCD Tester
  • Servo Tester – 5 points
  • Servo Tester – continuously variable
  • Voltmeter – 0 to 5 volts
  • LED tester
  • Power Supply


Joule Thief.  Excellent little piece.  Takes dead batteries and pumps up the voltage to drive a nice and bright white LED.  We have it in our bathroom as it makes a great nightlight using our old, would have been thrown out batteries.


Technically my first robot, although he has gone through 3 revisions already.  Right now I have a mechanical engineer helping me to produce a commercial grade chassis for it.  He currently navigates rooms with basic obstacle avoidance.  This last rev added a tilt to the distance sensor so that he may scan in 3D.  Future upgrades with the new chassis coming include the ability to mount a WIFI camera and view images seen from his vantage point remotely.

img_0031 img_0043 img_0047 sspx0066

I had received a handy board and decided to push what I could do with it.  He is functional, avoids obstacles and races along until he encounters an object at which time he can slam on the brakes.  Functional accelerometer meant to check for crash angles.  Ultimately the handy board could not provide enough resolution nor processing speed to keep pace with this particular RC frame, so what was learning from him will be applied towards my treaded robot.


This is Meowchi.  He made it into a rev 2 and was a functional line follower that was created by hacking another robot platform’s motherboard.  It was more of a proof of concept and worked well, but ultimately his motors gave their life to our new electrically controlled blinds in our bedroom.


This is my mini sumo.  Although fucntional and works fine, it turns out he’s a little wimpy for competition.  (Only because for some reason they won’t let me compete with 10 year olds, even though I am at the beginner level.)  I’ll have to either beef him up or tear him apart and rebuild him ala the Six Million Dollar Man. (We have the technology)

WCRS Launches new website

January 18th, 2009
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Our local robotics soceity has relaunched their website, with a fresh new mantra.

The main site will be blog style, based on the popular WordPress software.  Forthcoming will also be a Wiki which will allow society members and the public at large to post projects, and even collaborate and share.

I may have had a small hand in facilitating their transition, but it will be the society members that ultimately either make or break the concept.

Time will tell- until then, I’m looking forward to being a part of something less static, and whatever skills and concepts can be brought forward by it.

Stop by and have a look at the new WCRS website!

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