Weekly Update 2015 Week 1/2

Welcome to the first UTS Robotics Society weekly update! This is where we go over all the latest happenings at the UTS Robotics Society club room. We’ll hopefully be posting about our latest projects, member projects, workshop details and anything else that might interest our current and future members.

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Meet and Greet

We held our first official meeting this week with the meet and greet for new members. This was an opportunity for all our new members to get to know each other and for us to introduce ourselves to all our new members. It was also a day where the pizza and drinks flowed freely to feed the eager new members. Robots may not need to eat but our human members certainly do!

The meet and greet was a great success and we once again thank everyone for coming along! Hopefully we’ll see a lot of you become frequent visitors to our underground robotics dungeon.

Workshop 1 – Intro to Programming Aftermath

Our very first workshop was held this week. It was a quick little introduction to the world of programming, teaching our new members how to get started with the Java programming language.

We’d be lying if we said everything went smoothly. We had some initial issues with getting the projectors to work, some of the initial lessons were a bit disorganized and we can tell that some parts of the lesson weren’t as engaging as we thought they would be. We have discussed in depth about the issues that arose during the first workshop and we already have plans in motion to address the biggest issues for the next workshop.

We are also still looking for feedback for our workshop system. If you have any feedback for us, please feel free to email us, comment down below, send us snail mail, morse code or whatever suits you fancy. This is a first for us as well so the more feedback we get, the quicker we can address any issues you may have with our workshops. Speaking of which…

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Workshop 2 – Go Go Arduinos!

We’ll take this time to briefly talk about our next workshop. Now that we have covered the basics of programming, it’s time to move on to more interesting endeavors. Specifically, this week we will begin to make use of our Arduino development platform along with our Zumo robot platform.

One bit of feedback we received from our previous workshop was that we should post some content up front so that people can read ahead and be prepared for the workshop. That sounded like such an amazing idea that we will be doing that starting from this workshop!

We have created a brand new resources page on our website filled with various tutorials and videos. For this week’s workshop, you should have a quick gander at the following items on our resource page

http://utsroboticssociety.org/resources/

1) The basic Arduino tutorial series produced by the University of South Florida

You should only need to watch the first 2 or so videos from that series to do most of the things we plan to do at Workshop 2.

2) The Zumo Tutorial Page

If you already have a basic understanding of Arduinos, then reading up on how our Zumo robots work will be very useful. If you don’t understand half the things on the page, don’t worry. The page is annoyingly complex to use and is designed for intermediate+ users of Arduinos. Still if you got a spare minute or two, giving it a read might prove useful.

We also received some feedback about our workshop times. We understand that our previous time slot was a bit awkward for a lot of first year students. To address this, we have created a little poll to see which time slots you would prefer us to use for our workshops. If you could give it a quick vote it would be greatly appreciated. For now thou, assume that Workshop 2 will be held on Wednesday at 4PM. We’ll keep you updated by Tuesday if we push back our start time to Wednesday 5PM or do another time completely.

Arudino Competition 1 – To Infinity and Beyond!

This week’s update is getting a bit long I know but we just have to mention this last thing! As part of our workshop program, we are also going to be running an Arduino/Zumo related competition! This is where you get to test your newly learned skills against your fellow peers in a battle for love, survival and prizes. (Okay maybe not the first two but certainly the last one!).

Each competition will be held over the course of 3 weeks, with members given all 3 weeks to fulfill the mission objectives. At the end of this time period, we will all get together to see who manages to complete the objectives! Extra points will be given for interesting solutions, short code and completing extra bonus objectives.

Our first competition will commence this week and we’ll provide full details about it during this week’s workshop (And right afterwards by email/Facebook/Website for people that couldn’t attend).

Until then, here is a little hint about what the competition will be.

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