July 13, 2013

Meeting Date: 
Saturday, July 13, 2013

Robotics Society of Southern CA Meeting 07-13-2013

CSULB Engineering department building, 302

Minutes : Doug


Class : Raspberry Pi GPIO

Bill G (not Bill D from last month) talked about using the Raspberry Pi to control hardware. He talked about using an Arduino with the Raspberry Pi over I2C with the Arduino as a slave. One thing to note is that the Raspberry Pi runs on 3.3V power, and the Arduino Uno runs on 5V power. This means you have to use a level shifter when having the two talk directly using I2C. If you're using the Arduino Due instead, that runs 3.3V and you would not need level shifting. Also, if you use Arduino through the serial/USB, you should be safe.

Here are some links that Bill G used for reference.

Secretary's Notes :

From Bill D :

  • There is a Raspberry Pi magazine called MagPie here. It has a lot of good free content
  • Here's a link from Bill D's talk last month with more GPIO hardware details,
  • Useful Raspberry Pi Commands
startx start the X window server
apt-get update get current version numbers of software
apt-get upgrade upgrade to current software versions
apt-get remove <files> remove a loaded program
apt-get install <files> load a new program
lsusb directory of what is on USB bus
sudo halt shut down / terminate all processes
sudo shutdown -r now reboot
ifconfig display network interface data
raspi-config run the configuration hardware




Business Meeting



Walter mentioned the group's participation at the Inventor's Week "Meet the Makers" event at the Discovery Science Center a couple weeks ago. He said there was a lot of interest from the community and thanked Tim for bringing his animatronics to show.

The Mini Maker Faire is at UC Irvine Saturday Aug 17th 10a - 5p. Contact Walter if you can attend to support the group, and he can help with admission. See their website for upates. http://ocminimakerfaire.wordpress.com/

There is now a YouTube channel for RSSC : http://www.youtube.com/user/RSSCRobotics


Upcoming Classes (11:00 – 12:00)

August - 3D printing by Steven


Upcoming Competitions:

August - Mini-urban challenge, part II. Rules here : http://profmason.com/?p=17795.

September - Soccer skills contest

October - Object tracking skills contest

November - 16oz BattleBots. Follow RFL rules http://botleague.info/doc/RFLTechRegs-2010-final.pdf. Here's a video from the RCX Expo in Long Beach, competition by Prof Mason https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5WRviGu5og

December - Talent Contest



Mini-Urban Challenge


RSSC's first ever mini urban challenge was a success! We had two robots complete the course, as well as the tie-breaker round, successfully.

You can see the rules here : http://profmason.com/?p=17795


1st Place - CPS (Cat Position System)

Prize : BOE-Bot kit donated by Parallax!


2nd Place - Mike Wiz

Prize : Zumo kit, donated by Pololu


3rd Place - Hello Kitty

Prize : TI MSP430 LaunchPad Kit


Entry - Fred




Show and Tell



Unfortunately Jinux has already spent a year in the US and will be heading back to Korea. He has had a great time in the US and wanted to thank the group for their support and the great experiences he had here.

Also, he mentioned that Robotis is working on a new version of the CM-900 board based on user feedback. You can follow progress and see specs on the new board here : http://robotsource.org/bs/bd.php?bt=forum_CM9DeveloperWorld&bt_id=430



Randy is from a company called EarthMake that develops solutions based on LCD screens. Their newest product is arLCD, which integrates and Arduino and LCD. It has built in functions for creating graphical elements such as meters, bar graphs, and other widgets. See more about it here : http://store.earthlcd.com/arLCD



Carl was talking about some of his work on the "Sandbox". It uses Pololu JRK motor controllers for the axes. For his demo unit, he is using a SparkFun joystick shield. You can see more about how it works on his website.


Mr. Lee

Mr. Lee is from the Veteran's Society. He came to mention the Frank and Son Collectible Show, which is in City of Industry. They have special events but are also open twice a week year round. There are many collectibles and hobby items for sale with hundreds of booths present. For more info see:




Mentioned the combatbots.org website. Check it out to compete at the OC Mini Maker Faire.

Mentioned the Fritzing project. It is great for making schematics of your projects such as shown here

Showed a couple videos about the Fritz robotics head, including how Fritz is designed and how Fritz is made.



Tim showed his animatronic black cat. There's a sensor so it will meow and turn its head when someone walks by. Of note was that it uses compressed air, rather than a servo, for the head movement. Tim mentioned that the compressed air mechanism will outlast a servo by a great amount of time.