Archive for April, 2009

Roborodentia Contest

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Cal Poly, my alma mater, holds an annual open house where the general public can go in and see what new stuff is going on at the school. All the colleges and clubs put their best face forward and show off, and some try to make a few bucks by selling stuff to the attendees. This is also when the IEEE Computer Society holds their Roborodentia contest, where students make robots and compete with them against other teams. The first year of the aforementioned contest I built a robot as my senior project and hoped to use it to compete in the contest. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get it programmed in time but I did get an ‘A’ on my senior project, and I got the programming done for the following year’s contest. I came in second place, because although my robot did finish the course and do everything that was asked of it, another robot did the same thing in about 30 seconds less time. a year or so after that I built another robot for the competition, and it also did very well, but didn’t win again. Since then I have gone to watch the contest annually, but haven’t really been serious about competing, at least not for more than an hour or so at a time. Usually the hour coincides with the time I’m actually at the contest watching enviously all the other teams with their robots compete. Hmm. Something seriously wrong with this picture. Yes, now I’m all fired up about the roborodentia contest because last weekend I went to Cal Poly and watched it. Hopefully next year will be different, and I will be able to finish a robot and get it programmed in time for the contest.

Gigapan Robot

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Ok, I found this cool site on the intertubes-, and both my wife and I think it’s the greatest thing since baked bread… ok maybe not that great but still really really cool. We got a gigapan robot and took it to Monterey the weekend my Brother graduated from the Naval Postgraduate school there, and used it to take a few gigapan images. Note- gigapan images of waves don’t really come out looking all that hot. Don’t ask me how I know this. Anyway, the images are cool but not really great because the only camera we have that fits the robot is a little point and shoot Canon, with a 3x zoom ratio. not really enough to get good gigapan images, and it doesn’t have the full manual setting capability that the instructions suggest. Hopefully this weekend I will get a chance to modify it a bit to accept one of our larger DSLR cameras, probably Tammy’s because she is the only one with a big zoom lens. I’ve been planning on getting a telephoto lens but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. When we get the knack of making great gigapan images, I’ll try posting some of them on my web site. Until then, you can see lots of cool gigapan images at