Thursday, March 27, 2008


I got this Hummer H2 with Mattracks on sale after Christmas. It was only $60. I wanted the Mattracks, which I have now found out that I can order by themselves from Radio Shack (two sets are about $60). I now have three pair.

Lots of folks are using these for
tracks on their robots and they are what my friend StampNut2 is using on his WALL-E robot which you can read about here. It takes a little work to hack them to fit, but they work really well once you do. You can see good picture of them mounted on a BOE-Bot here.

Here is a litte video too that shows the Mattracks in action. This was made by another person who attached them to their BOE-Bot.

Mini Lego WALL-E

I had to post this mini Lego Wall-E that I found while I was surfing the web. I don't know if we have all the parts to make it, but my son would obviously love it. See it here on flickr.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Robot Designs

Now my son is designing robots like crazy with his Lego parts. Here are his two latest. The first is the Four-legged Walker (the name is self-explanatory).

The second is the Security Sweeper. I like this one the best. The body is a barrel chair from the Krusty Krab Restaurant set. The top (a security camera with dish transmitter) is from one of the Mars Mission sets. Best of all the locomotion (at bottom) is the broom used to sweep up the Krusty Krab. Obviously another pair of ingenious designs.

My son has also taken to commenting on posts here. Look for some of his comments!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Additions to My Library

I picked up a couple of new books this weekend while on a trip. They're intended to be funny, but educational. Daniel H. Wilson, Ph.D. wrote How to Survive a Robot Uprising while working on his doctorate, and How to Build a Robot Army after earning his Ph.D. from at the Robitic's Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. Wilson says on his website, "I wear a tie and glasses to look very smart and intimidate people who visit my website."

Both books are illustrated in a campy graphic novel style by Richard Horne. The website for Robot Uprising (linked here) will give you an idea of the book's style, content and how they mix current robotic reasearch with the sci-fi fears about the rapid developing technology. Be sure to check out the e-cards. The books are a lot of fun and filled with great information about the current state of robotics. You can find them here at Amazon.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Playing Around

I was playing around the other night with a custom header for this blog. I made this, but I couldn't get all the kinks worked out. Still - it was cool enough to post. I made it from a picture of Parallax's 2x16 Serial LCD. I erased the original text and added the new text in Microsoft PhotoDraw.


It is ironic that I did not start my robotics hobby until I moved to rural Northeast Louisiana. For the previous decade and a half, I lived in the San Francisco Bay area. That is right, minutes from San Francisco, or a short drive to silicon valley, and a few blocks from U.C. Berkeley. Now, my connection to all this things is via the internet. When I see something like this, it is particularly difficult.

RoboGames is the world's largest open robot competition (even the Guinness Book of World Records says so!) The best minds from around the world to compete in over 70 different events. It will be held this year at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. Combat robots, walking humanoids, soccer bots, sumo bots, and even androids that do kung-fu. Some robots are autonomous, some are remote controlled - they're all cool! Check it out here.

Then again, if I lived in the Bay Area - all my money would be spent on gas and housing. Wonder if my wife would be interested in a "romantic" San Francisco vacation?

Note: The RoboGames description comes from the site linked above.