1981 -- Scanned pictures my parents took in 1981.
1982 -- Scanned pictures my parents took in 1982.
1983 -- Scanned pictures my parents took in 1983.
1984 -- Scanned pictures my parents took in 1984.
1985 -- Scanned pictures my parents took in 1985.
1986 -- Scanned pictures my parents took in 1986.
1987 -- Scanned pictures my parents took in 1987.
1988 -- Scanned pictures my parents took in 1988.
1989 -- Scanned pictures my parents took in 1989.
1990 -- Scanned pictures my parents took in 1990.
1991 -- Scanned pictures my parents took in 1991.
Old Pictures -- I don't even know what these pictures were taken with. I didn't think I had a digital camera back then. But it's possible. That might have been right when Dad gave me that one for Christmas.
Kiki -- Ska Yoyo's and my first robot. She's driven by two god-awfully large (for her scale) stepper motors, which required (if I remember correctly) a minimum of 12 VDC to operate. I think we used the insides of two six-cell battery packs to come up with a half-assed rechargeable 14.4 VDC battery, which we had rigged specially to split into two, so we could use the off-the-shelf charger on each half in turn. The idea was to make her go through a maze, map it out, figure out the shortest route, then go through the maze again taking that path. She would get through the maze occasionally, and we never got completely finished, so we never even worked much on the maze-solving algorithm. We had enough trouble just getting her to go through the maze. Due to the immensity of our stepper motors, she had somewhere between a 1/4" and 1/2" clearance from each tire to the maze wall, which made navigation very difficult. She had three distance sensors (similar to the kind that activate hands-free sinks and stuff), one pointing left, one right, and one forward, which she used to keep herself centered in the maze-hall and figure out which directions were available to her at intersections. She also had a light sensor on her bottom which told her when she crossed a black stripe (indicating an intersection). We learned a lot. She was named after a Denny's waitress I had met that semester who had rainbow colored dreadlocks. The Denny's Kiki eventually became a stripper and disappeared.
Lola -- Lola was our second. We consider them our children. I have custody of them right now, but I probably don't deserve it, because I think I starved them to death. Here's a video of Lola. We learned enough from Kiki to make Lola a huge success. Lola was designed with two IR sensors (the two black stalks on top coated in electrical tape). They're coated in electrical tape because we discovered that IR travels through thin PVC pipe pretty readily. Her chassis was based on a Tyco Fast Traxx radio control car (can't find decent pictures of it anywhere on the internet). Control board is in the black box on top, and is based on a Motorola 68HC11 microcontroller. The target you see Lola chasing after is a radio controlled car that the instructor was controlling, with a ring of IR LEDs around it. At one point in the video, you can see Lola spinning in circles (that's search mode, when she doesn't see anything at all), even though the target is nearby. The problem was actually that a segment of the LEDs on the target were out. Her control pattern was a rough-estimate-proportional scheme; if left sensor was picking up more than right sensor, turn left until they're equal, if they're both equal, go forward as fast as you can. Obviously she's much quicker than the target. There were, I believe, six levels of difference. If left is WAY higher than right, turn hard. If left is only a little higher than right, don't turn real hard, but go fairly fast. If I remember correctly, our catch time for the target was around 9 seconds, and the second best in the class was around 50 seconds. The "latch" mechanism was obviously simple: A hook designed for holding up one of those bars you hang hangers on.