Recent blog entries for zeevon

Back after 6 months and no robots to show for it. In the past few weeks, I called and ran around Ottawa looking for some decent solar cells that weren't enormous and a rip-off. In the end, I gave up on my hometown and ordered from Calgary (none other than Solarbotics). The products available in Ottawa would have been the size of a credit card and output 0.6V, not even close to the 3-3.5V that I was looking for and way too big (not to mention the fact that they would have to be ordered in anyways). Kudos to Solarbotics for not forcing FedEx or UPS on me. I have ordered other stuff online only to find that they don't offer a cheaper/slower shipping solution.

Exams are almost over now with only one remaining (software engineering on Wednesday). I still need to go out and pick up a few solar cells and a few motors, probably the only things that I'm missing before starting to work on the projects from my new book.

Oh, and I have to find time over the next week to move all my possessions to a new apartment. Never a free moment to just sit down and play...

I bought Junkbots, Bugbots & Bots on Wheels yesterday after going through the archived articles on this site and reading the review. It's a little basic but as someone who has really only worked with an FPGA robot and microcontrollers, it's nice to now have a nice, gentle intro to some simpler designs.

Unfortunately, it's exam time and I'm already regretting the little time that I have spent reading the first few chapters (instead of studying).

It has been 10 months since I last posted anything here. I have been pretty busy finishing my degree, but fortunately I had a chance to build some robots in class this year.

In the fall semester, I was part of a group of 6 people that built an object-picking robot. It used a Polaroid sonar sensor to detect an object from up to 10 meters (35 feet) away, and then used a Sharp IR sensor (mounted on the arm) when it got within a fairly close range (I think 30 cm, but I can't remember). All of the motors and sensors were controlled by an Altera UP-2 board mounted on the robot, which we programmed using VHDL.

The project turned out to be a great success for us and we aced the class. This was my first real robot building experience and I'm quite pleased with it. I am also glad that it happened in a classroom setting because I was (and still am) pretty new to this, so at least I had some knowledgeable people around me to answer some of my questions.

So now that I have that behind me, I'm looking forward to starting a project of my own this summer. I still have a Motorola microcontroller (M68HC12) sitting in my office from last year which I could put to good use.

9 Jun 2002 (updated 9 Jun 2002 at 12:52 UTC) »

Having little building experience, I ordered Robot Builder's Bonanza (2nd Edition) this week, as well as another beginner's building book.

Tenacious C: I think it would be desirable to have one microcontroller doing everything, because it might make it easier to coordinate movement between different parts of your robot. (Disclaimer: I am not an expert.)

I was planning on doing an independent research project next year (being my fourth year in computer engineering). Since there is no thesis to write in your fourth year, they offer a "Project" class, which means you get a prof to supervise it and then you do a short presentation and write up a report by the end of the semester.

Previously, I had thought of doing on project on AI robotics, but I think I'll be doing it on cryptography instead (most likely eliptic curve cryptography). I figured that I would rather work on my robot stuff on my own without having to worry about making it work within 4 months.

29 Mar 2002 (updated 30 Mar 2002 at 01:18 UTC) »

Got an account here on, so I'll try to keep my AI robotics diary here, and keep my Free Software-related diary on Advogato.

I won't have much else to report until May, when I have a bit more free time.

(Evening Update) The whole trust thing seems a bit weirder here than on Advogato. Someone with a single cert from a Journeyer for Journeyer level attains that level. Weird. Is the trust metric actually different on this site or is just because there are fewer people here than on Advogato?

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