Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Unofficial Tour of Parallax

Most of you read about my visit to and tour of Parallax. Here is a video made by their intern Maddie. Her blog is called PBASICally Maddie. Her "Unofficial" tour shows almost everything I saw. Enjoy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

ASIMO at Disneyland

On our recent family trip to California, we took the kids to Disneyland. As we walked into Tomorrowland, I saw a big banner that said - "ASIMO - Here today!"

ASIMO was on tour and Disney had a demonstration that lasted about 30 minutes. I think my family had as much fun watching me as ASIMO. The demo was cheezy, but the robot itself is very impressive. I know that it gets a lot of criticism, but sitting in front of it and hearing the servos whir and seeing the incredible finish and precision of its movements - It is amazing! ASIMO danced, climbed stairs and ran, but all the context of visiting a family and helping with household chores.

I wish they presented robots more from the engineering side - showing what is really possible now. That would be interesting. But, not many people would enjoy it as much as seeing ASIMO dance and imagining having their own C-3PO.

Photo - ASIMO on stage at Disneyland.

My Visit to Graceland!

As any Elvis fan knows - "Graceland" is the place to visit if you are one of the King's faithful.

For a someone like me - the place to visit is Parallax. Maybe it is because my first robotics' gear came from Rocklin, or maybe because they keep making exactly what I want and provide what I need to teach others. For me, a visit to Parallax is like a visit to Graceland.

I was in Northern California to officiate at the wedding of a former youth group member on July 16th. We made it into a family trip. We got to visit with lots of friends and we took the kids to Disneyland on the way home (I got to see ASIMO in Tomorrowland!). Everybody got to do something fun and something they wanted to do. I got to go to Parallax.

Not only did I get to meet all the great people (everybody from the educational folks, shipping, manufacturing, marketing, kitting, front desk and sales) - I got the grand tour from Ken Gracey. It was great to see parts being made on the CNC machine, BASIC Stamps being cranked out and a warehouse full of stuff that would make any of you drool. Not only are the individual items cool - seeing stacks and stacks of them is unbelievable - Like a wall of QuadRovers!

Just like Graceland has the Jungle Room - Parallax has the Chip Room. I stood in the cage surrounded by silicon and got to hold a box full of Propeller Chips and have the pics to prove it. They don't really keep Chip Gracey in there...

Thanks to everyone at Parallax for the great visit. It was so good to meet you all and see everything!

As one of the Parallax Forum members (Rich, aka W9GFO) said, "Maybe it should be called "Graceyland!" I wish I had thought of that!

Photos - Jessica, me, Steph and Andy, The Education Department - above. Me in the Chip Room - right. Both photos were taken by Ken Gracey.