In honor of National Robotics Week, which was punctuated today in D.C. with a number of meetings organized by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International on Capitol Hill, I would like to mention a few robot-related opportunities at HacDC and in the surrounding area.
1. A few days ago in the The Daily Mail, you may have read about an enterprising young British man who took some beautiful pictures of the Earth from a regular digital camera sent upward by balloon. Well, HacDC is doing something very similar as part of an inter-hackerspace competition called “Hackerspaces in Space” to launch and recover a payload that takes a photograph of the Earth’s horizon. All individuals, including non-members of HacDC, are welcome to participate and assist us, and you can join the “Spaceblimp” mailing list by signing up here.
2. April 24 is Robotfest, a great yearly event at the National Electronics Museum in Linthicum, MD. This year, for the first time, it is an official “Mini-Maker Faire,” a type of event connected to Make Magazine which have become regular Woodstocks for tinkerers, hackers, and roboticists. HacDC will have a table, and we will likely organize carpooling to the event. If you would like to come along, please stay tuned on the listserv. It is a blast and fun for folks of all ages.
3. Today is the start of the national championship for the FIRST robotics competition in Atlanta, Georgia. It can be even watched online through the website. HacDC has a number of friends and members involved as mentors for FIRST, and we can likely lead you in the right direction if you are interested in helping. Also, if you are a FIRST parent or teacher who would like to brush up on your electronics, programming, or mechanical knowledge, HacDC would be a great place to come, ask questions, and absorb.
4. Finally, HacDC is generally an excellent place to learn about robotics. We have a great deal of useful tools and project fodder, and every Monday is “Microcontroller Monday,” a night where anyone can come to chat and learn about the brains behind most robotic systems. We encourage all to stop by and join us.