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Re: A pleasant surprise

On Thu, Dec 23, 1999 at 10:31:00PM -0500, Joyce Poon wrote:
> I'm just as bad as Tim... I've been doing school-related stuff.  But it
> was a total accident! 

:-)  Incidentally, sorry I missed you (Joyce) on skule.ecf.  I heard the
little beep signifying that something wanted my attention but assumed
it was because a program I had been compiling had just finished
compiling...  Incidentally * 2, talk(1) now works on skule.  It's
easier to use than write(1).  Eg. "talk vanderh" and then it would
have kept on beeping until I heard you (or did a "mesg n" to make you
shut-up...  ;-).

> American but the prices quoted are in Cdn $); the catalogue is just a good
> reference guide. 

Yes, that is actually quite useful, imho.

> Some bad news -- sensor range of most IR detectors are only
> about 5 mm.  That's right -- millimeters.  We don't want that stuff at

LOL.  :)

> If we use photodiodes, I think we may be able to figure out the distance
> of the enemy robot by the amount of current that passes through a diode. 

If you can do it, that would make me reasonably happy (although there
are other things I rank higher on the desirability list...speed
feedback is the big one).

> They also sell laser (visible and IR) emitters and detectors (though they
> are quite expensive).  We've never really considered laser before either. 

Hmm...  Lasers travel in straight lines...  Well, really straight
lines...  I'm sure there are creative ways to take advantage of
this...  I'll sleep on this thought...  :)

> B) Feedback System 
> There are also tachometers (I think it's $100+).  But

My understanding is that all real tachs are expensive and are also far
more accurate than is required for our application.  I don't know what
level of quantitative accuracy is required for our application.  I'll
need to consider this over the next ~week as I think about algorithms
to use...

> there is something called an accelerometer which costs about $30.  I
> wonder if we can use that.  There are also different types of pressure
> sensors (for bumper sensors). 

I'm not familiar with "accelerometer"s ??

I think it's probably cheapest and maybe even easiest to make our
own pressure sensors.  A couple springs and you're set.  You can
imagine a simple spring system that could even register variable
pressure (easiest to discuss this with the aid of a whiteboard).

> C) Computer System 
> I don't know what is actually required.  But as I mentioned before, there
> is a wide variety comp stuff like FPGAs, EPROMs etc. 

I suspect that Malone supplies most of what we could want for comp,
since he supplies the 6502s.

Of course, I'd be embarrassed to mention to any potential employer
that I've programmed for 6502s, but that's another matter...  ;-)

> Again, lots of flexibility here.  There are also all sorts of battery
> holders, surge suppressors, switches (toggle,rotary, so many different
> types!) etc. 

FWIW, I can get nice Duracell AA batteries for 33 cents each, plus tax.  :)

I hope we won't need a surge supressor.  ;-)

> I think I will stop.  There is too much information.  The catalogue is so
> neat!  I feel so bubbly... hehe ;) 
> Do not feel obliged to reply to this email.  Go relax and have fun. 

Since July 1, 1998, I have sent an average of > 3 emails per day.  During
some months it was probably several times that amount.  I don't think
that this one will be a problem in the grand scheme of things.  :-)

> PS Cindy will really hate us now...

Signature withheld by request of author.