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So, how was the meeting?

Proceedings of the San Francisco

Robotics Society of America (SFRSA)

Monthly Meeting at the Exploratorium

Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception

By Cliff Thompson

(email: clifftrobot@home.net)

2 - July - 1997


SFRSA President Kevin Fahl noted:

SFRSA Newsletter Editor Win Williams noted he has landed a job with a robotics company. The Berkeley, CA firm, called ENDOROBOTICS, is one of the new breed of high-tech "academic technology transfer" startups beginning to appear. Run by a University of California at Berkeley Professor and two grad students, the company aims to get University technology into the marketplace. Win will be working on two exciting project technologies that the company is developing. The first is a miniature finger-sized surgical robot that is a 7 degree-of-freedom, pitch/yaw joint gripper system. The system excels at small incremental movement operable by an IMMERSION SYSTEMS brand joystick, and utilizes motors that are both servo and hydraulic. The second project involves building tiny machines utilizing IC circuit fabrication techniques, (...wow, does this ever suggest the robot evolutionary species "decibot...centibot...millibot...microbot...nanobot"!). Congratulation s, Win, what a cool gig!

Member Jackie Santos mentioned he was building a "chaotic oscillator from odd-valued capacitors" and had heard of a business with items of interest to the roboticist called the "Small Parts Company".

I had a few items of interest:


GP-97 Web Site

Just for fun, and as threatened in an earlier column, I decided to inflict the both awesome and terrifying power of modern computer artificial intelligence upon the SFRSA-related text in ROBOTER, to see if I could get the computer to translate the German text into English. To this end I performed the following operations:

  1. Lay the book ROBOTER, open to the appropriate pages, on the HP ScanJet scanner and scan in the pages as graphic images.
  2. Use XEROX PAGIS PRO 97 Optical Character Recognition software with Foreign Language Pack installed to convert the scanned pages into editable text, and invoke the Language Pack to handle the German alphabet.
  3. Use EASY TRANSLATOR software with "German-to-English" selected to translate the German into English.
  4. Run a TEXT-To-SPEECH Utility on what survived from the numerous conversions and translations, and read the result using a synthesized computer voice.

The result could also be described by the phrase "both awesome and terrifying". The unique grammatical geometry and phrasing of the English, peppered with untranslated German words, evokes a new kind of cyber-poetry from the future. Similarly, reading and listening to the text suggests a science fiction fantasy that conjures visions of robotic entities from higher dimensions evolving into new forms and periodically issuing progress reports by transmitting ether-o-gram communiqués in a new hybrid human-machine language called "robot-speek". I have included pictures and sample text from the experiment, (arranged in a 2 column table with German/English on the left/right), at the end of this column in the "Special Report" section.



SFRSA Vice President Ed Severinghaus brought in and demonstrated his 68HC11 Development System. Though the system drives Ed’s other project, the "Body Synth Muscle Music" product, Ed set it up tonight to drive a 2X40 Alpha Display. The system plugs into a PC and has a built-in Forth Interpreter. A breakdown of the system’s circuitry follows, as shown in the photo below:

Right side: 2X40 Alpha Display

Left side:

-Top: Body Synth 10-key Keypad and circuitry to handle input signal A/D conversion, with demultiplex done in software

-Middle: Microprocessor module, 32K ROM, 24K RAM

-Bottom: Auxiliary RS232 with 5V. Power Supply

Ed’s 68HC11 System overview


Ed’s System, left side top detail

Ed’s System, left side middle detail

Ed’s System, left side bottom detail

Ed’s System, right side detail


Member Bob Thille, also a member of HOMEBREW ROBOTICS CLUB (HBRC), announced he has started building a robot under the auspices and guidance of a new Special Interest Group (SIG) formed by HBRC to help members build robots. The group recently bought up a bunch of economically priced Base Platform Motor and Gear Box units, which units had earlier been announced at a recent SFRSA Meeting and reported in this Newsletter. Bob brought in his work-in-progress, which features a Base Platform fashioned from a mobile cart purchased from Orchard Supply Hardware. The next step for the SIG members is to come up with custom H-Bridges and work with a Canadian firm to create the circuit boards. An economic goal of the project is to keep the cost of the robot, including computer and power supply, to under $100. The new SIG and it’s projects are described on the HBRC Web Site at http://www.augiedoggie.com/HBRC/sig.html.


Bob’s Robot Base & Motor Gear Box







ROBOTER Book references to SFRSA













Gero von Randow





Gero von Randow




Tell 1: Erste Begegnungen

ERSTES KAPITEL: In Fuhlung mit der Robotik 21

ZWEITES KAPITEL: Was ist das, em Roboter? 40

DRITTES KAPITEL: Die Welt in der Hand 53

Tell 2: Anatomle und Beweglichkeit

VIERTES KAPITEL: Glieder und Gelenke


SECHSTES KAPITEL: K~einstroboter

SIEBTES KAPITEL: Ko 'per in Bewegung

Tell 3: Walirnehmung

ACRTES KAPITEL: Em Baukasten der Sinne

NEUNTES KAPITEL: Die Sich~ der Dinge 150

Tell 4: Vom Ko~~rper zum Geist

ZEHNTES KAPITEL: Kybernetische We sen 181

ELFTES KAPITEL: Wege durch die Welt 212

ZWOLFTES KAPITEL: Geist aus der Maschine 243

Tell 5: Arbelt und Krleg

DREIZEHNTES KAPITEL: Industrieroboter 259

VIERZEHNTES KAPITEL: Serviceroboter 268

FtiNEZEHNTES KAPITEL: Gelanderoboter 276

Tell 6: EvolutIon und Ethlk

SECHZEIINTES KAPITEL: Menscli und Maschine 299

SIEBZEHNTES KAPITEL: Robotergemeinschaften 308

ACHTZEHNTES KAPITEL: Verseibstandigung 324

[ENGLISH - in "High Robot-Speek"]



Gero von Randow




Tell 1: first encounters

FIRST CHAPTER: in Fuhlung with the Robotik

SECOND CHAPTER: what is that, em robot?

THIRD CHAPTER: the world in the hand

Tell 2: Anatomle and mobility

FOURTH CHAPTER: members and joints


SIXTH CHAPTER: Kßeinstroboter

SEVENTH CHAPTER: Ko 'per in movement

Tell 3: Walirnehmung

ACRTES CHAPTER: Em module of the senses

NINTH CHAPTER: the Sichß of the things

Tell 4: of the Koßßrper to the intellect

TENTH CHAPTER: Kybernetische We sen

ELEVENTH CHAPTER: ways through the world

ZWOLFTES CHAPTER: intellect out of the machine

Tell 5: Arbelt and Krleg

THIRTEENTH CHAPTER: industry robot


FtiNEZEHNTES CHAPTER: Gelanderoboter

Tell 6: EvolutIon and Ethlk

SECHZEIINTES CHAPTER: Menscli and machine

SEVENTEENTH CHAPTER: robot partnerships

EIGHTEENTH CHAPTER: Verseibstandigung





Also in the anschlieBenden Finale, schileBlich wins would laugh climb theraw Ge-walt, and just as in the collective Abschlu13kamp {fur that including-yet intact Gladiatoren jointly into the ring. The matter is nut of kutzet duration. Beast sweeps all in-page what comes it into the Quete «like em gedoptet Staubsau-get», hei13t it in Robots'.




(From ROBOTER Bibliography)



Nicholls, H. R.. Lee, M. H., A Survey of Robot Tactile Sensing Technology, in The Jnternationaljournaloj Robotics Research, Bd. 8. Nr 3. Juni t989.

NN, Defense officials con~idering military robotics' future; in Military Robotics, Nov 17.1995, Bd 9, Nr. 21.

NN. Russian robot history is outlined at meeting; in: Military Robotics, 22 Marzl995.Bd.9

Ogando. J , New general-putpose robots are easier to program. in. Plastics Technology.8/1995,Bd 41,S 15

Oilier, J L , Mercier, 0. Some perspectives in Nuclear Robotics, in atomwirtschaft/atomtechnik, 1 1 1992. S. 32 ff.

Pai, D K. Ct al . Platonic Beasts, Spherically Symmetric Multilimbed Robots, in Autonomous Robots, Nr. 2, 1995, 5. 191ff.

Pellerin. C ,Service Robot~' Cleaning up in the 1990s; in: Industrial Robots, Bd 20, Nr. 5, 1993,S 18ff

Pugh, D R Ct al . Technical Description of the Adaptive Suspension Vehicle; in The International Journal of Robotics Research; Bd. 9, Nr 2, Apr 1990, 5 24ff

Rampersad. H K , State of the art in robotic assembly; in: Industrial Robot, Bd.22.Nr 2.1995.S 10ff

Rosheim. M E , Robot Evolution The Development of Anthrobotics, New York (New York, USA) 199

Schmidt. R. F (Hrsg ), Grundn)1 der Sinnesphysiologie, Berlin 1985

Schneider, R. T., Automate with air' a primer on pneumatic grippers; in Hydraulics & Pneumatics, 5/1995. Bd 48, S. 25ff.

Schneider, R T ; Meanwhile, out at the end of the arm (end effectors for pick-and-place robotic arms), in Hydraulics & Pneumatics. 7/1995, Bd 48,S.40

Schraft, R D ; Volz, H , Serviceroboter, Berlin 1996

Shaker, S W ; Wise, A R ; War without men robots on the future battlefield, Washington 1988

Shimoyama, 1. et al , Insect-Like Microrobots with External Skeletons; in IEEE Control System~, Feb 1993, 5 37ff

Shukman, D , Tomorrow's War' The Threat of High-Technology Weapons, New York 1996

Siegert, H. J , Bocionek, S , Robotik Pro grammierung intelligenter Roboter, Berlin/Heidelberg/New York 1996

Theraulaz, G , Bonabeau, E ; Coordination in Distributed Building, in Sctence.Bd.269,4.8 1995,S 686f

Thompson, C , Sumo Sunday; in: Robots', Okt 1995,S 1ff

Thornton, F ; Goodbye, Mr Chips; in Far Eastern Economic Review, 21.3 1996, S.48ff

Turkle. S.. Die Wunschmasrhine Vom Entstehen der Computerkultur; Reinbek 1984