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October 2008
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corvi [userpic]
That Damn Robot

Thursday we gave a presentation on the Space Robot to third, fourth, and fifth graders at a local magnet school. I was terrified, honestly; kids are scary. But in actuality, it was great. I got to lurk about the periphery, taking pictures, basically invisible.

We took our robot, of course, a cube of gleaming aluminum, with silvery carbon-fiber tanks and graceful steel-gray plumbing. And those ridiculous blue and white webcams. And explained about robots, and robots in space, and our robot in space, and fired the thrusters so the kids could feel the blast of cold air on their palms.

(NASA's gonna love our publicity shots of cute kids caressing the robot, I bet)

We also took with us a couple of robots built from legos: one that negotiates a maze, a line-follower, and one with touch sensors that turns away after bumping into something.

The third-grade class wanted us to program their robot. We did this thing. Well, Robyn and neuro did, while I pretended my photography was very important and Fishy tried to become one with the wall and/or scare off small childred with his most unplayful expression. It was really, really cute.

I need to start coding the image processing for the robot, which will be fun. Image processing is a lot like artificial intelligence - it's about half beautiful theory and graceful algorithms and about half just knowing the tricks of the trade. And half again utter chaos; vision algorithms are notoriously wierd in the real world. Looking forward to it muchly.
(Will be working in C. Much as I'd love to tackle a project this size in lisp, C is a little better suited to jormungandr-sized arrays, and a little faster. Besides, the others know C better. Bit of a pity, that; it feels vaguely like using a poorly tuned guitar when a bandura is available.
Ah, well, we all know of my devotion to latin, sanskrit, dead poetic forms, and lisp. >lovesick sigh<.)


I dearly wish I could've been there to see all that. :)

It was really great. I learned that some kids, especially protogeeks at magnet schools, are not very scary. They did not mob the hapless college students. We were allowed to leave uncooked and totallu alive!

I want all the peectures so I can put 'em up with the rest of the space robot galleries. :)

mmm... lispy goodness

I've finally had an excuse to write lisp code for classes (granted, it's for a languages class, so they didn't have any excuse not to have a few assignments in lisp). Silly algol-oriented college, this is much nicer. And if I hear one more professor expounding on the beatification of java, I'm gonna shoot them.

Have fun algorithmizing!