28 Oct 2003 dafyddwalters   » (Master)

Seattle Robotics Society Robothon

The 2003 Robothon was a lot of fun. There were many very interesting robots there, ranging from BEAM insects to soccer playing Aibos. My favourite was David Anderson's balancing robot, nBot. David never ceases to amaze me with what he can do with an 8-bit Motorola microcontroller. There are some cool videos of nBot in action at his web site, balancing graciously on two wheels as it drives effortlessly over rough terrain. I also loved Greg Fredericksen's range of educational Freddy robots designed for teaching robotics concepts to young enthusiasts. Both of them deservedly won Judges awards for their creations.

The Open Automaton Project prototype droid was on display at the event, and I was honoured to receive the Judges' Choice award for my work on the project. I wrote some simple Perl scripts to implement sociable behaviours for the prototype droid in my hotel room, and then I let it autonomously roam around Seattle Center House during the event on the next day. The kids at the event seemed to enjoy chasing it around the arena, and they were tickled pink when the robot spoke to them.

One of the wonderful things about an event like the Robothon is that it brings together many clever robotics enthusiasts, always willing to help each other out and share ideas. A couple of the guys there gave me some great tips on saving power to increase battery life, and I will be making some revisions to the Open Automaton Project circuit schematics accordingly.

The full Robothon results have now been posted at http://www.robothon.org/Robothon2003/results.html.

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