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May 96

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Date: Monday, 20-May-96 10:17 PM

Subject: Nashua Robot Builder's May Newsletter

  Nashua Robot Builder's May Newsletter

HI All,

I just realized this is the first anniversary of this club! About a year ago I moved to Nashua and set up shop here as NRB. Happy Anniversary to all of us! This is also the third year running I've been running/hosting robot clubs. First it was CT Robotics Society (now handled by Jake Mendelssohn), then briefly Boston Robot Group (BoRG) in Woburn and now NRB here in Nashua. It feels good to have been able to host these meetings and to meet the many people who've come to them. Thanks guys.

The big event is the contest next month June 8. Yes, NRB is holding our first (not so) Big Event! Like I've said, its a line following contest with the basic rule of he whose robot can run from point A to point B on a curving line the fastest wins. Playing field is a white Tyvek sheet with 1/2 inch wide Radio Shack electrical tape as a line. Every participant gets a "Certificate of Participation" and many cheers from his fellow. Participation is limited to "regular" members, those who've come twice to meetings.

Spectators are welcome at the contest! We need all the cheering we can get and hopefully some of you spectators will be competitors next time.

Here's Contest Details:

Where: Jay Francis' garage in Merrimack, NH (directions below)

When: Sat, June 8 (our June meeting is the contest) Start 11am for contest participants, 1pm for cheering section.

Why: To have fun with robots, of course!

        Line Following Contest

This contest is a typical line following type, follow a line and beat the clock. Each player gets three tries and keeps the fastest score. Overall fastest one wins.

Who can Enter

Any "regular" member can enter, by that I mean anyone who's come to at least two meetings. We want to keep our first "big event" kinda small and for people who come to meetings.

Playing Field

A white sheet of Tyvek house wrap, plain white side up, with a strip of Radio Shack 1/2" wide black electrical tape down its length. Field will be about ten feet long, and will have a "Start" and "Stop" marker on the line. Time starts when robot crosses the "Start" mark and ends when it crosses the "Stop" mark.

Why Tyvek? Well, Jay had a whole roll of it in his basement and its tough enough to withstand robot treads.

  Robot Rules

Description of Play

Robots start on the line already but before the Start mark. Operator presses the robots "Go" button/switch and robot starts moving. Judges start counting time when the robot crosses the Start mark on the line.

Robot must have some part of itself covering the line at all times. If the robot wanders off the line, this turn is forfiet. Each robot gets three tries to follow the line to the Stop mark.

The line's path has a few, simple guidelines:

   + It cant come closer than four inches to itself if it doubles back.
   + The exact path will not be revealed until the contest itself
   + A "Start" and "Stop" mark will be on the line but will NOT be made of black tape so robots wont get confused.
   + No turns sharper than a six inch radius will be present anywhere.

Time stops when the robot crosses the Stop mark. Once past the stop mark the trial is over.

Each robot gets three trials, fastest of the three counts and fastest overall score wins.

Robot Rules
+ Timed contest, shortest overall time wins.
   + Maximum Size: 1 foot by 1 foot by 1 foot
   + Must be safe and not destroy or damage the playing field.
   + Tethered 'bots OK. (You may run a cable from your PC to the 'bot to run it.)
   + No human intervention once the robot starts moving.
   + Must sense the line by itself. (ie, assume bad light)
   + May not leave parts behind or fall apart on the field. (much)

Human Rules
+ Bring your own PC, table, chair, tools, etc.
   + Please try not to draw too much power from Jay's garage.


To Jay's House :
10 Riverside Drive
Merrimack NH
(603) 429-3221
Take Exit 11 off of the Everett Turnpike

(from the north)

Take a right at the lights at the end of the exit ramp. Go straight through the lights at the Burger King. You're now on Amherst Road.

(from the south)

Take a left at the lights at the end of the exit ramp. Take a right at the lights at Burger King. You're now on Amherst Road.


Follow Amherst Road approximately 2.5 miles and take a right on to Riverside Drive. My house is the 5th house on the left (#10), has a black mailbox, and is the only house on the road with a stone wall.

If you have a lot of stuff to unload, pull in the driveway and we'll help unload.

Please park on the road in front of my house (you can pull onto the "weeds" a bit, it won't hurt them...).


Like I said, June 8 is the next meeting and since its our contest its at Jay Francics' house instead. (Directions above). Everyone is welcome to come and watch or bring your 'bot and compete if you've come before.

Ok everyone, July is just around the corner and we've got some options:

  XDamon Michels from PRI has offered to arrange a tour of PRI for us, no date is set yet.
  XWe meet in my apt as usual and drink lots of ice water.
  XAdjurn for the summer (July and August) and meet again in September.

In any case I'd like to adjurn for at least one summer month cause its gonna be darned hot here and I think we all deserve a break from building robots all winter long too. Hope to see you June 8 at the Contest!

-John C


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