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Play With Robots at The San Francisco Java March Meeting

  • Mar 3, 2008 · 6:30 PM
  • This location is no longer available

Who says that Java can only be used for serious "enterprise"-level development that most of us do 9-to-5 (or is it 9-to-9) every day? Here's a little something for you out of the blue! Shawn Silverman offered to do an informal 2-3 hour seminar on Embedded Java and Robotics where we would get to play with Shawn's
TrackBots by executing our Java control code in the bots' embedded VMs. I know what some of you are thinking. Most of us are still stuck in the world of Java EE, so how can we possibly benefit from learning about embedded Java? But, hey, who can really say no to playing with robots?!?! It's like
Lego Mindstorm, only way cooler! On top of it, Embedded Java is poised to explode with Google's
Android platform and
Blu Ray players (as some examples), so I'm sure we'd all love to learn more about it. This is what Shawn says about this event: This Embedded Java and Robotics seminar will utilize a real embedded Java device to control real physical robots (
TrackBot). You will be programming a small device containing an embedded Java Virtual Machine to communicate with a robot having a standard serial interface. The robot has two motors on two tracks and a collection of eight infrared sensors which provide beaconing and obstacle avoidance. The embedded Java device is a
SunSPOT, a CLDC-capable wireless and battery powered platform. For those not taking a turn using the physical robots, there is a simulator based on the Greenfoot environment which can be used to test the same code as on the robot. As you might have guessed, the idea is to write code that runs on robots (or the simulator). You don't have to participate with the hands-on part of the presentation, but you'll have more fun if you do. Of course, that means that you need to be proficient with Java, and it helps if you want to bring your own laptop. Marakana will be providing our own computers for those without laptops and as before you won't go home hungry or thirsty :-) A little bit about Shawn: Shawn Silverman has been using Java since 1996, and is currently working with Embedded Java. He has a Master's of Science in Electrical Engineering, and his speciality is Power Systems. Shawn is a member of IEEE and is a seasoned presenter, having given seminars on such topics as Embedded Wireless, and undergraduate courses at the University of Manitoba. He currently works with robotics and swipe card systems, and develops firmware for interfacing with a variety of hardware and communication protocols. His recent projects include an embedded web server and Servlet container for small Java-capable devices including cell phones, and a graphics framework for colour LCD's.
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  • A former member
    A former member

    An excellent presentation. Very informative, and fun (allowing the participants to take an active role.

    March 5, 2008

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks Shawn for the presentation. It was very interesting. I left a little early, but that is no reflection on the quality of the event. I wasn't prepared when I walked in because it wasn't clear I was supposed to do anything besides download the zip. Next time I will pay more attention. Later in the evening, I spent a couple hours goofing off with the API. I put the individual robots on their own timeline (via a hack of course). It was very interesting. Something that I will follow-up on.

    March 4, 2008

  • A former member
    A former member

    Engrossing topic, interesting speaker, and ROBOTS! What more could you ask for?!

    March 4, 2008

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was an excellent meetup. We had 20+ people show up and 2 robots. Everyone got to program them. It was a blast!

    March 4, 2008

  • Aleksandar G.

    Shawn rocks! I finally got to see what the world of embedded Java looks like. I'm definitely thinking that we should have at least a couple of more sessions on robots-gulp-Java subject!

    March 4, 2008

  • Shawn

    Thanks go to the attendees and to Marakana for making this a fun seminar.

    March 4, 2008

  • A former member
    A former member

    The topic was interesting and the guys did a good job preparing the computers with all the software required. The only flaw was the lack of a modern IDE - I spent some time getting Eclipse to work, after that everything was smooth (I used to rely on Javadocs for APIs when I started using Java, but that was more 10 years ago. Code-completion is a must nowadays, even Emacs with JDEE provides that :-).

    March 3, 2008

  • A former member
    A former member

    Presenter was disorganized, not good in front of crowds

    March 3, 2008

  • A former member
    A former member

    That was really fun. Playing with robots can never be bad.

    March 3, 2008

  • Eric F.

    In case anyone forgot, the Mars Rover used a lot of java. Here's a QnA with Gosling on it:
    http://www.sun.com/aboutsun/media/features/mars.html

    March 3, 2008

  • Dragisa K.

    I hope there is going to be a comp I can use. I won't be able to bring my laptop.

    March 3, 2008

22 went

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