Friday and Saturday we attended the Robotics and Microcontroller Expo put on by Parallax. They did a great job, especially considering the rain we had on Friday. Parallax had tours of their business, demonstrations of the various robotics systems they sell, and even had a soldering class for kids. Our company took the opportunity to speak with all of the enthusiasts who build robots that showed up. We also tried to engage young people by showing them both our products and the instruments we use to design them (oscilloscopes, waveform generators, etc). The robot pictured above was built by a group of students who were high-school aged.
Over the years robotics clubs across the country have created specific contests to challenge robot builders to solve certain puzzles. Competitions occur where people pit robots against robots (really robot designers against other robot designers). One example is the Seattle Robotics Society’s Robo-Magellan competition. Another example is the firefighting robot competition. A variety of of robots designed for these competitions were on display, including some from the Sacramento robotics club, Sacrobotics. The expo Parallax put on wasn’t a competition, but more or less a learning event. There were about 2000 people that registered for the event, and at times it was quite crowded. Our company brought down a dual-axis solar panel controller, and several radio controlled robots to demonstrate our products and engage the attendees.
Below the pictures from the event are some shots of the Joustbot and the Lunchbot. I anticipate another engineer here will be posting images of the dual-axis solar tracker mechanical system to this blog.