Check out RobotGeek 101!

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I always wanted to have a substantial set of lessons that I could point people to for getting started with RobotGeek and Arduino in General. RobotGeek 101 is my attempt at that set of lessons. The lessons go over the basic concepts of getting started with the Arduino ecosystem

  • Serial Communication
  • Digital Output
  • Digital Input
  • Analog Input
  • Pulsed Width Modulation
  • Servo Control

Each lesson has a web-page and a video version, so you can follow along with the exact directions in the video, or follow along with the text. Using Youtube's time-code links, each video is sectioned off based on each code example. Code can be downloaded as part of the RobotGeek tools/libraries, or copy/pasted from the lessons themselves.

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I shot the videos using a LifeCam Cinema and a Logitech Clear Chat connected to ScreenFlow which made it a breeze to produce videos. Screen flow is great at syncing the audio/video to my computer screen as well as adding audio, intros, and example pictures.

To get the life cam to film from above I made a rig out of an old extending lamp and a Custom 3D printed part.. It was a big improvement to my tripod setup for the HR-OS1 videos.

Theses lessons are great, but they are designed more for individual learners and don't have assessment or projects. I'd really like to convert the lesson structure over to an actual curriculum that could be used in a class. Arduino curriculum, here I come!

Geekbot Fun at Maker Faire Video + Photos)

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The Mini Maker Faires were a huge success! The arena held up beautifully and the robots faired far better than I expected. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who helped.

  • Wade for all his help fabricating, testing, brainstorming and running the Northside booth.
  • Kat for making us amazing flags and buildings, as well as brainstorming and support.
  • Olga for help running multiple events.
  • RenĂ©e for an amazing set of antennas.
  • Patrick for filming and sharing video.

Read more: Geekbot Fun at Maker Faire Video + Photos)

And adding more lanes

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Over the weekend I took the arena to a family party, and it was a big hit! I learned a lot about how people interact with it and a couple of 'bugs' that I need to fix. Leave it to little cousins to find new and exciting ways to try to destroy the arena (under my direction to do so of course). All in all though, everything stood up really well. No breakages or anything.

The robots held up really well to. I was a little worried about the video transmitters, and while they certianly heated up over time, I didn't see any failures or issues.

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The original plate I printed to mount the camera to the servo was pretty bland, so I use Tinkercad to whip up something more fun. I was definitely inspired by the HR-OS1 head and I think it came out pretty alright.

It looks like rain on Saturday so we'll probably be inside. Honestly, its probably for the best. I've still got a couple things to finish, but I think I'm on track to be all finished by Saturday. I've got prototypes for the 'ground stations' that I'll post pictures of later. Kat is almost done with obstacles. Now I need to work on special moves for the 'bots.

We are widening the corridors (Quick Update + Video)

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So the arena is coming along. Goals are built and painted, and we're almost done with all the trim. We're still working on obstacles, but the current cardboard boxes are good stand-ins. We cut 10"x10" holes in the EVA foam and the box flaps are layed out underneath to keep the box from getting pushed out.

Now I've got to do some control work!

Read more: We are widening the corridors (Quick Update + Video)

We are widening the corridors

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Like I mentioned last time we decided to build up a foam wall around the arena. This makes it really easy to setup, but leaves the arena a little rough. After a trip to the Home Despot, we found J-Channel Vinly Trim in 10 foot strips. After a little bit if spray paint, we had some nice end caps for the EVA foam walls.

We tried melting the trim to make some nice corners, but it didn't work out. We also thought about making 45 degree cuts to make some corners, but we really liked the idea of curved corners. So when everything else fails, why not 3d-print it?

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I measured the inner/outer diameter of my wall in the picture and used illustrator to make a rectangle with rounded corners. After a little bit of pathfinder manipulation I had a good shape. I exported to an SVG and imported that file to tinkercad. Extrusion game me the basic shape, then I resized a copy of the shape to make a channel for the foam to fit in. Now, I've got corner pieces that fit right over the foam.

I ended up adding a small holder for a flag. I'm not sure if I'll have time to make the flags, but I figure its better to have the hole than not. I'm still using corners without the holes for the inside corners where the goals meet the arena.

So next up, coloring the goals and building obstacles. Getting there!

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