Let's Make Robots!

chickenparmi's robotic adventures

This blog will contain everything that happens to me and my robotic life. 

I have applied for Mechatronic/Electical/Mechanical Engineering degrees at the UniSA Mawson Lakes campus. My ATAR (school grade point thing) will be released on the 19th of December and depending on those grades, determine wether or not I will be accepted. The maximum ATAR you can possible get is 99.95 for some wierd reason, if my ATAR is 80+ then I am garunteed entry into any of my preferences. My dream jobs would be; Bio-roboticist (creating robotic limb replacements etc., creating intelligent transport systems (cars that are aware of their surronding etc.), designing robotics kits well basically anything involving both electronic, harware and software production. It has also been my dream to move to Japan for as long as I can remember and I would love to be able to move their after my studies and work their or maybe go there as a study abroad option as part of my degree.



Today I attended an open day at the Mawson Lakes campus. Walking into the Mechatronics lab I felt right at home, It was my wonderland. There were motion tracking cameras all over the wall, work stations with huge screens and computers for CAD and software design, tracks on the floor for line following robots, a 3D printer, Arduino's everywhere, awesome chassis for robot platforms, it had the lot. My mum came with me and was appauled by how much she understood what the lecturer was saying, thanks to my endless lessons I give her on everything techy. The lecturer seemed really nice and obviously had a great passion for what he taught, I really admire that. It was a very quick session lasting only half an hour but it really got me excited about the prospect of studying Mechatronics and in all, my future making things. I must admit that being there made me feel a little cocky as I saw some projects being made by final year students that I have already done, being cocky is one of my worst traits when it comes to technology, it is something that I am trying to work on :) For example they were playing around with OpenCV and Processing, making something almost exactly the same as my Arduino face tracking, although I realise that they probably understand it a lot more than I do,  QUOTE "Im just dude playing with magic I don't understand" :) Anyway it was a fun day and I am looking foward to hopefully being able to study there. I think by cockiness I mean confidence, yes, confidence is a much nicer and better looking word. :)



In prepartion for an open inspection of our house tommorow I helped clean the house spotless. One thing that the cleaning involved was me sorting through heaps of my old boxes from our previous move. These boxes were filled with random games/computer parts/cables, I scavenged everything that could be useful and chucked the rest out into the bin. The clearing up of all these boxes revelead a lot of untapped space, space that could be used for important things, like making robots. I pulled an old computer desk out of the garage and decided to make a dedicated robot making area instead of using my computer desk as cramming a breadboard and keyboard on the same area was becoming annoying. I did some more cleaning and moved the desk into my wardrobe and moved my boxes full of tools/scrap/batteries into the wardrobe also. Another adventure into the garage revealed some camping lights that would would be perfect for lighting up my desk for recording videos. A must on a robot building workdesk in Australia is fan, so I got one of them also. One thing that I found that would definetly come in handy is a variable voltage output plug. The device plugs into the 240V wall socket and has the choice of outputting 3/4.5/6/7.5/9/12V and has some nice connectors to make it easy to plug straight into a breadboard or the arduino.

The entrance:

The entrance

The desk:

The desk

The drawers:

The drawers of wonder



I received my ATAR results, 74.45 is the stock mark however I receive 4 bonus points for undertaking harder subjects, bumping it up to 78.45, not as high as I wanted but still competitive. I find out by the 17th whether I will be accpeted into the course, so I am getting very nervous/excited now.

On another note I started a Arduino tutorial series on YouTube a week or two ago and Im really enjoying making them. I have always enjoyed teaching people how to do things and am really enjoying my Arduino, so Arduino tutorials are naturally very enjoyable to make. I have found that I too find out more things about the Arduino Uno as times go on, researching a solidifying what I will cover teaches me things I didn't even know.

My old school friend recently gave me heaps of robot parts from this kit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_Robots, providing me with lots of useful parts. My plan is to reverse engineer all the chips and make them Arduino compatible, attempting to give back the original functionality. Once I get a bit more done I will will make a robot post.



Just found out that I have been offered a place to study Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Mechatronic) at the Mawson Lakes University. I have accepted the offer and will be undertaking the course at the start of Februrary which will last for 4 years. I'm very excited about this and look forward to a potential career in making robots. I was unsure if I would get in as I wasn't in the range of score that I wanted but luckily It was my first preference and the score was good enough for them. Will let you all know when I start and will post pics.


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Make the 1% proud and dumbfound the other 99%.

As for the cockyness (over confidence) - dial it down a notch or two.

If you are alway confident your code will work perfectly first time then you will only know dissapointment when it fails.
If you always expect bugs to pop up in your code then you will only know pleasant surprise when it works perfectly.

Personally, I am always pleasantly surprised because I never expect my prototypes to work.
When they don't work, I have the satisfaction of being 100% correct.


The thing is I dont take dissapointment well. You read on my ultrasonic forum topic that I couldnt get it to work with the tone libarary. I expected that build to be really easy and when it wasn't I tried and tried and tried and am still trying to make the libraries compabitble for others to use. With my over confidence comes an extreme determination to make it work, so I think they kind of balance each other out a bit. 

Crossing fingers for you.

Work hard and learn.
Catch up and overtake.
Push the boundaries.
Create something new.
Make - and have fun.

Engineering rocks!

I need lots of fingers :) One thing about the catch up and over take, If I excel in the first year I can become part ot the acclerated study pathway meaning that instead of the course taking 4 years I can finish it in 3. If I was able to I could complete the course with honours in 4 years. Engineering is the best, espcially when you make cool stuff :)