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sthmck
01-13-2011, 11:35 PM
I am pleased to announce that the university I attend will be hosting a robotics competition this march. This competition will be held in Shepherdstown, WV which is approximately an hour from Washington DC and will take place on march 26 and 27. I know that there has been talk in the past about starting up an east coast MW competition and it is my hope that this event will provide an alternative option for those who are unable to make it to robogames. This year will feature Mech Warfare and Fire Fighting events. I am aware that our event is scheduled very close to Robogames and will therefore make it hard for people to attend. For more information you can visit the competition website (http://www.shepherd.edu/cmeweb/srf/). Andrew will be providing the scoring system and the arena is being designed and built by the theater department here on campus. If you have any interest in attending post here and/or email the contact listed on the competition website.

Thanks,
Seth

master_of_robots
01-14-2011, 08:15 AM
Hey, this is great! I live in NC, so the CA/IL competitions would be really far for me to go. Now all I have to do is be ready by March.

georgeecollins
01-14-2011, 12:06 PM
This may sound kind of strange, but it something I have been thinking about a lot lately: Why do we really have to be at robot competitions? Last year at Robogames I did an autonomous combat competition and I met a guy from England who also competed. He was a really nice guy and we exchange contact info.

They did the same sort of competition at Combots in November of last year. I popped him an email to see if he would do it again and of course it isn't really practical for him to fly from England to San Francisco for a two day event. But his robot is autonomous. He knows the rules and he's done it before so he just mailed the robot. I had to charge the batteries, and know the sequence to remove the safety and turn it on by radio. It worked for the price of mailing a 6lb package.

I know that MechWars is a lot more complicated to participate in then that. Walking robots often need adjustment, the communication is imperfect and there is probably a lot of tuning and testing that you do on site. The arenas may not be as well understood so that it is important to see the arena in person. I get that what I am saying isn't presently practical.

But at the heart of MechWars you control your robot remotely. Eventually that could be possible over the internet-- you are part way there with IP cameras. All the problems with needing to be present to set up your robot are problems that may eventually be able to be overcome. And if it were possible, it would be a huge enabler because it would make it cheap for people all over the world to participate. Robots aren't cheap, but they are cheap compared to the price of sending a team from Brazil to San Francisco a few times.

Telepresence is one of the most important developing uses of robotics. Where I work we are starting to set up little carts with laptop screens and cameras so that people can go to meetings at the different studios all over the world. People want to do it, and pay for it, the biggest problem is that it doesn't work that well yet.

DresnerRobotics
01-14-2011, 12:34 PM
This may sound kind of strange, but it something I have been thinking about a lot lately: Why do we really have to be at robot competitions? Last year at Robogames I did an autonomous combat competition and I met a guy from England who also competed. He was a really nice guy and we exchange contact info.

They did the same sort of competition at Combots in November of last year. I popped him an email to see if he would do it again and of course it isn't really practical for him to fly from England to San Francisco for a two day event. But his robot is autonomous. He knows the rules and he's done it before so he just mailed the robot. I had to charge the batteries, and know the sequence to remove the safety and turn it on by radio. It worked for the price of mailing a 6lb package.

I know that MechWars is a lot more complicated to participate in then that. Walking robots often need adjustment, the communication is imperfect and there is probably a lot of tuning and testing that you do on site. The arenas may not be as well understood so that it is important to see the arena in person. I get that what I am saying isn't presently practical.

But at the heart of MechWars you control your robot remotely. Eventually that could be possible over the internet-- you are part way there with IP cameras. All the problems with needing to be present to set up your robot are problems that may eventually be able to be overcome. And if it were possible, it would be a huge enabler because it would make it cheap for people all over the world to participate. Robots aren't cheap, but they are cheap compared to the price of sending a team from Brazil to San Francisco a few times.

Telepresence is one of the most important developing uses of robotics. Where I work we are starting to set up little carts with laptop screens and cameras so that people can go to meetings at the different studios all over the world. People want to do it, and pay for it, the biggest problem is that it doesn't work that well yet.


This has been discussed before, and I actually am really fond of this idea. You nailed it though- infrastructure. In 5-10 years it probably won't be an issue in the slightest, but right now it'd introduce a considerable amount of lag ESPECIALLY given how terrible most Wifi offerings are at convention halls.

jes1510
01-14-2011, 02:30 PM
This is awesome news!

georgeecollins
01-14-2011, 03:42 PM
This has been discussed before, and I actually am really fond of this idea. You nailed it though- infrastructure. In 5-10 years it probably won't be an issue in the slightest, but right now it'd introduce a considerable amount of lag ESPECIALLY given how terrible most Wifi offerings are at convention halls.

Yeah, I didn't mean to take this off on a tangent. It just seems like it would be such a worthy goal. The tech in MechWars is about as good as any I have seen in amateur robotics. If anyone could do this, it would be the guys who do MechWars. It is good that there will be more competitions though.

sthmck
01-20-2011, 06:59 PM
Ok so I have a few updates as well as things I just forgot to mention earlier. The arena should be done by the end of the month. Some of the guys from the theater department who are responsible for building stage props are working on it right now. The whole arena will be able to be broken down into sections for transport, with no section weighing more than 75 pounds. One very cool feature about the arena is that it can be scaled down to different sizes. If we wanted to do a demo at a small event the arena could be broken down into an 8 x 8 or 8 x 16 foot playing field. I am also working on getting the support of the Mass Comm department on campus to see if we can have students shoot some video of the event. We are trying to get both live feed displayed on screen as well as recording for a event DVD.

If any of the people who participated in the previous MW events have any suggestions for improvements, and ways to make this event flow a little better I would love to hear your input.

Also I included some pics of the model of the arena.

sthmck
01-20-2011, 07:08 PM
Yeah, I didn't mean to take this off on a tangent. It just seems like it would be such a worthy goal. The tech in MechWars is about as good as any I have seen in amateur robotics. If anyone could do this, it would be the guys who do MechWars. It is good that there will be more competitions though.

I love reading input from people. I think that this is a great idea and would I look forward to having an event like this. I do realize that traveling to events all over the place can be expensive especially when you are already spending money just building a robot. Having a way to compete without spending tons of money traveling to multiple events each year would be great.

On the other hand one aspect of going to these competitions that I enjoy a great deal is the fact that you get to meet new people, and experience the sub culture in a way that is nearly impossible online. For me going to these events while costly is often an eye opener, that is worth every penny.

elaughlin
01-20-2011, 07:36 PM
1. That model looks really nice, and you guys seem to be putting together a great East Coast competition.

2. I'd like to attend, and its on my schedule so far, if I get my mech completed in time, which it should. But I am not 100% (more like 85% - 90%) able to attend yet. Have to see with work, and closer to the date. Should I register anyways, even if there is a chance I wouldn't be able to make it?

sthmck
01-20-2011, 07:55 PM
Yes I would go ahead and register just in case. We don't have a registration cut off date but it will be helpful for us to have an idea of how many competitors we will have ahead of time.

elaughlin
01-20-2011, 10:11 PM
Aright thanks a lot for getting back.

Another question, are there any train stations close to the campus? I was thinking about taking the train there, if I can't drive.

DresnerRobotics
01-20-2011, 11:08 PM
Aright thanks a lot for getting back.

Another question, are there any train stations close to the campus? I was thinking about taking the train there, if I can't drive.

I can pick you up if you can get within say, 2 hours driving distance. DC is an hour away or so.

sthmck
01-21-2011, 08:58 AM
Aright thanks a lot for getting back.

Another question, are there any train stations close to the campus? I was thinking about taking the train there, if I can't drive.

Where exactly are you located? There is a MARC train that has a stop about 5 miles from shepherdstown. I think that its last stop is at a metro station so if you live in the DC area you could ride the metro there and then jump on the train. It may not be to much fun hauling a robot and all the stuff you are going to need on the metro though.

elaughlin
01-21-2011, 07:49 PM
I can pick you up if you can get within say, 2 hours driving distance. DC is an hour away or so.

I thought you were flying down to the event? But if you are going to have a car there, that would work out quite well. I found Greyhound bus tickets to D.C. for only 16$ roundtrip. I used to go to school in MD so I know my way around the metro stops. I could hop on and go out to Rock Springs, that is the closest to West Virginia, would save about 30 minutes of a drive then. Once again, Tybs is coming through big time for me.

If that doesn't work out then I could always see about the train from D.C. up to Sheperdstown.

So thanks a lot for the info Sthmck and for the offer Tybs. I will register for the event now, and find out about the dates. And let you guys know about it later on.

cire
01-22-2011, 05:52 PM
I might do this, undecided at this point due to my schedule, if it fits in then I'll definitely go though.

sthmck
02-01-2011, 08:55 AM
I might do this, undecided at this point due to my schedule, if it fits in then I'll definitely go though.

It would be great to have you. I'm actually surprised that there is any interest at all considering how close we are scheduled to robogames. It would be great to see you here.

elaughlin
02-02-2011, 08:25 AM
Seth,

Do you guys have an idea of the ending time on Sunday? I am looking at bus tickets now and there were two returning scheduled. 5:45 and 8:15. Would 5:45 be too early to make out of D.C.? Let me know what you think so I can plan accordingly and make it to the games.

Erik

sthmck
02-02-2011, 09:19 PM
The awards ceremony is scheduled for 5 on Sunday so I'm thinking you may want to do the later one. I just went over the event schedule and it looks like it will be finalized tomorrow afternoon. It should be up on the website early next week. We will be running qualifying and demo's for MW on Saturday, with the bracket set up for Sunday afternoon.

sarendt
02-07-2011, 04:41 AM
I wont be able to make it this year, as I will be on another trip that weekend to Ohio and Indiana, but I normally reside in Northern VA, when I'm not in Afghanistan (current LOC :*) I was really excited about this when I first read it as I will be home for a visit during that time, but as mentioned, I will be gone that weekend :*(

Please pencil me in for future events though! If you have any interest in my personal email shot me a PM.

Cheers,
Scott

cire
02-21-2011, 07:20 PM
I might do this, undecided at this point due to my schedule, if it fits in then I'll definitely go though.
I won't be able to attend this, just not enough vacation with all the other robotics related things i'm taking vacation for.

sthmck
02-25-2011, 07:56 AM
For those of you who are more or less located in this area don't worry if you cant make it out to this event. I am more than willing to hold another one sometime this summer. We have a semi permanent residence for our arena so it will stay up until the summer is over. After all the madness of the next two months is over with I will try to figure out a date for a local event. Obviously it wont be an official in the sense that there will be registrations but I think having an informal get together would be fun. While I would like to see as many mechs as possible show up to Shep Robo Fest I realize that it doesn't fit everyones schedule. I wan't to see MW grow and will do what I can to support that growth here on the east coast.

sarendt
02-25-2011, 09:55 PM
Sounds Great sthmck!!

-Scott

sthmck
03-03-2011, 11:58 PM
Hey everyone I just wanted to post an update for anyone that is interested. The arena is almost finished, all that we are waiting for are the buildings. Today we went ahead and set up it up in a empty building on campus to give us something to practice on. I am really impressed with how the whole thing turned out. It is really well built, and can easily be taken apart or put together by 4 people in under an hour. The whole thing could be stuck in a trailer and taken pretty much anywhere with very little problem. I have tons of pictures that I need to upload sometime this weekend. Once the buildings are in I will show some more details.

elaughlin
03-04-2011, 05:44 AM
You are allowed to just go into empty buildings on campus and start putting things together at night?

But looks like nice solid construction to. Definitely would like to see more pics with the buildings in it when its all done.

Can't wait to come there in a few weeks.

sthmck
03-04-2011, 07:32 AM
The building we set up in used to be an old gym. It has been just sitting there empty for about a year now so we figured why not take advantage of it.

Connor
03-04-2011, 01:56 PM
Hey everyone I just wanted to post an update for anyone that is interested. The arena is almost finished, all that we are waiting for are the buildings. Today we went ahead and set up it up in a empty building on campus to give us something to practice on. I am really impressed with how the whole thing turned out. It is really well built, and can easily be taken apart or put together by 4 people in under an hour. The whole thing could be stuck in a trailer and taken pretty much anywhere with very little problem. I have tons of pictures that I need to upload sometime this weekend. Once the buildings are in I will show some more details.


Dude, that's awesome, more pictures!! Inside and out! What did you all use to build that with?

Suggestions we that I came up with last year might be a raised floor, not very high.. A few inches.. Put slits around the perimeter of the arena, and what not, so that the BB's can be swept to the sides and go underneath it. I was even thinking about places around the mini sidewalks for water drains, uses those as slots too so BB's can drop down..

gdubb2
03-04-2011, 02:48 PM
Beautiful arena Seth.. Kudo's to you and your crew..

Wish I could attend.

Gary

sthmck
03-05-2011, 06:34 PM
Thanks guys, I will have more pictures soon. As far as the airsoft bbs are concerned there is a pretty simple solution. All of the wall sections are bolted together with four eyebolts through the uprights. All we have to do is unbolt a section and pull it up a few inches. You can sweep all of the bbs out and then drop it back down.

byi
06-19-2011, 08:43 PM
i heard talk at the competition about maybe doing an event at maker faire new york. what is the status on that? thanks.

sthmck
06-19-2011, 11:27 PM
I am not aware of any discussion at the moment. It has been mentioned and I think that based what happens at the maker faire at the end of the month. I am willing to try to find a way to bring my arena up to New York if we get a spot there.

byi
06-19-2011, 11:56 PM
okay. that would be really great although i'm not sure i would be able to get my new mech ready by then

elaughlin
06-20-2011, 02:25 PM
Yeah Seth, whenever you get the information about East Coast MW, like if the date gets moved up, please post it as soon as possible. I want to go, but I am taking my time to build my mech kind of in order to do it right. So that way I can plan as much as possible for getting it done on time.

AlphaPrime
06-23-2011, 11:29 PM
Probably a silly question, but rather than sweeping is there any reason you couldn't use a small vaccuum cleaner (dust buster, whatever) and just suck them up? That way all you have to do is empty the vaccuum cleaner's bag and there they are. The BBs will likely be as dirty as if they were swept, and this *might* be easier.

Just a thought :)

byi
09-27-2011, 06:50 PM
I can't make it to I-hobby 2011 or robogames 2012. Will there be an event in West Virginia again?

sthmck
09-28-2011, 09:22 AM
Yes there will be an event. Unfortunately we are still working out the details for the actual date, but it will probably be a month before robogames. The competition webpage is not updated yet but you can find information there when it becomes available. I will also post any important information on this thread as well.

Shep RoboFest (http://www.shepherd.edu/cmeweb/srf/)

byi
10-01-2011, 02:50 PM
Ok. Thanks.

byi
01-15-2012, 10:27 PM
The shep robo site says registration is closed. Does that mean registration ended or that it has not started yet?

sthmck
01-29-2012, 07:40 PM
I will have to check and see, as far as I know it hasn't been opened yet. I will post and update on the even within the next few days to let everyone know for sure.

sarendt
02-14-2012, 12:54 PM
Registration is open, I registered as a spectator just now and recieved a confirmation email.

Hope to see some folks there from the Forums, we should have some kind of Button to wear that says were memebers of Trossen's forums.

Andrew are you going this year?

Cheers,
Scott

sthmck
02-14-2012, 10:06 PM
Registration is open, I registered as a spectator just now and recieved a confirmation email.

Hope to see some folks there from the Forums, we should have some kind of Button to wear that says were memebers of Trossen's forums.

Andrew are you going this year?

Cheers,
Scott

Hey Scott looking forward to seeing you there. I dont think a button is going to be necessary, you should be able to recognize Andrew as the big hairy guy and if you want to find me look for the guy with the coolest mech. ;)

elaughlin
02-15-2012, 06:12 AM
Hey Scott looking forward to seeing you there. I dont think a button is going to be necessary, you should be able to recognize Andrew as the big hairy guy and if you want to find me look for the guy with the coolest mech. ;)

But I don't think Ill be there Seth. So why would he look for the coolest one to find you. You can't hang around mine if I am still at home.

sarendt
02-15-2012, 01:01 PM
I will be there with this really cool three foot tall thing I made, it walks and talks and everything... If only I could get it to be quiet long enough to build a robot now :*)

DresnerRobotics
02-15-2012, 01:52 PM
I will be there with this really cool three foot tall thing I made, it walks and talks and everything... If only I could get it to be quiet long enough to build a robot now :*)

Have you signed it up for Robotshop's cloud/app robot service yet? For the low price of $99, you too can talk to your roomba via terminal session!