Jeff Norris from the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab is one of the keynotes at EclipseCon 2010. Jeff is a great speaker and typically has lots of really cool videos of robots in his talk, so I am expecting his keynote to be a highlight of the conference.
Jeff is also a great Eclipse community member. Late last year he approached us about making an even bigger impact on EclipseCon. He wanted to help the Eclipse community promote Eclipse e4 by creating a programming contest that required attendees to use e4 to build a command and control system to drive a real robot.
Fast forward to today and we are announcing the e4-Rover Mars Challenge. Expect something a bit different this year at EclipseCon. In the registration area, we are going to have a LEGO Mindstorm robot setup in an arena that might look a bit like Mars. Thanks to Jeff’s team at NASA, Boris Bokowski and some of the other e4 committers, attendees will be able to drive the robot around a course using a client application written in e4. Participants will collect points for completing the course and compete for high score. Attendees will be encourage to extend and improve the e4 client so it is easier to collect more points and get a higher score. The cool thing is that this will all be controlled by an Equinox server hosted in the cloud on Amazon Web Services.
Of course we also have some very cool prizes. The grand prize winner will get a chance to visit the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in Los Angeles, CA. Jeff and his team have agreed to give a tour of their labs, so it should be a fascinating trip. We will also have some LEGO Mindstorm robots to give out to the winners.
A big thanks to Jeff and the NASA team, plus a number of the e4 committers for creating the contest. This will be a great way to introduce developers to e4.
btw, EclipseCon starts in under 4 weeks so don’t forget to register today.