Sunday, September 28, 2014

More Robot Priest Stuff...

Feeling more job security after watching this video... The whole story is here on Mashable.

A Google Image search of Robot Priest came up with these...

and this classic also used on my sidebar!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Recent Updates on Mars Curiosity

After 2 years and nearly 9 kilometers of driving, NASA's Mars Curiosity has arrived at the base of Mount Sharp to begin a whole new phase of exploration. Video from September 11.

And in video from September 25 - Curiosity has collected its first drill sample from the base of Mount Sharp. The scientific allure of the layered mountain inside a crater drew the team to choose this part Mars as its landing site.

Amazing real work is being done far away from Earth with such advanced robots working with teams here directing the process!

Klenk Tools Wire Cutter and Stripper

Parallax is now selling these. It is the Klenk Tools 2 in 1 Wire Cutter Stripper. Looks like they work really well and they are not expensive at all. Added this to my wish list.
Edit: These are on the way... Couldn't resist.

More info here - Two in One Wire Cutter and Stripper Documentation

Friday, September 26, 2014

My S2 Article Is Two Years Old!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Parallax’s Red Hot Scribbler 2 Robot

Parallax's™new, bright red, S2 is designed to be a worthy successor to their original blue Scribbler Robot. Powered by Parallax's Propeller chip, a multicore processor ideal for robotics, the opensource and user hackable S2 should have everyone from beginners to experienced users excited and experimenting right out of the box. Read More »
Hard to believe that this was two years ago!

    Arlo Running ROS

    Here is a demonstration video made by ChrisL8 over on the Parallax Forums here. He is using this Arlo Robot with ROS software in an incredible mapping demo.

    Thursday, September 25, 2014

    Saturday, September 20, 2014


    Today is the Robothon sponsored by the Seattle Robotics' Society. More information can be found on their Facebook page - 

    I am wearing my T Shirt!

    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...

    Robotic's Lab 3.1

    My robotic's lab is set-up again and ready for some fun. I got it finished at the tail end of the summer and am back in business after a big mess and long hiatus when we moved.

    I began at our old house with just a table in my bedroom - I'll call that Lab 1.0. Then, I moved my lab into the corner of our den - that was Lab 2.0. Lab 2.1 was a slight remodel when I got a computer, just for robotic's work.  My wife found the great glass door storage cabinets (say 2.1.5) and then I re-arranged in the same location - That was Lab 2.2.

    When we moved to our new house, we unpacked mostly, but the Lab was still really not set-up, so Lab 3.0 wasn't really functional and just sat there unused. Ugh!

    This summer my son and I decided enough was enough. So... Here are the photos of Lab 3.1. Standing in the middle of the room and turning clockwise, here are four views. I can find everything now.

    Now to to get it messy again - but this time in a fun way.

    Main Work Area

    Storage Cabinets and Book Case

    Desk and Raspberry Pi 

    Storage Cabinet and Tool Chest