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Nashua Robot Builders (NRB) Newsletter

May 2000

The NRB meet the fourth Saturday of each month at the Nashua Public Library in Nashua. (directions to the library)

Meetings start at 1pm.

You can find our web page at:

In this issue:
Discussion of Club Purpose
   Announcements/Events Web Page
   Email via Egroups
   Show and Tell
   Next Meeting


Discussion of Club Purpose:
Since this is sort of a “rebirth of the club” meeting, we started off by talking about the purpose of the club, and what each of us wanted out of it. Alot of great ideas came out or the discussion, and there was alot of agreement on a number of them.

There was some discussion of holding meeting in other locations, and an offer was made to hold some of them in Acton, Ma. We agreed that we needed to have a consistent place to meet, but that it would be preferred by many of we had more meetings, maybe with less formal venues like BBQs or over a members house to watch a robot movie.

We had some discussions regarding club activities like contests, and even holding robotics demonstrations, or creating demonstration “terrariums” to show off our handy-crafts.

Another thing that was mentioned alot was the education aspect of having a club. This education would be of benefit to all experience levels, not only to the newbies. Each of us will have a set of experience that others can lean from, and we can structure our presentations and demos with that in mind.

In line with education was the idea of attracting new members. This can also be thought of as evangelism of the hobby and the club. The general feeling is that there are probably plenty of people around that wouild have a strong interest in a club like this...but we will need to “beat the bushes” to get them out.

Being an archive of knowledge can be of great help to new people. This is true for people who are new to all of it, or even to the hardware engineer who knows nothing about a viable software development environment for a microcontroller. We could gather information on working development hardware and software....pull together working libraries of software, or working schematics, and even document what we might call some “Standard Platforms” for newbies to start working with right away.

There was discussion of possibly having a club “project” that several people might collaberate on. This might be a single robot, or a team of robots to be taken to a contest. (like the fire fighting robot contest)

It was noted that there was probably the same sort of interest in the New England area (for a club like this) as there is in say Seattle or any of the other succesfull clubs....we just have to figure out what the formular is for making it all gel.

Rich mentioned another group that he is a member of (The New England Science Fiction Association), and some of the activities that might also map into our club, We discussed many of these activities, including operating and sponsoring a National Convention at some point.

It was decided that since there were only 4 of us attending, it would be best to start a discussion on the mailing list to see if others had any input/ideas on the matter. We also thought it would make sense to wait until we had more input and members attending before we elected leadership. (actually, we also thought it would make sense to know what our direction was so that we could figure out which positions were even needed.)

NOTE: Read the last newsletter published for ideas. We had discussed growing membership and what we wanted the club to be.

Announcements Web Page:

"It was suggested that the web site have an  “Announcements and Events” page. This page would have links to all sorts of area events or contests, as well as other things of interest to members. (Robot related shows on TV, etc....)

This will be added to the web site, and an email will be sent to the membership asking for suggestions/links for this page.. 

It was suggested that we move our mailing list to an EGROUPS list. This would make it easy for people to subscribe and drop the list themselves, and the EGROUPS site offers other interesting features that we might find useful. (like calendars, file space, etc...)

This was interesting to all present, and Quentin will set this up and send everyone email about it. (He will get the current list from Matt and add these people to the EGROUPS list...or just point at the old list for a short while.)

Show and Tell:
All four attendees brought robots of some description, and we sort of went around the table talking about each one. There were walkers as well as rollers in attendence. It was very interesting, and clear to me (at least) that each of us there had different experience, and that I can learn from the experience of all three of them. This is what would make a club like this so interesting to me.

Joe Knight’s HC11 based robot

Joe Knight’s walker

Rich Maynard’s Lego based robots

Chris Burian’s “Contest winning” robot

Chris Burian’s “Walker” (below)

Another view of Rich Maynard’s Lego based robots

Quentin Lewis’ ARFF, built for the Trinity Fire Fighting Robot Contest

Next Meeting:
We will have our next meeting in June, on the 4th Saturday at 1:00pm. The Library will be closed in July and August, we will have to meet elsewhere if we want a club meeting. (does this sound like an excuse for a BBQ, or what? ;-)

More information on this via email.

Joe Knight
Rich Maynard
Chris Burian
Laura Burian (came later to pick-up Chris)
Quentin Lewis

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