257: Small Parts Flew Everywhere

Derek Fronek spoke with us about FIRST robotics. His TechHOUNDS (@TechHOUNDS868) team is based in Carmel, Indiana. They won the state competition and placed 5th in the high school FRC championship.

Derek mentioned the roboRIO controller board, TalonSRX speed controller, and the Spark motor controller. Many of these offer deep discounts to FIRST robotics participants.

Check out FirstInspires.org to find a team near you. The game comes out in January but many teams start forming in September.

Derek’s personal website includes his other projects and a way to contact him.

Sparkfun has an autonomous vehicle competition, this is their 10th year.

Elecia wrote a related blog post for Derek, a few notes about media training. 

Music for after you finish the episode

235: Imagine That, Suckers!

We spoke to author Robin Sloan (@robinsloan) about his books and near-future science fiction.

Robin wrote Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore and Sourdough.

Robin’s website is robinsloan.com. Go there for some short stories, sign up for his newsletter and check out his new ‘zine (also at wizard.limo). Oh! Don’t forget his blog, including a description of his neural net for audio generation and for writing.

Some books Robin suggested:

222: Virtual Bunnie

Jonathan Beri (@beriberikix) spoke with us about his double life: Particle.io product manager by day, maker by night (and weekends).

Jonathan wrote a chapter about piDuino5 Mobile Robot Platform in JavaScript Robotics.

Product manager resources from product.careers and Ken Norton's Newsletter. For an alternate take, there is good cartoon about effective product management from Henrik Kniberg.

For getting into open source lines, see the guide from Github. Also, there is a newi-sh consortium, the TODO group, with guides and resources about running open source projects.

There is also the often useful Google's developer documentation style guide.

NerdRage’s video on the chemistry of etching

The Essential Guide to Electronics in Shenzhen by Bunnie Huang

Speaking of Robot Operating System (we did, briefly), IEEE Spectrum had a nice history of ROS.

208: What If You Had a Machine Do It

Elecia gave a talk about machine learning and robotics at the Hackaday July Meetup at SupplyFrame DesignLab (video!) and LA CrashSpace. She gives it again in the podcast while Chris narrates the demos. 

Embedded Patreon

Embedded show #187: Self Driving Arm is the interview with Professor Patrick Pilarski about machine learning and robotics applied to prosthetic limbs.

I have also written more about my machine learning + robot arm on this blog. My code is in github (TyPEpyt).

My machine learning board is Nvidia’s Jetson TX2. The Two Days to a Demo is a good starting point. However, if you are new to machine learning, a better and more thorough introduction is the Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning course on Coursera. To try out machine learning, look at Weka Data Mining Software in Java for getting to know your data and OpenIA Gym for understanding reinforcement learning algorithms

I use the MeArm for my robot arm. For July 2017, the MeArm kit is on sale at the Hackaday store with the 30% off coupon given at the meetup (or in Embedded #207).

Inverse kinematics is a common robotics problem, it took both Wiki and this blog post to give me some understanding.

I wasn't sure about the Law of Cosines before starting to play with this so I made a drawing to imprint it into my brain.

Robot Operating System (ROS) is the publisher-subscriber architecture and simulation system. (I wrote about ROS on this blog.) To learn about ROS, I read O’Reilly’s Programming Robots with ROS and spent a fair about of time looking at the robots on the ROS wiki page.

I am using OpenCV in Python to track the laser. Their official tutorials are an excellent starting point. I recommend Adafruit’s PCA9685 I2C PWM/Servo controller for interfacing the Jetson (or RPi) to the MeArm.

Finally, my talk notes and the Hackaday Poster!

207: I Love My Robot Monkey Head

Professor Ayanna Howard of Georgia Tech joins us to talk about robotics including how androids interact with humans.  Some of her favorite robot include the Darwin, the Nao, and, for home-hacking, the Darwin Mini.

Ayanna has a profile on EngineerGirl.org, a site that lets young women ask questions of women in the engineering profession.

Elecia has been working on a typing robot named Ty, documented on the Embedded.fm blog. It uses a MeArm, on sale in July 2017 at Hackaday.com, with coupon noted in show. (don't use PayPal to check out or you can't apply the coupon). 

Other robots for trying out robots: Lego Mindstorms (lots of books, project ideas, and incredible online tutorials!), Cozmobot, Dash and Dot. Some robotics competition leagues include Vex, Botball, and FIRST