robots on a blue table

Riverside Robotics Society monthly meeting

slide of Riverside Robotics Society presentation

Woodcrest Library in Riverside got extra geeky this past weekend, and we of course mean that as a compliment.

When Richard invited me to the monthly meeting of the Riverside Robotics Society , I was eager to tag along. As a total beginner in electronics, I am interested in connecting with hobbyists and experts at all level so I can learn by seeing and by doing.

robots on a blue table

We hit the road around 7:30 a.m. and had time for the 2-hour drive and some breakfast, as the meeting starts at 10. That is, it’s supposed to start at 10. I hear our 10:30 start time yesterday was about par for the course, but it was a pleasant enough way to spend a half hour, meeting a few people and doing a little people-watching, my favorite sport.

Club president John McCarthy ran an efficient and fun meeting once it began. Folks were friendly, and it was a nice mix of guys, young and old, from diverse backgrounds. (I say “guys” deliberately–I was the only woman there, not counting one mom who brought her son and didn’t stick around.)

There were fun features of the meeting, including some nifty videos like this one, about an autonomous plane that can avoid trees at 30mph:

Also, one about a new way to do touch-sensitive inputs.

    Some more fun things:

  • An ice-breaker intro in which folks talked about why they like robots
  • Show-and-tell where people talked about their latest projects or purchases. I want to remember to check out the website of one of the members who presented: Pearson Consulting, pc.gameactive.org
  • A Robot of the Month contest. It only had one entrant this time, but it seems like a fun thing to do, and there is a prize bucket. Some day, I hope to get my hands in the prize bucket.
  • A guest speaker

The guest speaker this time was this guy:

Richard Santana at a table full of robots
CEO Richard Santana of Gears2Robots

Richard talked about Gears2Robots, a STEM education company offering classes and camps to kids and teens in the area. He also showed us some of the equipment they have, including a cool 3-D printer, and the 3-D modeling for a submarine he built from scratch for a competition, even printing many of the components for the computer inside. That’s next-level magic, as far as I’m concerned. I was fascinated and awed.

The meeting went a couple hours, and I thought the length was good. I forgot to ask if they had t-shirts for sale, but I’ll ask next time.

I’m glad I got a chance to take a trip with my dad and enjoy a room full of enthusiastic, smart, friendly people. If you’re near Riverside, California, I recommend you check it out, especially if you’re a girl or woman who wants to help me shift the gender balance of this group.

The Riverside Robotics Society meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month.