Package-Off 2012 and a New Class!


Update: here's the UStream link for today's competition. The actual competition will start at 12 PM Mountain Time.


Live broadcasting by Ustream

First off, a quick announcement of an event taking place today! SparkFun has a dedicated packaging crew to get parts ready to be picked and shipped to our wonderful customers. Recently, an idea was put forth to pit the two packaging crews (one from kitting and one from receiving) against each other. The PACKAGE-OFF 2012 will be starting at high noon today, and will involve a game-show style contest between CJ and Alina (receiving), and Arthur and Taylor (kitting). On the line is a sweet trophy, bragging rights, and the losing team's manager will be getting a tattoo. While the event is not open to the public, we will be streaming it live. I will update this post when the feed goes live around 12 PM Mountain Time today.  Game on at 12 on the 12th!

Today, we are also announcing a new class called Enhancing SparkFun's ProtoSnap MiniBot. This class is a sneak-peek at the ProtoSnap MiniBot, a product that has been in development for a while now and is not yet available outside of the class. Michael Margolis, author of the Arduino Cookbook, will be present to show students how to customize it for their project needs.

In this class, you'll explore all kinds of robotics concepts like navigation, obstacle detection, handling sensor data, and more. Specifically, we'll be covering:

  • How to design a project to make it easy to enhance and modify.
  • Using Arduino and a motor controller to bring the robot to life.
  • Adding remote control – using an IR sensor diode and Keychain IR sender.
  • Enabling simple autonomous movement – using a distance sensor (IR) to detect objects directly ahead.
  • Enabling the robot to look around – mounting the distance sensor on a servo and using the distance to objects to determine robot movement.
  • Giving the robot eyes in the back of its head – using an Ultrasonic distance sensor to prevent the robot from backing into an object.
  • Enabling the robot to see the ground – using simple IR sensors for line or edge detection.
  • Soldering and mounting components to the robot

This is a class we are really excited about and think it serves as a great introduction to the world of robotics. Hope to see you there!


Comments 12 comments

  • At first, I thought this said the departments of knitting and receiving. Probably for the LilyPads, you know…

  • One of my scrap boards that I bought ($0.25) was one of these MiniBot PCBs! Thinking that the only useful component for me was the FTDI breakout, I snapped it off and ordered the parts on Mouser to populate it. Still haven’t put that together :(.

    All well. Guess I’ll just have to get one of these robots anyway. There was no way I was going to populate all the components (the uC on the Arduino: fuggedaboutit).

  • Bravo!!

  • Imagine that CJ had some damaged parts? I guess that 2 foot drop from sealing to the box is bad. I was wondering if that 2 foot drop was some sort of drop testing being implemented in the packing department.

  • Will there be a non-live version of the video afterwards?

  • Two separate but equal bits of brilliance! Two questions regarding today’s competition: 1) Since both kitting and receiving are part of packaging, do they have the same (soon-to-bo-tattooed) manager? 2) Will we Sparkfunians around the world get to see the tattoo?!

    • Receiving falls under the Dept. of Inventory umbrella while Kitting is in the Production Dept. Each has a different manager. Mike manages Kitting and TJ oversees Receiving. I think tattoo location is going to be decided by the manager receiving the ink so that decision will likely determine how many ‘round the world get to see the tattoo!


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