Notes from the October 2005 Meeting

Morning Session

Nifty Websites

Killer Maps
From: Technology Review - 10/2005 - page 54
By: Wade Roush

Consumers stand to benefit tremendously from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!'s competing efforts to turn online maps into browsers that organize information along geographic lines. Google offers a search-and-mapping service, Google Maps, that combines satellite pictures, map dragging capability, and pop-up balloons displaying locations turned up from local queries. Microsoft's MSN Virtual Earth, meanwhile, features satellite photos, pan-and-zoom, and interactive search listings. Yahoo!'s SmartView application lets users highlight points of interest through a series of buttons presented next to a traditional map. Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! have all issued application programming interfaces allowing outside programmers to create online services that exploit the companies' map programs, and the results of location-driven queries - not to mention the precision of contextual ads - are bound to improve as more information is geotagged. One of the biggest advantages of modern online mapping systems is their ability to enable users to overlay their own data on maps. The latest interactive map services were made possible by improvements in hardware processing speed and storage capacity, the emergence of basic mapping-software standards, and database owners' realization that outside access to their information repositories would improve their bottom line.

Technology Review (a magazine by MIT) has a cover story called "Killer Maps" on new Internet mapping technologies highlighting Google Earth. This is an excellent story not only highlighting Google Earth, but also talking about the interfaces (APIs) Google and other mapping tools are creating allowing programmers to customize the maps. This is a long article with lots of examples of how these tools are being used. The first "page" is dedicated to an example of Google Earth being used to plan a trip to Chicago.



RoboNexus 2005

RoboNexus Home Page
RoboNexus Vendors, Sponsors, etc.
M-Bus --- little CAN modules Parallax to CAN, Bluetooth, etc.
Linear actuators - 6 and 9 mm
Reasonably priced computer controlled machine tools
Hobbyist Robot Parts (too many hits to be useful)
Hitech Equipment Corp.

Forth-related Websites

DotQuote - Daily Forth News
CamelForth (version for Rabbit 2000)

Other Websites

Clusty Search Engine
Interesting News Items
Urban Legends

Afternoon Session


Hoopla - Hierarchical Object Oriented Programming Language
Team Phantasm's Hoopla-OR-1 - pdf
"Hoopla Off Road One"
An entry in the 2004 DARPA Grand Challenge

The microcontrollers will be programmed in their native Forth language and the Pentium class machine(s) will be programmed in "Hoopla", a custom programming language with many features not found in other languages, and will be using Linux as a base operating system.

Hoopla is a set of application-specific words (using Forth as a base language) that define an environment that can quickly react to interrupting conditions with predefined decision tables controlling how the vehicle should react to the interrupting conditions. Hoopla basically turns every sensory condition into an action similar to the way in which biological nervous systems react to stimulus such as a pin-prick or a bruising. Combining what might be called the "Best of AI", Hoopla is best described as (1) a set of sensory objects that combine (2) an Artificial Neural Network with (3) predefined methods that take the form of (4) a decision tree/expert system.