[Coladam] for those who attended ADAMcon XIII...

Rich Drushel drushel at apk.net
Sun Sep 30 17:22:53 CEST 2012

     Remember the away mission to CWRU, where you got to build LEGO robots
in the robot lab?  Yesterday I recreated a similar event for a reunion of
my LEGO lab alumni (and other interested CWRU alumni and their families) at
Homecoming.  They started with the same kits, built the same _Johnny Cab_
robot from the same printed plans, ran the same johnnycab.c software on the
same Handy Boards, and in 3 hours, had an obstacle-avoidance contest.

     Six of my course alumni (spanning 1996-2003) returned and built 3 of
the 6 robots.  The other 3 robots were built by kids, grandkids, grandparents,
and a few current CWRU students.

     I had only a month to pull everything together, and sadly almost all
of the materials from the undergraduate course (including 10 kits' worth of
LEGOs, all the spares, most of the robot boards, and all the arena walls)
were discarded without my knowledge by the Electrical Engineering and Computer
Science Department, sometime around 2008.  We used the 6 LEGO kits from my
summer robot course for high school teachers/students, which never left my
possession.  Two of the three MacOS 9 computers were actually used in the
robot lab (including the only surviving one of four original "pizzabox"
Powermac 6100s from the 1st semester of the course, Spring 1995), and I had
one of the Powerbook 5300s available as an emergency backup (fortunately not
needed). I also added a few artifacts from my files, and had a big TV playing
some of the Egg Hunt contest videos (I have all the tapes).

     Needless to say, everyone had a great time, and (from an attendee
perspective) almost everything worked, and I was able to fix quickly the
few things that didn't.  Behind the scenes, and in the week leading up
to the event, however, a much different story  :-S

     One of the LEGO lab alumni is a professional photographer, so he took
some nice pictures in between working on his robot.  He sent me a link to
a Flikr album:


Lots of the stuff should look familiar to those of you who were at ADAMcon
XIII.  There are even some pix of me, and my daughter Elanor.  Ms. Rin was
there too, taking video of the contest, but doesn't seem to be in any of
these photos.  She also was taking photos throughout the morning; I haven't
had a chance to look at these.

     More info about the LEGO robot course is available at the archival


None of the video links work (the server runs WinNT 4.0, which is no longer
safe to put on the network).  BTW, you can see the Sun monitor for the
video server (named "coleco") in one of the above photos.

     *Dr. D.*

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