I’ll be heading down to San Antonio, Texas next week to attend the Freescale Technology Forum. This year they are hosting a pair of Make It Challenges, the Mechatronics Challenge and the Tower System Challenge. Both are based on the Freescale Tower System board sporting a 32-bit Coldfire microcontroller. The Mechatronics challenge is centered around Freescale’s Tower System Mechatronics Board, and their Mechatronics Robot. The robot is a simple 4 axis walker with onboard 3 axis accelerometer and 12 channel touch sensor.
I’ve been invited to be a judge for the Mechatronics Robot Challenge and will be bringing a large selection of VEX Robotics parts for the contestants to draw from. The other judges for the Mechatronics challenge are Joe Grand and Heather Knight.
Joe Grand is an electrical engineer and president of Grand Idea Studio. He specializes in the invention, design, and licensing of consumer products and modules for electronics hobbyists. Joe grew up during the computer hacker revolution and was a member of the legendary L0pht Heavy Industries. I still have fond memories of downloading and reading txt files from L0pht and other hacker collectives of the day. You may have seen Joe recently on Discovery Channel’s show Prototype This.
Heather Knight is a leader in the field of robotics. She has earned both Bachelors and Masters degrees from MIT and is currently working on her doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute. Her work in the field of socially intelligent robot performances is particularly interesting. You can see more of Heather on her website Marylin Monrobot and on her Twitter feed @HeatherKnight.
If you’re attending the conference please look me up and say hi. I’ll be playing working with the robots in the Make It Challenge lab and checking out some of the robotics and sensor related sessions as I can.
You can hit Freescale’s website for more information about the conference and challenge: FTF Americas 2011