Archive for October, 2013

I am happy to share Part 1 of the demo I took to the Orlando Mini Maker Faire. This video covers the basics of what The MathWorks provided me. As you can tell by the video, it is somewhat dependent on lighting. But let me describe what the base demo does.

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The setup is 3 NXT robots running Simulink code that communicates with my computer. There is a camera positioned about 6 feet above the robots. Each robot has a unique pattern that can be seen by the camera. Using this pattern we can determine the position and heading of each bot.

The demo tries to get the robots to form a triangle. The position of the triangle is determined by the user. The robots will follow the triangle as the user moves it.  Check out the video above to see the tech in action! While the video was shot in my apartment, the picture, right, was from the Orlando Mini Maker Faire.

Now I love sharing cool tech with people, but I also love to put my own twist on it. What if we made the demo interactive and allowed kids to draw lines? One might think a robot or a group of robots might follow that line. One might also thing that adding more lines of different colors might allow different robots to follow different lines. Of course that is all speculation.  Maybe the photo below will be a helpful hint. 😉

Part 2...

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Well CQ World Wide DX SSB contest is going on this weekend, but I have been chugging away at completing the logs and uploading videos. The video above is Kishore working a contact. Below you can see Yang and Akshay working as well.

We had a very successful School Club Roundup this year. Below are some of our operating stations. The first graph is total time operating. The second graph is contacts (QSOs) per hour. Finally the last graph shows our activity over the week. We had a total of 905 QSOs to people in 89 different locations (US States, Canadian Providences, or Countries) of which 5 were clubs and 38 identified as schools. It was a very successful week and a lot of club members got on the air for the first time!

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I am working on getting a few videos done from the Orlando Mini Maker Faire, but this week another event has my attention. This week is the American Radio Relay League‘s School Club Roundup. The School Club Roundup (SCR) brings the focus to elementary, middle, and high schools plus colleges and universities. The event begins on October 21st (yesterday) and runs until Friday. This is my 3rd SCR operating from the University of Florida. Our club station is W4DFU and we are the Gator Amateur Radio Club. Last year we came in 1st place in the College/University category in the fall and we came in 3rd place in the College/University category for the spring.

We are already out in full force. Check out the video above of us operating yesterday. We have over 200 QSOs! We plan on operating every day this week between 1400 and 1900 EDT from our club station, atop the dental school here at UF. Feel free to give us a shout! We would love to get you in the log! Best of 73s and Good DX!

WP_20131005_008This past weekend was the Orlando Mini Maker Faire at the Orlando Science Center. I am not sure of the final attendance numbers, but I was busy the entire time. I brought a total of 15 robots to display. Naturally I had the Shuttle and segway bots, but this event featured a new NXT project in partnership with The MathWorks, makers of MATLAB and Simulink. The video will be coming (due to poor lighting at the event, I am having to shoot the video at home) but the project features control of the NXTs from MATLAB. Navigation is done by processing the image from a camera positioned above the bots, as you can see in the first picture. I will go into more detail soon, but The MathWorks provided a good foundation for the demo and I then added a few enhancements. The code running on the NXTs was written in Simulink and the image processing and control as in MATLAB. The bots communicated with the computer via Bluetooth. I was able to demo both the example The MathWorks provide and my enhanced version, but since the lighting was spotty, I was only able to do it once. (It was very sensitive to people walking by and casting shadows from the overhead lights.)

WP_20131005_001I also brought a long a few EV3 bots. I had a couple of ‘kit’ bots that were built with the instructions (EV3RSTORM and a robotic arm), but I also decided to make my own flyer stuffing robot. I will save the details of that bot for another post as well, but it is safe to say it was a hit with every one in attendance. You can see it right on the corner of the table in the picture below.

WP_20131005_003Below are a few more pics from the display. Everyone really seemed to like the interactive display. Other members of my LUG had displays that ranged from a trick or treating street, motorized technic models, and a BrickPi. We really had a nice showing and attracted a ton of attention.

WP_20131005_002WP_20131005_005WP_20131005_007I look forward to the next event, although I might need to scale it back a bit. 15 bots was crazy! Plus, I wasnt able to bring a few of my other projects. Stay tuned for more updates. I have quite a backlog and I hope to be updating them soon!