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RobotFest2015

Page history last edited by jerry 5 years, 6 months ago

RobotFest2015

 


 

Introduction/Definition/etc

 

Annual mecca to something Geeky, like SubUrbanMade2015 , but proceeded it by now 13 years, afaict.

 

Body

 

So about 7 years ago, I went to HacDC, and was offered a ride to my first RobotFest, along with a RepRap square 3D printer that seemed to have some wires all over the place.  Having been around some of the people who formed, nay, founded HacDC, but most didn't seem to like me, so I wandered elsewhere and wrote up JerrySpaceIdea as a way that I could have one of my own.  A bit egocentric to call it me, but people were dying and they named LMEC after Laurie Mitchell, so why not?

 

Fast Forward, 5 plus years, and I still don't have JerrySpace, a hackerspace for people like me, or maybe call it JurySpace?

 

Getting There

 

Not having a working printer, I created some triptik (tm) like directions and saved as PDF files, but proceeded to leave without really looking at them nor a map.  Having done a commute like that for a while, I thought I'd just "Wing It" (tm)...  Various bicycle groups have directions, but like the online web based route planning, it had about 50 turns in 50 miles and I could not see myself not missing so many turns it would be likely impossible to follow.

 

Checking weather forecast had frost warning in Baltimore, a cold snap after a warm bit...

 

Anyways, I bicycled 50+ miles into the Baltimore Beltway (Interstate695?), saw the hospital my dad died in, IIRC, as a landmark, knew basically where I was, but not really how to get there, after inadvertently circling Halethorpe MARC station on one of the commuter lines, took a turn on Halethorpe Farm or similar, and punted, hopped on a bus, at Patapsco light rail, biked a little further from the airport light rail (20 minute walk said the online stuff) and arrived. Having seen a message or something about needed drones to display, I brought a little micro one that would fit.  I was not well liked, after 50+ miles, doing hopefully more than my 52 years, I must have been a little off...

 

Arrival

 

Maybe around 1 PM, having bicycled 50+ miles, leaving around 5:45 AM, with at least a 20 minute wait at light rail (which had a trail nearby, but not all sections were there...)

 

I paid for my own admission, $7 because I had sunglasses/ transition lenses on, a $1 discount from $8.

 

Breakfast and Lunch

 

I bought food, one of each, a breakfast, a breakfast, and a hot dog, and a soda, about $7 more dollars, and wandered around.  No kid and adult built paper rockets sent up with compressed air this year, Baltimore Node was moving that day, and no flights Drones outside, that might be against the rules, so close to an airport, so wandered inside.

 

Outside, By The Way (BTW), was a tank with remote control that I later heard from the operator weighed about 100 lbs.  Not something that you want running over your feet, nor easy to carry around...  Also, it could go up curbs, nice feature, better than a lot of wheelchairs.  But a little noisy, I think they make rubber tracks, but pitied the people who had to hear that all day long.  I made jokes about putting the tanks to use delivering food....

 

The food section, where I stood and wondered what I would be doing, and let several others go before me while I decided.   I joked with the guy with an engineering related t-shirt, how food could be more engineered, like a personal papusa machine, I heard at a Takoma Park Farmers Market or similar near East West Highway several years ago, that takes about a year to learn....  He and his wife didn't think it was that funny, afaict.

 

I bought another soda, my second of the day and well sugared up...

 

A rather attractive young lady walked around with excess hot dogs and offered them to us at or near the inside drone table and thereabouts, I refused, fearing I would start falling sleep if I ate too much, after all the exercise and early start, claiming jokingly "I had to watch my girlish figure..." or somesuch...

 

Classes

 

Previous years they had a battle bot thing the day before and competition late in the day, or similar timing.  This year they gave an Arduino 101 class, for about $95, reservations and payment made online, including an Arduino or without Arduino version for less, and some things you could plug into it, I skipped it, even if for free, as I wasn't functioning that well after the ride and didn't think I would retain much, be a disruption, etc... I think someone else took my space, IDK.

 

Baggage

 

 

I carried around old Spin Doctor bicycle tools in a molded plastic case for a while, one of the heaviest things I was carrying, besides locks and water, as on the light rail, I had to go to the back of the train, the ramp, according to the African American female conductor was for others, not for me, despite my bad back and disability, which I explained and didn't show ID, I guess the lift part, like buses wears out, so make them lift the bike up the stairs.  She did wait for me, as I asked, to ride scooter type one foot on one side of the bike, people tried blocking me from getting back there, or just in my way, and then two African American fare attendants seemed to hassle me a bit, asking for fare card twice, asking if I was going to be a problem, but then left me alone and yacked away loudly, I said I had headphones, if necessary.  On the bus, I bought a $5 ride all day ticket , without my disabled ID, it would have been less with, had I thought ahead, you see buses require exact change and you don't get change back...  It was only $3.25 and he kept the change or similar...

 

Anyways, the tools got heavy, so I left them outside, near the registration desk, and wandered around.

 

People

 

About the same otherwise, a few organizers and staff looked familiar, and some people from Node were there, one or two, with their own booths 3D printing.

 

There was a green slime/ really green water (left over green beer food dye?), but slime is funnier, that did a  display, like a falling ticker tape, it printed out something,  i don't recall what text was displayed.

 

Someone likely female was nasty to me on the way in, saying they lost people/ tables or something because of me, so I had to spend a lot to make up for it.  According to somewhere online they expected maybe 1000 people. 

 

T Shirt

 

I bought a t-shirt, it was red, and I don't like red, was teased mercilessly for having red hair as a kid,I don't look good in it, and I might be killed for wearing it in my neighborhood.  It was $15 and it had 15 years on it, I knew they had been around for a while, and wrote up a badly worded thing about getting MiniMakerFaire status in SubUrbanMade2015 , probably mentioned in GeeksRule2014  and elsewhere, but they are an original. 

 

Maybe I can change the color of the t shirt, I surmised.  They say it is colorfast, whatever that is, I can't seem to keep laundry the way it is, certainly not the same size, but if there were ever a hackable thing, maybe changing t shirts is one way to do it...

 

Also, anyone says it's Red, and I'll tell them it's Maroon/Burgundy, Moron...

 

 

 

Magazines

 

One table had magazines, Servo http://www.servomagazine.com/ and Nuts and Volts http://www.nutsvolts.com/ of varying issues, including the latest editions, I got about 4 or 5, each a different issue, i.e. only one of each...  Normally $6.50 list price, good to stock up, but heavy to carry on a bike, especially given later...

 

Hope I get to read them, and learn...

 

NEM

 

Hamfests, HamRadio, of which the National Electronics Museum has a display and likely classes for getting a ham radio license, had something similar back in the day, afaict.  I never did that.

 

Heathkit display used to be there.

There is an Enigma Machine in a case.

hand cranked generator to light a light, similar to a dynohub for a bicycle

 

Other interesting things:

 

"An Anti-Artillery Gun as a Lawn Jockey" tm

Radar Antennae around

 

I think I mentioned they should do an exhibit on Radio$hacks contributions to electronics, minus the require a phone number and some nasty sales people, before they went bankrupt, or something.  Still you could get parts with out ordering online, and pay a bit more for them, like 7-11 and expensive food, convenience store(s) has it's price(s)...  Especially in neighborhoods that don't get safe delivery of packages without harassment, lost packages, multiple running around, apartment manglement stealing stuff, etc...

 

 

 

MICA Students

 

MICA students, I call them MECA students, to accentuate the Me Generation, but they were friendly.

One young lady had a camera like thing pointed at the passersby,  so I started talking with her a bit, she demonstrated, it made blocks from your body image, and made a face.   I was worried it was like a TSA body scan and generally don't like my picture taken, (for Patch Adams I only allowed one, mooning, i.e. my best side...) so  started a conversation with someone whom people weren't talking to...  A kid was there, and I left suggesting she allow the kid to dance and see what it produced, and walked on...

 

Kid's Science Projects

 

I talked with another kid, a young man, probably preteen or earlier, in the back of the museum.  He had a submarine that he said a snapping turtle (10 foot? or 10 inch, could be a fish tale) bit part of the sub off...  Another of his displays was about induction, and forced metal rings up a rod.  He spoke information about induction, but I was not following it.  It was his science project, and his parents took a short break.  

Someone later asked me about it, if I understood his explanation, not really, but I was an engineering student, and much older so I'd probably tell people to look it up...

 

I seem to recall my science project was a bunch of wood rectangles or dowels with an electric motor or two, one on each side, like a small barge and trying to get it to move, now thinking the water might mess up the old school electronics, the motor, wires and batteries.  Scale was a problem for me, as was doing things people wanted me to do... Needless to say, I didn't win the science fair...

 

More MICA Students Tables

 

Another exhibit, likely a MICA student, was two bright LED eyed dolls/figurines  one did a little dance based on how close you were too it.   So maybe an Arduino controlling it, and a motion sensor, distance radar/ultrasounding distancing type motioning thingie, like for robots.  It moved it's little almost amputee like legs, one in a kicking type motion, the other not so much, the other doll/figurine/action figure just winked/ blinked bright eye LED lights. Both seemed to be plugged into each of the young ladies laptops, seated next to each other, in the dark back of the museum.

 

 

In a previous year's exhibit had a MLK "I Have A Dream" speech with light strips mouthing the speech.  That was kind of cool, but I don't think I got video of that, maybe.  I gave it to the hosts, if I did, my usual policy, as photo policies, getting signed releases and publishing identifying information is a problem...

 

Suppliers

 

Vendors were there, and I got a catalog from one of them.

 

HackerSpaces

 

UnAllocatedSpace in Severn, MD was there, they had nice t shirts for sale, sorry I didn't buy one.

 

Robotics Teams

 

Some tables of robots, FIRST Robotics, LEGO MindStorms, and other varieties...

Most were full of kids, or summer camp type information, so I gave them a wide berth...

 

R2D2 Club

 

A popular group with the kids, a trash can size robot, larger than most kids of that age, that talks and beeps, even entertaining from one parents perspective, given that they hadn't even seen the movie...

I mentioned something about sound bytes appearing all over the place, maybe they heard the sounds from the radio, tv commercials, stuff in other media, etc...

 

CarrieFishersWishfulDrinkingAtLincoln

 

 

Outside Drone Table

 

A table outside also had drone stuff, with an RC remote simulator and a WinDoze PC that one young kid wanted to play like a video game.  No real harm done, except the remote control can be hundreds, but the kid was too young, I tried saying the object of the game is Not to crash...

 

They had at least one 250 class racer size drone and some other bigger stuff, unfortunately I didn't catch the name of the group, nor take a photo, nor get literature on it.  Maybe it is listed in the exhibitors of the event...

 

 

Silent Auction

 

There was a silent auction outside in the parking lot turned tented area.

I bid on one thing that was not Parallax (mostly BASIC Stamp based, not my fav),

the auction sheet wanted a phone number, I left an email. 

I bid about $50 for a robot kit, someone outbid me quickly. and I was low on funds anyways, needing an eye exam, glasses and already committed to some limited edition but relatively cheap bike coop jerseys...

 

Lowest bid was mentioned on each sheet.   The signup sheet was under the description sheet that threw me for a bit.  Approximate value also mentioned.

Many books were there, different varieties of stuff.

 

A USB to HBridge small board was there, but no one bid. 

A guy showed me what he had and I thought since it wasn't on the table he had taken it, organizers said they had one and others were giving them away.

 

Inside Drone Group

 

Being tired, I sat down behind a drone users group table at an extra seat and let the drone guy take a break to use the bathroom.  It is a group, and I didn't think one person represented the entire group. He was doing aerial photography, and I added FPV to the conversation, probably rudely interrupting the canned speech to get a word in edgewise.

 

FPV racing is where First Person Viewing, and you see what the bird sees trying to go faster than other racers around a likely tree or soft foam course.  I costs about $800 for that multicopter.

I've bought the carbon fibre frame, for a group discounted $120 or so, with extra 350 arms, they are somewhat replaceable, and include a brace. Electronics, motors and FPV camera goggles, etc are still needed and I haven't bought those yet.

 

As mentioned in DroningOnAboutMultiRotors2015  it is an expensive hobby, and something that helped me through winter.  Hopefully, I will get some time and place to fly, and use it productively.

 

Problems

 

Various things didn't seem right on that trip, possibly because I was tired from the 5 plus hour 50+ mile bicycle ride, or the socio-economic climate, given what was learned later in the week...

 

Stalked?

 

I ended up explaining some basic drone stuff to someone who seemed to not like me, and asking me personal questions instead of about Drones.  ARF.  (Assemble correctly then Almost Ready to Fly), BNF (Bind to remote aNd  Fly,  RTF (Ready to Fly).

 

Eye Exam Needed

 

 Other things like an eye exam for my different eyesight have been on hold.  Buying glasses will be fun (sarcasm) , I'm O.K. with bicycling but Moto would be a little fast.  I can see faces, but someone with glasses at a distance with one eye, but not the other...  Not sure what the diopter (Rx) change is going to be like.  Hopefully no eye disease or anything like that...

 

Attacked

 

So I seemed to be verbally attacked there too, late in the event, waiting with the presenter's stuff, around 4 pm, as he went to talk to the museum director, and hooded, questioned, basically the bums' rush.   All sorts of things seemed to be said, mostly repeated intrusive prodding personal questions, and they wanted to look in my backpack, but I refused.

 

 

BWI Airport formerly Friendship Airport?

 

On the way out, at BWI airport a blondish older woman was standing in my way, at a choke point near a map display.  This was after the parking attendant questioned me trying to get to the bus stops, I told the attendant that I was going to the bus, B30 bus to Greenbelt, and eventually saw the trail sign, as I went through, needlessly hassled and sweated, likely to make me tired or regret not spending more money at their hotels, businesses, etc...  Rental bikes, bike share were nearby, and someone was sitting on the grass between the parking lot and the rental bikes. 

 

She wanted me to take her kid, I didn't seem to know the kid, and the lady was getting borderline like nasty, wouldn't move out of the way to let me pass after repeated requests, blocking normal access, trying to create a fight, and I was impatient. 

 

MetroRail Problems

 

To complete the day, someone was taken out of the MetroRail system,  a young guy seemingly European who had been some place with sun, at the BWI airport was helpful, they said that GreenBelt Metro was closed and free shuttle was taking people to College Park.  Finding said shuttle, and waiting also a pain, as taking a bicycle off the rack, and assembling again, and back apart.   The high speed Interstate 295 B30 needs to have bike panniers taken off, lest they catch serious wind, which, like the Chinatown bus in the underside hold to Richmond might break, if done wrong, then carrying too much stuff, unpacked, and more expense.

 

Anyways, a guy with a fixie or similar bike was seated behind me at the end of the train car, and claimed to be a cop, as getting out, trying to go along with someone for safety in the direction of National Airport, said don't follow them, which I wasn't,  I challenged, as he seemed more like a fraud and claimed he had to beat up the helpful guy...

 

 

Bike Tire Slashed?

 

I noticed when picking up my bike after the event, that my tire was sliced.  right where I could see it, locked up.  I had gone over glass coming up Route 1, going too far, and into Elkridge near a BBQ and ice cream place that wasn't open yet a little before 11 am by a fire station, but didn't know if it was the partially broken glass bottle I went over, no flat immediately, so forgot about it...

 

 

Food Trailer Horchata x3

 

And then there was the food truck/trailer around Guilford Lane that goes, maybe towards Bob's BMW along a narrow and hilly road that wasn't far enough north to get to the BWI airport area. 

 

I had to ask for horchata three times, I was so dry biking through that my spit was foamy and landed on my sleeve, instead of going further over my shoulder.  $4 for that and green and white can of coconut water with bits, prices not listed, and most of the cash I had out, but whatever.  Got a menu, which he wanted back, but I kept it, to remember where I was...

 

Other nastiness, and sat and drank it, while some people hanging around seemed to just be loitering and or casing the joint and/or my bike and stuff.  The guy finally preparing the horchata had said there was something special in it.  I mentioned Religious Freedom and they were lapsed Catholics or something.  Some female nasty voice was on the phone or near me, causing problems.  Baltimore was dangerous, there is water in the way, I should have turned before, take 32 (high speed, bikes prohibited). I basically didn't tell people where I was going, that was none of their business, she and/or they were bitchy, you see people with cars can speed ahead and cause problems further up. 

 

Construction and Access Problems

 

I had already run into a construction area, cursed myself for going over to the sidewalk/ trail section only to be met with a construction area.  Further up from Route 1 construction was Ritz camera.  Other stores like Ikea near the DC Beltway, and most stuff was closed, being early AM.  Leaving around 5.45 AM, predawn, and about 45 minutes later than hoped, going through the Pentagon parking lot, trying to get a photo of the sunrise red skyline, but then seeing the no photography signs.    There is a shortcut instead of going all the way around, I took that and up on a bridge.  Maybe take the long way next time.  Even early AM, still rather heavy traffic for a Saturday AM...  Shift change, maybe...

 

But I digress, getting there was half the fun, well, not really.

 

Bragging rights, to someone who challenged me, likely a sneaky punk brat, but not fun.

 

 

Restrictions

 

This year, someone didn't like me doing photographs/ video, so I didn't except a still of my food, to inventory.

 

Links

 

RobotFest.com

 

NutsAndVolts.com

 

ServoMagazine.com

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/04/30/baltimore-is-not-ferguson/

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Baltimore_riots

 

Arduino.cc

 

Conclusion

 

Summary of experience or similar

 

 

So, yeah, I'm in a bad mood, not entirely about the event.

 

Later, I see there was a funeral about someone named Freddie Gray killed by police.  Then rioting.  And Marshall Law declared by the skinny young African American mayor and large older white governor.  Curfew imposed....  Nightly show had fun with the topic, not really considering the number of people hurt, but maybe laughing about it mean less people die in the endz...

 

While I clowned a little while at Light Rail, just wearing a pink nose and maybe making some kid like faces, aside from some smoke blown in my face, those eCig type things, hopefully not drugs, I guess, a little tension, but not a lot.

 

The hatred since Ferguson has been bad.   I look like a cop and kinda act like Forrest Gump, a little rigid in manner, so usually get hatred.  But it's gotten old folks.  I don't like being treated that way.  So stop it.

 

 

Discussion

 

A place for feedback on the page presented

 

What do you think you could build with an Arduino ( http://Arduino.cc )?

Anything artsy fartsy like?

 

How about 3D printing besides weapons?

 

Any other ideas you might have for a science faire type thing with electronics technology?

 

What is the worst you have been treated, where you thought, they don't like my type?

What did you do about it?

 

This seemed to be a few troublemakers, not the whole lot, which I've been at 5 or so before, so I was known, not liked by at least one museum staff, maybe not by "security", or so he called himself, but I didn't see, iirc.

 

Someone wanted me on their board, maybe NEM? or some other non profit around.

 

Could you bicycle 50+ miles?

Would it be worth it to you for something like a electronics tech faire??

 

If someone offered you their kid, would you take them? 

As an adult?

As a teen?

Or in some other pseudo legal capacity?

 

 

License

 

Creative Commons Share and Share Alike, Non Commercial, Non Derivative, for the whole site's contents unless otherwise explicitly stated

 

Page History

 

20150503 Jerry

  • adding stuff, rewording and more typos, checking number of year facts, from 5 years to 7, from t shirt years, 2009 circuit board type lettering with eye volt/multimeter to the current power meter in groin versions...  Artist renditions of robots, not really practicable, tools in arms, nothing connecting that can be seen, no qrcode, etc...
  • Make your own t shirt and print it there, iron on at home might be an option, bring tie dyed or white shirt you tie dye at home later?
  • HackAShirt Day?

 

20150501 Jerry

  • Jerry created this page to dump information about a painful trip, maybe it makes it safer for others, IDK.  Maybe someone(s) said have I written up this event, to which I think I replied, I like to keep somethings to myself.  So attack me and get written up, seems to be most people/ places strategies these days.  Pimping out the disabled lousy writer again are we?  Flash mob that ass****...

 

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