If any of the info on this website was useful for your projects or made your head spin with creative ideas, and you would like to share a token of your appreciation- a donation would be massively appreciated!

Your donation will go to my Robotics Fund, straight towards more sensors, actuators, books, and journeys. It takes a lot to continue building these robots, and I’m really thankful of everyone who helps encourage me along the way.



“A wise robot once said to me through Serial.println- that robots teach us about ourselves.”

Inching closer and closer!

The day until I start this awesome adventure is getting closer! I’m flying out on June 22nd morning, and I’ll get there on June 22nd morning! That’s so cool! It’s almost like time warping, except … it isn’t xD

One of the major things that is bugging me is my camera (right now I have the Canon Powershot SD550). I got it a few years ago, so it’s a bit out of date. The Image Stabilization is old, and it’s not as good as it could be. I really want a new camera! I have my heart set on the Canon Powershot SD1100IS. It uses the DiGIC 3 processor! That means I could have it on a higher ISO level, and it wouldn’t be as grainy as on my camera now. Plus, the faces will be in focus! I can never get faces in focus with my camera now. In fact, to take a good photo I have to take at least 10 shots on continuous mode so that it will be in focus, comparable to a DSLR shot, almost. Furthermore, I think I will only have two 2GB cards. Errg! I don’t know how I’m going to do it. Maybe I’ll optimize my settings so that the images will be web quality, but definitely not stellar quality.

Either way, it’s too late to buy it now thanks to my Dad who didn’t want me to order it (even with my OWN money). All of my photos will be horrible quality and blurred. GRR! I won’t have the TIME to worry about making it a great shot. I just want a better point and shoot camera with a waterproof case for this trip! :(

Despite all this whining and cheesing, I’m really excited to go! I did order 3 books for the planes there.

Designing Sociable Robots (by Cynthia Breazeal)
The Emotion Machine (by Marvin Minsky)
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (by Philip C. Jackson, Jr.)

I already started reading some of them! Introduction to Artificial Intelligence is very very very mathematical. I like it a lot, except for the parts where I have to re-read chapters :( But really intriguing. It sort of teaches you a different way to think about AI. As for Designing Sociable Robots, it’s as awesome as I thought it would be! I haven’t exactly started reading The Emotion Machine as I didn’t really adore how it’s written at first glance. It’s sort of like a big FAQ book that can tell a story. However, I look forward to reading it on the planes! It’s probably a really good book, I just didn’t like it at first glance.

I really like Artificial Intelligence 😀 Just the thought of designing something that can process thought and learn is really remarkable to me..

On the plane I’m also going to print out a few Project Euler questions and work on it on paper. That site is REALLY addicting! Not to mention, I’ll have my iPod video saturated with videos (maybe I’ll put Chuck on it ;))! I’ll be listening to Robots podcast and the old Talking Robots podcast! Maybe a few Mugglecasts too. =D

I’m not 100% sure if I will be able to blog while I’m at Stanford. I’m not even sure if I will want to. I can blog anytime when I get home! :) I’ll probably just write in a journal about what happened each day, and then for 3 weeks I’ll post them up here. It will be kind of like re-living the experience, I guess!

Oh yeah, I’m staying a few extra days! I want to see the JPL very badly. =D

With all this said, I’d really like to thank everyone that helped, donated, or bought a Styrobot! This dream wouldn’t have been possible without you guys. ^_^

4 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Mike

    9 years ago

    I’m sure you probably already know about this, but you have to call and arrange the JPL tour in advance. Check out this page for more info:

    Have a great trip!

  • Ron

    9 years ago

    I think you’re better holding off on the new camera. I have a suspicion that you’ll come back with a million project ideas and need that money for parts. :-)

    The Canon Powershots are nice, but you’re always going to be limited by the small lens. There’s only so much light it can gather. When Evelyn got her first Digital SLR (a Rebel XTi) the photos were like night-and-day, maninly because the SLR lenses are bigger and better. Of course, an SLR is a beast to lug around, and is a good deal more expensive (though not as bad as they used to be).

    Wishing you a safe trip. I’m sure you’ll come back needing a vacation. Sensory overload. :-)

  • Erin, the RobotGrrl

    9 years ago

    Thanks Mike! I almost forgot!! Thanks so much!!!

    Thanks for the tip Ron! I am going to hold off, for now. Funny that you brought up the XTi, I’ve wanted an one for ages! I’ll probably never have the chance to get a DSLR though. They cost too much :(

    Thanks for the safe wishes!

  • robodude666

    9 years ago

    I know exactly how you feel. I own a fairly old Canon IXY Digital 500 (Japanese model. The NA name is SD500). This camera can not take a still picture even if its life depended on it. It requires a tripod no matter what you take a picture of. It glares and blurs like no tomorrow.

    Actually dSLRs don’t cost as much as you’d think. The Nikon D40 is an amazing entry level dSLR camera which retails for about $400-500 CAD/USD (I am saving up for one!). The quality is very good for its price and has a lot of settings to mess with. The Nikon D40 is also better than the entry level Canon EOS. It even includes a fairly good lens for its price, while Canon EOSs are generally sold body only + $100-300 for a lens. Also, for a good all purpose camera check out the Nikon CoolPix series. They have a few mid and high-end ones which take very nice shots. Some are dSLR-like for a nice $175-250 price.

    A higher ISO means the camera takes in more light making the photo more clear but creates grainy shots. A high ISO is needed mostly in low-light situations like night shots. When shooting in a well lite room you can get away with a fairly low ISO if 100-400. You can get a few cheap white lights and disable flash. It works rather well and removes most blurring/glaring issues. But a tripod by itself will eliminate most blur issues from what I’ve noticed. Use the timer function so that you don’t move the camera. I noticed that it helps a lot when you are 100% hands off of the camera.


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