May, 2005

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May 23, 2005

Whahooooooowwwwww!!!!! I am sooooo happy! In the wee hours of the morning today, I wrapped up the Calculon’s (that’s the name of our robot) vision system for UCF Robotics! And on top of that, I got a little video that shows “what” Calculon sees (3.2 MB)! We have some videos we recorded of Calculon going around on a little obstacle course (remote control). I ran that through the vision system and saved each frame to a BMP. The vision system averaged about 13 FPS on 360×240 resolution (half NTSC), which is really good. So about a thousand images were generated and then I ran them through a BMP -> AVI converter. I also ran it through Windows Media Encoder to compress it. But man, after 8 months of solid development, it is finally coming together! A good thing too, since competition is about 3 weeks away 😉 Still, I was soooo completely stoked!

Just for those who might not know, Calculon is a wheelchair based autonomous robot. That means that while we can use a wireless joystick to drive it, the goal is for it to be able to drive itself and navigate through an outdoors obstacle course. The obstacle course contains stuff like construction cones, 5 gallon white buckets, spray painted lines, and other stuff. So a vision system is crucial if Calculon is to see buckets and lines and then avoid them (like an intelligent robot). We treat the video as a bunch of frames coming in and process each one individually. Without going into too much detail (I’ll leave that for later), the vision system looks for buckets and orange cones. If it sees one, it colors it yellow so you know what it is looking at. A blue box is also drawn around it so it doesn’t interfere with the line finding. The line finding looks for lines in the rest of the image. If it finds them, it draws over them with red. Super cool, huh?

May 15, 2005

OK, so my wacky parents decided this afternoon to just hop in their car and come visit me…without letting me know in advance. The emailed me on their way saying they were coming. Unfortunately, I was down at the library picking up some new books and then went to Robotics. About 4ish I decided…well, I haven’t checked my email today yet, I might as well go delete some more spam. So I went and checked my email and was like: “Delete. Delete. Delete. Oh, Urgent – Sunday, what’s this? My parents are doing what!” So I hastily emailed them back and it turns out they were just heading back out of town after trying to track me down. So we met up and ate supper and had a good time. I got to give them a tour of the robotics lab, which was nice, too. Oh, and the aerial robotics team did their first test. It is candidate for America’s Funniest Home Videos. I’ll see if I can get a copy and post it tomorrow, it’s hilariously depressing.

May 7, 2005

Today my sister graduates with an AA from IRCC weeks before she graduates from high school. Yep, you heard right, she is graduating from a community college (or junior college as my grandparents like to call it) before high school. How does this magic work? It involves a lot of work and a good school that allows you to dual enroll (both high school and college). If you dual enroll enough, you complete your AA degree. And to top it off, the college graduation is before high school graduate, so you wind up with an AA degree before you have your high school diploma! My thought always was: why bother with high school if you already have your AA? 😉 Anyhow, I’m very proud of her, even if she sweated out those last two math courses (actually I don’t know if she sweated it out, but her family sure did!) Anyhow, congrats!