Flat Stanley's Adventures in Illinois and Mexico

Feb. 23, 2009, Saltillo - the CINVESTAV
Dear Caleb,

Today is my first day of teaching at the CINVESTAV. The CINVESTAV is a research institute here in Saltillo, and they have a pretty good robotics group. I'll give three two-hour lectures on the topic of visual servo control (i.e., how to use computer vision to control the motion of a robot), and one extra lecture on my group's research on pursuit-evasion games (the problem of a robot trying to catch another robot who is trying to escape).

I was very proud of Flat Stanley today. He took his place among the many Mexican students, and even though he can't speak any Spanish at all, he was able to make friends with a few of them. And, today Flat Stanley really understood the topic of the lecture (his studying paid off). He understood so well, that today it was Flat Stanley who explained the difficult material to one of the Mexican students. As you can see, Arturo is very happy to have Flat Stanley's help.

After the lecture, we were both pretty hungry (visual servo control always increases my appetite), so we went to a restaurant that serves cabrito. Cabrito is roasted kid (not actual children, but goats). Here is a photo of Flat Stanley outside of the restaurant (the symbol of Mexico is the eagle with the snake), and a photo of the menu, showing the various cuts of meat one could order.

Well, Flat Stanley was pretty curious about how one might cook cabrito, so he asked if we could have a tour of the kitchen. It was pretty impressive. Below is a photo of Flat Stanley with the cook posing in front of some of the meat that is roasting over a fire. In the other photo are giant pots of various things (I'm not sure what they are).

After the tour, we went back to the restaurant, and had a spectacular lunch. The photo on the left shows a view of the dining room. The light fixture in the center is made from actual antlers. It's pretty impressive. Equally impressive is Flat Stanley's massive amount of food - that is a lot of meat for a flat little guy. But he was very hungry after my very long lecture.

After lunch, we headed back to the CINVESTAV, so that Flat Stanley could have a tour of the lab. He does love robots. Here are three photos of Flat Stanley with some of the robots in their lab: a robot arm, a robot helicopter, and another robot arm. After the mischief he created back in my lab in Illinois, you can bet that I kept a close eye on him. I did not want any trouble with the Federales.

After a long day, we went back to the hotel. Flat Stanley was pretty tired, and went to bed. While he was sleeping, I went to the hotel restaurant for dinner, and to prepare for my next lecture. I had a spectacular dinner -- enchiladas with mole (it is pronounced mol-ay) sauce that had almonds in it, along side grilled cheese (not sandwiches, but cheese that had actually been cooked on the grill). It was super.

I hope all is well back in Indiana. I will write more tomorrow.