Sunday, November 09, 2014

FIRST Robotics Competition Visit

Today R2 was invited by my former coworker Antonio to come down to Chula Vista, CA (about 100 miles south of where I live, near the Mexican border) to help cheer on the FIRST Robotics team he is helping coach, Game of Gears.



The kids were excited to have him there!



Once we got indoors, all twelve competing teams wanted to take pictures with R2. One tike even drew R2 a portrait.





The competition got under way. The total score is based on execution of the robot, as well as interviews with the teams on subjects such as team building.




Once the competition was over, it was time for the judges to tally the scores and declare a champion. And the winning team was... Game of Gears!




Congratulations to them! They now move onto the regional competition, to be held at Legoland in Carlsbad, CA next month. Good luck team!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Orange Public Library Presentation 2014

Today R2 and I joined Mike Senna and WALL•E for our presentation on droid engineering at the City of Orange Public Library, in Orange, CA.



Mike had another commitment with his robots later in the day, so he presented first and then had to take off. Mike explained the details of his WALL•E build and his philosophy to building in general. Mike took questions before he had to go.




Next, I presented on the R2 Builders club, and how I did my R2 build. I also demonstrated how to use and program the Arduino system, and showed a video of my droid's arm-wave from this past Fourth of July parade. I wrapped up with questions and answers.





The presentation was very well received, and we hope to be back again next year.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

All About that Base with Team Unicorn

Back on October 20, 2014 my droid joined several other Star Wars characters for the spoof video shoot of All About that Base with Team Unicorn. Given how little we shot with R2, I wasn't surprised that he only has about 2 seconds of screen time.

Here's the video:



The shoot took place at the Nerdist studios in Burbank, CA. Team Unicorn consists of members Rileah Vanderbilt, Clare Grant, Milynn Sarley and Alison Haislip.



I was running early, so I did what any sensible person would do... stopped for donuts.



I arrived at the studio around 10:30am, although shooting wasn't scheduled to start until 12:30pm or so. Chris Romines brought R2-A1, and Gordon Tarpley was acting as C-3PO, with Michael McMaster helping.



There is a lot of downtime between shooting.



Derek Mazer was the Royal Guard. In the video, they composited him in triplicate at times.



Gordon looked good as C-3PO!




Next was the segment with R2-D2 and R2-A1. We only shot a few seconds worth of material, and as seen in the video, only a couple seconds of that made the final cut. We were also worried the droids would do harm to the green-screen sheet on the floor, but it survived fine. Also, Chris' droid had to be "de-glossed" with hair spray to take some of the reflection off of it, so that it would not reflect green as well.




Stormtroopers were next!



Followed by the Emperor.



Chris' droid retook the set with Leanna.



A little more goofing around, and we wrapped up! It was a fun day and a fun shoot.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Henry's Minivan Project Fundraiser

Henry Smith is a 9 year old boy who has Duchene Muscular Dystrophy (it doesn't end well). He is unable to walk due to a fall from school. His family has unending medical bills, financial hardship and unreliable means of transportation. Henry's MiniVan Project is to get a wheelchair-accessible van to ease Henry's transportation.

R2 and I came out today to help support the cause, along with Lori, Kit and Trevor Sovine of the 501st and Rebel Legion.



The event took place at Fender Center in the city of Corona, CA. Fender Center does indeed display many Fender guitars. The whole indoor and outdoor area had a carnival atmosphere, all set up to raise funds for the wheelchair-accessible minivan.






For a small donation with all proceeds going toward the minivan, attendees could have their picture taken with the Star Wars characters.






It was a good day, and for a good cause.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Comikaze Expo 2014 - Day 2

Today R2 returned to Comikaze Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center, to help represent the R2 Builders Club, and have some fun doing it. Today was a lot more crowded than yesterday. I was told they expected a crowd of 60,000.



When we arrived, we learned that we narrowly missed having a leaking roof saturate our droids overnight, during the first rainfall in Southern California in many months. We evacuated the droids from the booth as a trashcan caught the drops.




One the convention started, Stan Lee took the main stage nearby. He's very funny and entertaining!



Droid Shaming, as Michael McMaster does some repairs to the servo motor in his WALL•E's neck. But he and Mike Senna got it working sufficiently in no time.



Gordon Tarpley brought his awesome C-3PO/R2-D2 leg lamp for us to display on our table. Love that thing! FragĂ­le!



Once again, WALL•E brings someone to tears. Possibly because he ran over her toe.



I don't like the look of this...



This one looks a little less threatening.



Baby R2!



Gordon Tarpley suited up as C-3PO and paired up with my R2. Instant popularity as we roamed the show floor!





Even with Jeannie, Barbara Eden!



We wrapped up with an attempted group picture.



Comikaze Expo continues tomorrow, but I won't be there, as my droid has another important mission to attend to. More on that soon.