[Chicago] February Meeting

James Snyder jbsnyder at fanplastic.org
Tue Feb 3 19:54:04 CET 2009

So, it sounds like robots are popular :-)  Technically, it might be  
possible to mix all of these talk ideas together, including the OT  
beer talk in the following form:

Using Python to Simultaneously Analyze Data, Make Beer and Conquer the  
World With Fire Breathing Robots

However, I think that might be either a bit convoluted or  
overambitious (though I could make a case for how they all tie  
together).  Instead, what I could do is walk through some examples of  
how to fire up an Arduino with Firmata enabled, do a little bit of  
control and data capture, and then maybe show a demo of something a  
bit more complicated that builds on that (maybe a little robot, or an  
accelerometer-based control for pygame?).  This could provide a simple  
taste for using NumPy and matplotlib (for handling data coming back  
from sensors), and I could give a talk more focused on scientific  
tools the following month.

If people bring their own Arduinos we could have some hands on and  
maybe have people play around with things a little bit.  It's actually  
pretty easy to get started with a python interpreter, pySerial and a  
basic python-firmata module.  This might be one case where having the  
meeting at a bar might be convenient (people could play around with  
things without having to move between the presentation location and a  
bar), though all beverages should maintain a safe minimum distance  
from the electronics.

I'm also still up for doing a Beer talk in the coming months, as well.


On Feb 2, 2009, at 10:34 PM, Garrett Smith wrote:

>> - NumPy, SciPy and matplotlib in general, recent developments or some
>> interesting modules that depend on these.  I could take this in a few
>> directions depending on how many people are familiar with these tools
>> and at what level.
> +1
>> - Controlling and getting data from Arduino (microcontroller) using
>> Python and Firmata. I could do a couple things here, but It'd  
>> probably
>> involve visualizing data collected from sensors in real time (maybe  
>> an
>> accelerometer) and/or controlling some servos.
> +1 if you can build a robot during the talk, +2 if the robot shoots  
> fire in some way

On Feb 3, 2009, at 9:18 AM, Jordan Sherer wrote:
> Definitely. I'll bring mine. I have a couple, so if anybody wants to  
> play with them, we can fire up a couple IDE's and play with the  
> sensors. Maybe we can come up with some new and fun projects.

On Feb 3, 2009, at 9:15 AM, Josh Cronemeyer wrote:
> Hooray for the Arduino + python talk.  I've got an arduino that I  
> should probably do something cool with.  Maybe I can get some ideas.

On Feb 3, 2009, at 9:53 AM, Tim Ottinger wrote:
> I think I'd be interested in *any* of those, but a module review of  
> multiprocessing is the most practical and getting an acellerometer  
> demo with data collection/plotting/etc would be coolest.

James Snyder
Biomedical Engineering
Northwestern University
jbsnyder at fanplastic.org
ph: (847) 644-2322

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