TGIMBOEJ robot edition

robotjunk

Since we last reported about The Great Internet Migratory Box of Electronic Junk, several of these boxes have begun circulating in different areas of the world. Team Hack-a-Day launched three themselves. Robots.net decided that there was a need for a specialized box just for those who hack robots, and have launched their own.

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Roborama 2008b

guys2

The Dallas Personal Robotics Group held their semi-annual Roborama contest on Saturday November 22nd in Garland, TX. The DPRG had a table at the recent Austin Makers Faire. Each spring and fall, they hold the Roborama contests for autonomous robots. The spring event has contests for outdoor self-navigating robots. The 2008b contests were designed to test the abilities of indoor robots. Normally held at the Science Place, this year they elected to have the contests at the DPRG warehouse in Garland.

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Autonomous SWARM at large


SWARM has been showing up at a number of places. Until now, the mysterious spheres have been under human control. However, the SWARM has taken the first steps to autonomous control. The SWARM is a kinetic art project consisting of several large self-propelled metallic spheres that interact with each other and their environment. Each orb in the swarm is fitted out with a processor, GPS, accelerometers, and Zigbee wireless communications. The entire project is open source. Slated to appear at the 2008 Burning Man festival, the orbs will use their GPS to wander within a specified area, keeping themselves “in bounds”.

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How-To: Binary clock using a Freeduino SB 2.1


Solarbotics recently released its own version of the Arduino microcontroller development board. They based their board on the Freeduino design. We thought this would be a good opportunity to review the new board as well as present a How-To about building a simple binary clock. Along the way we’ll cover some basics on attaching LEDs and switches to a microcontroller.

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How-To: Scavenge a mouse for parts

ps2 mouse opened
Chris Kiick posted about swarm robotics earlier in the week and today publishes his first Hack-A-Day How-To.

Old computer mice are being abandoned in droves. They’re tossed out because of dirt, obsolescence, or for being entirely too beige. Anyone who has a computer usually has more than one mouse and you can get them for pennies, if not free just for asking. Fortunately for the discriminating (read: cheap) hacker, these little widgets are chock-full of project parts. Today’s How-To will dissect a computer mouse, extract the useful parts, and give some ideas about how to use them.

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Swarm robotics


Uber-geek [James McLurkin] was in Austin recently demoing his robot swarm. He’s on tour with EDA Tech Forum. [McLurkin] has multiple degrees from the MIT AI lab and worked at iRobot for a couple of years. Lately, he has been working on distributed robot computing: robot swarms.

[McLurkin] was an entertaining speaker and had an interesting view of robotics. He is optimistic that robot parts will become more modular, so it will be easier to build them, and more importantly, faster to design them.

Some quotes:

  • “There’s more sensors in a cockroach’s butt than any robot”
  • “12 engineer years to design, 45 minutes to build”
  • “If it can break your ankle, it’s a real [rc] car.”

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