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Apr 98

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Nashua Robot Builders (NRB) Newsletter

April 1998

The NRB meet the second Saturday of each month at the Nashua Public Library in Nashua. Meetings start at 1pm.
You can find our web page at:

In this issue:

The Practice Round
Demos by Bob Brady
   Next Month: The Contest!

The Practice Round

This month we held the official practice round for the upcomming May contest. Most importantly for the competitors, we were able to solidify the final details of the contest arena. The size and layout of the arena are the same as in the original
rules. Three white plastic backed paper tablecloths will make up the playing surface. Chaulk lines will be snapped in the proper grid formation. There is the possibility of a slight surface mismatch between the tables. Competitors should take this into account when designing their robots.

The practice round itself was an informal session where people tested their sensors, platforms, and algorithms.


Quentin's robot is a tricycle base, driven and steered with servos on the front wheel. The processor is a Microchip PIC16C58 programmed with Parallax PICBasic Stamp 1 code. At the practice round, Quentin tested out the edge of table sensors and his random coverage algorithm.


Jim's robot is driven by a pair of modified hobby servos and PIC microcontrollers. His robot will used timed maneuvers to traverse the course, and an edge of table sensor (just in case the robot drifts off course!). Jim likes to add that little "extra" to his robots, and this one is no different. Notice the yellow and black striped bumper. What you can't see is that the bumper has a row of LEDs that flash back and forth!


John checked out the durability of the playing field with his "Beast" platform. The "Beast" is a treaded base that utilizes skid steering, and was able to put small tears in the table cloths. To our surprise, the plastic backing held the surface together. John may end up being the last competitor, but he doesn't seem to mind.


Chris' definitely has developed an interesting mobility platform. His robot has angled drive wheels that minimize the surface contact with the floor. In the true robot hacker spirit, Chris used M&M eggs covered in tool dip for the wheels.

Demos by Bob Brady:

For Bob's first club meeting he brought in a few demos. On the small side of the world, we took a look at a miniature stepper motor made by


Bob also gave us a look at the Basic Stamp controlled walking robot distributed by Parallax.


Next Month: The Contest!

All the details have been worked out, bring your robot and your "Loot" for the prize table.


Bob Brady
Chris Burrien
John Cook
Jay Francis
Quentin Lewis
Jim Shepherd
Sky Sweeney
Ben Wirz

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