Wednesday, September 17, 2014

ReWalk Robotic Exoskeleton

ReWalk Robotic's IPO is exceeding all expectations at the moment. The value of stock is soaring... See the article here and the amazing video below.

Edit - A great response to this post came from my friend Eric Ostendorff, aka erco on the Parallax Forums. It was in this thread and contained the following video about eLEGS from Berkeley Bionics.

This is such exciting stuff and shows the unlimited potential of robotics.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MIT Robotic Cheetah

Great video on MIT's Robotic Cheetah. The full article is here.


Saw this at school today - a lighted R2-D2 backpack!

Why didn't/don't I have one of these?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Raspberry Pi

Having fun with my Model B+ Raspberry Pi. More info is available at and great support and products at

Lots of great robotics uses for this well made, inexpensive and small computer!

FastRobotics Robot Shield

FastRobotics is now marketing a line of Quickstart Shields that utilize the Parallax Propeller Quickstart Board. The announced the new line on the Parallax Forums and offered new customers a free T Shirt with a purchase.

What I will get is their first product!  The Robot Shield, Revision A, connects to the Quickstart and they are marketing it as "a great board to get quickly get your Robot up and running."  The Robot Shield was initially developed for David Gitz's Masters Thesis. Now they are making them to sell to others. They will soon have a Kickstarter and will be releasing the B Revision. 

Here is a photo of the Robot Shield, Revision A, mounted on a Parallax Propeller Quickstart Board and a photo of the T Shirt too.

By the way, the T Shirt is printed by - the same company that printed the Robothon T Shirt I posted previously - Seems like a very cool company.

Measuring Customer Service

I was lucky enough to have purchased Parallax's original 12 Volt Motor and Wheel Kit (featured in this old thread on the Parallax Forums) that Parallax sold. It featured the encoder wheels and sensors shown below. This was the unit used on the Eddie Robot Platform and I think the original MadeUSA Platform. Encoders are used to keep wheels running at the same speed so that a robot continues in a straight path and to measure the distance the robot has traveled.

Original 9 Tab Encoder Wheels

Later generations of the Motor Mount and Wheel Kit (Aluminum) (in addition to adding a less expensive Motor Mount and Wheel Kit - Molded Plastic) and now the new Arlo Robotics Platform System include the much more precise 36-Position Quadrature Encoder Set. Compare the old 9 tab wheel to the new 36 tab wheel!

Newer 36 Tab Wheels
I wondered if the new encoders and sensors would work on the original 12 Volt Motor and Wheel Kit and asked a question on the Forums in this thread

Not only did I get a quick reply from Ken Gracey, the company's president - Parallax sent me the upgrade at no charge! This usually sells for $39.99! 

Parallax provides the best customer service I have ever seen! My new 36-Position Quadrature Encoder Set is just one measure of that service! Thanks Parallax!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Robothon 2014 T Shirt

The Seattle Robotic Society's Robothon 2014 is almost here! It will be held on September 20th at the Seattle Center Armory from 9:30 to 5:30. You can go to or for rules and descriptions of all the competitions. 

Obviously, this is way too far from here for me to go, but I've followed the event for years. Thanks to Carol Lynn Hazlett, who is a contributing editor for Robot Magazine, robot builder extraordinaire, and a member of SRS, I got this year's T Shirt. Her only stipulation was that I had to wear it on September 20th! 

Thanks Carol!

By the way, this shirt was made by a great company called CustomInk. Check out their website. I know where I'm going the next time I need T shirts made...