by Danny Staple

Moving, updates and Styles

At the moment, things on the OrionRobots website have been moving rather slowly. I have had limited time to do any editorial as I have been assembling furniture, and sorting everything out. We also still do not have the internet sorted out at home so I am now maintaining the site from 'net cafes and the local library. Hopefully - normal service will be resumed in a week or so. I have to say though, seeing my website from these computers has made me seriously consider the stylesheet. Some of them had very small screens, low resolution and older browsers.

Events in London

This weeks events in London have also hampered certain efforts. For example, I was meant to collect a signal generator, but the tube lines were restricted so I couldn’t get there. I would like to say that OrionRobots has the victims of these events in mind, and still wholly condemns the perpetrators of these acts. Whatever they were intended to achieve, we are not scared. We are going about our daily business, and London will not be subdued. I remember the Hammersmith Bridge bombing, I remember a number of IRA events - and this may be different in tactics, but to us it is nothing new. I am glad that instead of reactionary knee-jerks, that the government and Muslim groups are working together to route out the extremists.

Signal Generator

Although my homebrew signal generator/amp combination is fine for some work, it is limited at the moment to having only one frequency, and until I find (or buy) the right kind of switch, then I still have to open it up to change the waveform type. Also I have the 10uF capacitors for taking off the DC offset on the outside and I will integrate those.

I attached the power switch with hot glue, which I’ve used for most of the items in the box. However that glue has worn off, and the switch now dangles inside it. I’ll need to use a more permanent glue or find the right sized bolts for it. The professional signal generator I am expecting to collect will make work easier though.


This week I attended a rather interesting meeting/forum in London, known as DorkBotLondon, a spin off of a New York event. It is a gathering of technologists, programmers, hackers, tinkerers and geeks, to show off electronic art presentations and items. It is a very freeform event with “OpenDork” presentations on Work In Progress projects, and live demonstrations of items. There was also beer and cakes. I took a few photos of one of the presentations, and once I will put them on a gallery here.

The event I went to included a man who had created a music/video instrument with a wireless joypad, a wireless camera/microphone, and a Laptop, the software on the laptop used the light in the image to control the video, and feedback/phasing on the mic to control the audio. The joypad controls were used to rotate and shape parameters for the system. There was an interesting presentation of SMS controlled chandeliers, and textile mp3 players for joggers, as well as a person who was talking of an event where sensors were attached to a steam engine to create a music/video show - sadly - he did not have enough footage to give any depth to that presentation.

DorkBotLondon Website

While there, I met with many people interested in doing electronic projects, gadgets and gizmos, some of whom I will link up with further and suggest collaborating with on projects. I will post here if anything like that develops.

New Poll

Finally, I would like today to bring your attention to a new poll (yes that’s it in the bottom right!) we have running, on the use of robotics in education. Please can we get some answers - as we have only had two votes, and I know for a fact that there are more people than that reading. If you think there are other poll questions we should ask, post a comment and let me know!