Archive for the ‘Fun Stuff’ Category
Not exactly a robot. Awesome nonetheless.
That is all.
Watch the video.
Stop reading this.
Now. I mean it.
Simple modular development kits have been somewhat of a unicorn in the safari of hobby electronics offerings. Many have tried, but to date there have been no break away success story yet. B-Squares is a new contender in the running and they are adding solar power to the mix along with an Ipod dock and an attractive form factor.
Previously we had Buglabs take a shot at this genre of product and it appears that they are still around, but it is unclear how long they will stay with $699 to $1,500 (!!!) price tags. It is hard to imagine anyone who wants to tinker with blocks having that kind of cash to burn to do so.
Modular Robotics has their cute little cubelets which shrink everything down and add robotics into the mix with options for drive cubes and range sensing. Also, a far more reasonable price. These look like great educational kits for teachers that want to get young kids excited about engineering.
B-squares with roughly a $25 price tag per square right now hits a nice price point and are being very smart by leveraging arduino compatibility. (You can pre-order on kickstarter and help these become reality) These stand a good chance of being popular at places like thinkgeek.com.
I’m sure many readers have already run across this, but for those who haven’t, we thought it worth sharing. Being geeks during lunch we often find geeky stuff to watch. I personally checkout what the latest TED talks are, catch up on Jon Stewart, or cruise Reddit. Today I stumbled across the Richard Feynman: Fun to Imagine documentary on Youtube. Feynman is famous for his ability to explain complex physics to the everyday person as well as infuse the subjects with fun and enthusiasm. I learned something today that I had always wondered; I had no idea that the bulk of plants came from pulling the atoms literally out of the air. I always wondered how it was that more of the dirt didn’t disappear every year when the leaves fell and were taken away. So now I don’t know whether to feel dumb or smarter 😛
Enjoy on your lunch break!
With every new family member it starts with excitement and love. They bring joy and laughter into the home. There are cards and gifts and parties to celebrate. But then the reality begins to settle in and you discover that every personality has a dark side. Something deep and hidden in their past…
We aren’t dead! We have just been very, very busy and very, very bad bloggers. We do have some great content coming soon however, we promise. Until then, here is a guest post from one of our awesome community members (darkback2) who came to hang out with us for a few weeks. Che, a teacher in Washington state, is an active pro-hobby robot builder who participates in Mech Warfare and is known for shooting himself to entertain others. We were delighted that Che came to hang out with us and he was a huge help in moving some projects forward that we needed to get done. Expect some new products soon that we can all thank Che for helping make a reality before 2098.
Teacher seeks real world experience and finds it at Trossen Robotics.
I am a high school science and robotics teacher. A few months ago a friend of mine asserted that teachers couldn’t last two weeks in the real world. I took that as a challenge and set out to prove him wrong. I called, emailed, and wrote a number of robotics companies around the world. Matt Trossen answered the call, offering me an internship at his Chicago-based robotics business.
As a result, I got to spend two weeks working at Trossen Robotics. To be honest, I got to do the fun stuff while Matt Trossen, Andrew Alter, and Alex Ward were stuck doing the hard day-to-day stuff. I quickly learned how hard it is for the Trossen team to get things done because of how much they have to multitask. Every time they tried to work on a project, they were interrupted by phone calls, product orders, and the constant stream of people delivering parts, or picking up orders.
In addition to the normal intern duties, I got to do my favorite thing which is, of course, building robots. During my two-week stay I built an army of robots including an Interbotix Hexapod, a Bioloid Premium, and a Bioloid GP, and shot product videos of each.
Most importantly, this was a wonderful experience that will have a profound effect on my classroom. As a teacher, it is easy to get bogged down in the how and what of our curriculum. I am always focusing on teaching the students how to do things and what they should know. The most important thing I am taking away from this experience is that I need to focus much more on why. Why things are done the way they are. I am also much more keenly aware of how meticulous documentation is key to working collaboratively with others. Because we recorded everything that we did through photographs, notes, and discussions, we were all on the same page and capable of addressing issues that arose as we went along.
The Trossen team made me feel more than welcome. The hardest part was leaving at the end of my two-week stay.
We missed Che after he left too! We did consider locking him in… Thank you Che for all the awesome hard work you did during your visit!
Screwing with pets is fun. They are furry and cute but despite what your ex-girlfriend used to go on and on and on about, they really aren’t that smart. Case in point is the laser game where any seemingly sane cat or dog can be sent into a frenzy over a quickly moving dot of light. Endless fun can be had watching their minds break as they hopelessly chase something they cannot physically grab. This is why humans rule the earth. We should stop showing our children movies where animals talk and are smart, because we are just setting them up for disappointment.
The pet Laser Dazer is a fun project that can be done with the Vision Tracking Starter Kit or the Desktop RoboTurret (need to pick up the laser separate.) The concept is simple, take the age old game of “catch the laser dot” and add robots to the mix! It even works with kids. Watch the end of the video to see Andrew’s daughter throw herself against the wall in excitement. See, robots ARE fun people.
Laser Dazer Demo App can be found here.
As many know, we were recently at IRC 2010 in Korea. What even we ourselves didn’t know is that Robot World was going to be in Hall 2 right next to us. Robot World was packed full of amazing robots. Almost no one spoke English so we can”t tell you what they do, but we did run around taking lots of pictures and video to bring back for everyone. Enjoy, and try not to drool on your keyboard. One thing is clear, Korea knows how to make some cool robots.
We’re still reeling from our trip to Korea; jet-lag, last minute flu bugs, and a tad too much Soju really did a number on us. One thing is for sure- Asia has the US beat handily on robotic presence. What we didn’t know when heading to the competition was that IRC2010 also was attached to Robotworld 2010, the single largest Robotics Convention we’ve ever seen. Literally hundreds of booths and double or even triple that number of robots ran wild in a convention hall bigger than an aircraft hanger. It’s going to take us a few weeks to sort through all the video, but we’ll give you a sneak peak at the hundreds of pictures we took. There is some SERIOUS robot-eye-candy in these galleries, be sure to check it out.
And here’s a few choice pics for those of you too lazy to check out the above linked galleries!
NorHACKton is offering a very interesting design competition. Design your own robot! If your robot design is selected it will be made into a 10ft tall sculpture! Plus your design will be built during January through February 2011 with a regularly updated blog on its progress to boot. However, you must visit NorHACKton for all the details and rules. Here are some examples to help get your ideas rolling. Good luck to everyone!