Event: SparkFun AVC 2015

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SparkFun's Annual Autonomous Vehicle Competition
Saturday June 20th 2015, at SparkFun Headquarters in Niwot Colorado.
(No big project here - except for the Badger Hack Workshop.)

AVC 2015 was fantastic! It looked like the whole staff was happy to be there. I was so glad I went. It was sunny and hot, so if you came a little less prepared than you should have, they were giving away bottled water, sunglasses, suntan lotion, and stickers. The sunglasses saved the day.

Also T-shirts were launched from the rooftop into the crowd.

If you got tired of watching the ground course, you could go to the Combat Bots tent for some robot fight to the death action. Also, ALL of the workshops and factory tours were included in the price of the ticket! ($6US)

Project Logs:

We had so much fun at SparkFun this time and would do it again next year.

  • Makers and Booths

    frankstripod06/22/2015 at 13:40 0 comments

    There were tents, makers and vendors set up.

    Here are some I noticed:

    A DeLorean. In case you had to go back for something you forgot.

    Steam Fest. Now something else I may have to go to.
    Sept 5th and 6th at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, Colorado.

    LulzBot. They had both the LulzBot Mini and the LulzBot TAZ 5 running. I was excited to see them up close. I didn't know filament retracting was so accurate.

    Two Bit Circus (Next 5 pictures.)

    A two story circus hammer and bell game made with an accelerometer and LED strips.

    The biggest track ball I ever seen.

    Photo booth that overlays a famous persons face on yours with face tracking.

    Six player trackball game.

    A huge button game.

    I also got to preview a new game they are developing called Kings with hand held scepters, that can be played with large groups. It wasn't really on display, so I didn't get pictures. Each wobbly scepter has an Intel Edison, an accelerometer, and LEDs. Vibration knocks you out of the game and a laptop networks them together with a scoreboard and dramatic sounds.

    SketchUp. I had an interesting conversation with someone from SketchUp about developing a product with the free version, and also the new Printables for 3D Warehouse that now supports STL files. The catch is that its cloud based, sort of reminds me of Altium's Circuit Maker software (HaD Blog).

    Moog. The Moog Werkstatt-01 synthesizer was there.

    There were tents for eco, agriculture, media and music hacks.

    Food trucks and some others I forgot to mention in all the excitement.

  • Autonomous Ground Course Robot Pictures

    frankstripod06/22/2015 at 13:27 0 comments

    I was able to get a few pictures of the robots. Some of them had frantic owners scrambling to make last minute repairs and software adjustments during the segments of the race, so I did not want to disturb them. All the robot owners I did ask were happy to share.

    This one uses LIDAR!

    This robots owner was dressed like Mario!

    The Ant from

    This one weighs 25lbs and goes 60mph (97Km/h)

    This has mostly recycled parts.

    I didn't believe it the first time, but this one is only prop driven.

  • Videos

    frankstripod06/22/2015 at 13:08 0 comments

    Getting video with my old phone camera through a chain link fence from far away was useless, and the Combat Bot tent was packed. What looked like a DJI Phantom Drone was hovering around getting video of the races, and I was counting on how SparkFun likes to publish videos.

    Thank you SparkFun for the full Ground Course and Combat Bot videos:

    More AVC 2015 course information here:

    Ground Course Pictures:

    Combat Bots Arena:

  • Badger Hack Workshop

    frankstripod06/22/2015 at 12:56 0 comments

    My wife sometimes takes an interest in my hacking, so I start with “when I push the button, the LED blinks,” and she is already asleep. She agreed to go to AVC 2015 with me (both our first time) but what she didn't know was I singed her up for the Badger Hack Workshop!

    It teaches new people how to solder, and is great for kids. She never soldered anything before this, and now has been taught by Matt Johnson and Adam Silva from SparkFun! She actually really enjoyed completing the project, and Matt programmed it for her to scroll “AVC 2015.”

    First Hack!

    Its a good thing she took this well, because I also had to tell her I signed her up for the factory tour and video workshop as well.

    Each complimentary Badger Hack kit contained:

    • 1 BadgerStick - Atmel ATMega328P board
    • 1 AA battery holder
    • 2 AA batteries
    • 1 8x7, 56 LED matrix
    • 3 headers

    The BadgerStick comes with the full support you would expect from SparkFun, with the BadgerHack link for hacking it, playing a game, and learning more, right on the back of the board.

    Her first Hello World is AVC 2015!

  • SparkFun Factory Tour

    frankstripod06/22/2015 at 12:31 0 comments

    Spoiler Alert: Don't look if your planning to visit.

    This looks like a fun place to work at.

    An IoT demo apartment.

  • Gregg’s Super Awesome Video Workshop

    frankstripod06/22/2015 at 12:22 0 comments

    Gregg Barclay manages the video production team for SparkFun. Three to five videos a week are made from this small studio and a Canon 5D.

    The workshop is an introduction of how to make studio production quality video with a low budget, and fast turn around.

  • SparkFun Retail Emporium and Demo Displays

    frankstripod06/22/2015 at 12:11 0 comments

    Spoiler Alert: Don't look if your planning to visit.

    First reflow oven.

    First tech support.

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