Friday, May 22, 2009


Introducing...Swervy! Swervy is a robot that Allen and I built this last semester. On occasion, I also call him Screwy and Scurvy. Here are some tech specs for his current configuration:

-Limit switches (2)
-Power Wheels gearboxes and motors (Fisher Price, 2)
-Power Wheels battery
-The Arduino Diecimila
-IR Receiver (from the First Robotics Kit, 2008)
-Victor 884 motor controllers (2)
-7.2V Ni-Cd rechargeable battery pack

Here's a short video demonstrating Swervy's current capabilities.

Finally, while we're already talking 'bout robots, here is a photo of the LAGR from Carnegie Mellon, which I was working with last semester.

Next up on the list of things to hasten the coming of the robot revolution: networked roombas.

Monday, May 4, 2009

FIRST Robotics Team 1836, Pt. 2

It isn't easy to describe the FIRST National Championships in Atlanta, Georgia on account of that event's scope and size, so I'm going to start with a few things in list form.

-Four divisions with 87 teams each (total 348 teams)
-The Georgia Dome is humongous
-Both flights and the our hotel were full of FIRST teams

We did exceptionally well, ranking 23rd of 86 teams in our division. You can see our videos, as usual, at (scroll down to "Galileo Division"). It was a complete turnaround from the Los Angeles Regionals, and we even installed a shooter and scored a few balls.

And now I will bombard you with photos:

The man in the center around which we are crowding is Dean Kamen, who among a great many other things invented the Segway. His company, Deka, recently developed a highly complex prosthetic arm.

I'm still at a loss of how to sum this up, so I'm just going to leave you with this: FIRST is a great experience, and to anybody interested in robotics who isn't already involved with FIRST, I encourage you to become involved, whether as a mentor or as a student. There isn't anything quite like it.