Friday, July 31, 2015

The Good Stuff on Robots

PBS's "The Good Stuff" really is good stuff. Watch them all...

700 Robots

700 Robots is amazingly fun to study... Thanks Ben! Check out Ben's blog too!

700 Robots flickr -

Blog -

Graphics Project

Got long sleeve T shirts for red sea robotic©... What is next?

RSR side

RUS side

Thursday, July 30, 2015

TARS Wired

More images of TARS from a Wired.Com article found here.

At Rest


Two Legged Walking

Crutch Walk

TARS Estimated Proportion Sketch

Some more info for reference on a possible TARS build (like my pal erco is doing over at this thread on and Parallax Forums - Don't know how accurate this is, but it looks pretty good and is from what looks like a movie prop/costume and  model builders forum (Replica Props Forum). Link address is on the left side. Drawing is by MrSinistar.

There are other fun items in the thread like created information for the output screens (here) on TARS and CASE.

The link to the the thread post is here. Anyway - here is MrSinistar's "Blueprint" as he calls it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

PhiPi and the Port Townsend School District

My Parallax Forum friend Phil Pilgrim, aka, PhiPi, posted this wonderful video here with the following explanation,
The local Port Townsend School District has embarked upon a curriculum of place-based education. Since we're surrounded by water, a maritime theme is central to this district-wide curriculum. The class I helped with developed some floating ROVs guided by GPS for taking photos of the bay bottom in shallow water. In this video, the Maritime Discovery Initiative is presented and includes footage taken in my class. The students first learned Spin programming using the ActivityBot. Those skills then transferred to programming the Activity Boards in the ROVs. I recommend watching the whole video, but you can skip to the robotics stuff at 4:08.

As Phil says, he helped with the floating ROVs guided by GPS for taking photos of the bay bottom in shallow water. Another example too of wonderful Parallax products at use in schools teaching a new generation about robotics and robotic exploration!  Great work PhiPi and Parallax!

This is Phil's Avatar!

UPDATE! - red sea robotics © Long Sleeve T Shirts are Coming!

UPDATE! - To update the red sea robotic© long sleeve T shirts saga story from this post - A major break-through! CustomInk decided the design was original and not a violation (which it was - of course!). They emailed me a proof - just as planned and I approved the design and added some more shirts to the order. First batch will be 11 ash colored long sleeve Ts - all have homes. Hint: Three have a home in Rocklin, California! (click here if you don't get that reference).

One more look at the design!
I still hope I hear from Oussama Khatib at Stanford! I would love to just have the correspondence from one of my heros!

CustomInk has been EXTREMELY professional and a joy to work with! Shirts should arrive here by August 6 - I'll ship after that.

TARS and CASE - Interstellar - Behind the Scenes

I found this here - (Sorry about the advertisements!) This movie and these robots were so good. Thanks to my pal erco for sending me on this exploration! See his TARS in the posts and here.

Lots of project ideas here and room for all sorts of experimentation.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Robotics Under the Stole and red sea robotics © Write to Stanford University!

Okay - this all started like this. I was working on getting my cool red sea robotics © long sleeve T shirts (See here) -  printed from CustomInk. They are a really fun company that does excellent work and the ones who makes the Robothon T Shirts every year!

They called me today concerned about a trademark/copyright conflict with Stanford's Red Sea Robotics Exploratorium (they do actual robotic exploration of the Red Sea and develop the robots to do the work!). I think they thought I had copied Stanford's logo and was using it without permission. I told them the whole story...They are thinking about it...

In the mean time...

I did this - I went to Stanford's graphic standard department and tried to call to ask for permission - the mailbox was full and I could not reach an operator! So, I went to the Red Sea Robotics Exploratorium site and saw that one of the faculty members is Oussama Khatib - who is an amazing roboticist and has some great online courses in robotics! So I wrote him this email...

Dear Professor Khatib,

I am an Episcopal priest and amateur roboticist.  I have watched with great interest some of your excellent videos about robotics and learned so much.

My weblog is called Robotics Under the Stole and is here
I recently tried to order some long sleeve T shirts from Custom Ink for my self owned and named company and robotic's club (For me and my friends) red sea robotics. The logo is below and features red waves and a red "c". (PHOTO IS NOW ABOVE)

Custom Ink looked online for copyright violation and is concerned about Stanford's Red Sea Robotic's Exploratorium and a violation with my logo.

The whole story about my logo/name coming from the small town where I served - Mer Rouge (Louisiana) or red sea in French is here -  - along with other info. I first made a sketch of the idea with a red "C" on June 3, 2011 and I do not know if you all had your name first or not or if this is even a true copyright conflict. I love what you all are doing.

My question is how to go about getting written permission to use this logo of my own design without worrying about a conflict with Stanford. Do you know who I should ask? Do I need to ask.

Custom Ink is deciding if they think it is a conflict based on my explanation of the design and they may print it anyway - but I am asking...

Thanks for the leadership and educational resources that you and Stanford provide in this endlessly fascinating field!

Thanks for any help you might give me and for your time.

All the best,


The Rev'd T. Whitfield Stodghill, III
Now, the fun begins... Will CustomInk print my shirts - deciding there is no conflict and that the logo is my own design (which it is)? Will I get a response from Stanford or Khatib? Should I offer to send a shirt to Khatib? Does any of this matter? Does anyone but me care? Will all the buzz make demand for the cool T shirt go through the roof?

Stay tuned to Robotics Under the Stole for the latest info!

Curiosity Visit the Neiborhood

The Mar's Curiosity Rover says, "Hey, Sesame Street! Exploring is fun. I can't wait for people to join me on the #JourneyToMars. Yip! Yip! Yip!"

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pixy (CMUcam5)

This looks like another amazing product - Pixy (CMUcam5) CMU does it again (with Charmed Labs).

More info here. -

And here at Adafruit for just $74.95 -

More Robot Fun!

Can't wait to get a cut or scrape...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Robotic Movies

Added these two films to my robotic's movie collection, though I have to say ex machina is much more of an AI movie - the robotics envisioned  are "advanced" so much as to be impractical to spark my imagination for real world robotics (as opposed to say Chappie or iRobot, which are a stretch, but rooted more in reality - IMO).

Edit 07/26/15 - Added another thanks to erco latest project (see here)...

red sea robotics Long Sleeve T Shirt

The first batch is on its way... 

The whole story is here..

Thursday, July 23, 2015

erco's TARS Turns

Eric has done it again! Absolutely amazing - AND F-A-S-T! Don't know how he does these things so quickly! erco says walking is next - can't wait.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015


My friend Eric, a.k.a. erco at the Parallax Forums posted this recently. It is a working model of the TARS Robot from the movie, Interstellar.

Eric says on the YouTube post, "TARS robot under construction. Hopefully it will crutch walk. Stay tuned." For those unfamiliar, here is a clip from the movie of TARS in action. It shows TARS and Astronaut Cooper or "Coop," who is played by Matthew McConaugheyCase is another robot in Interstellar. All the robots in the movie are described here, and the links for TARS show the different movements including the "crutch walk." 

And here, 'MythBusters' Adam Savage Explains Why Interstellar's TARS Is The Perfect Robot. Adam explains that the plot of the movie left him cold, but that he loved TARS.

Can't wait to see what Eric makes of this!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hat Trick

Congrats to my friend Carol Carol Lynn Hazlett for her 3 article hat trick in the September/October 2015 Robot Magazine! Way to go Carol!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Digital Synthesis Function Generator Kit

A bit of fun of the way!

DIY FG085 DDS Digital Synthesis Function Generator Kit With Panel


The output signal types: sine, square, triangle, positive and negative sawtooth, positive and negative staircase, user-defined arbitrary waveforms, and servo control signal
Frequency range: 0 - 200KHz (sine)
Frequency resolution: 1Hz
Frequency accuracy: 0.149Hz (when F> 40Hz time), 0.000596Hz (when F <= 40Hz time)
Cycle Resolution: 1ms
Amplitude range: 0 - 10V pp
Amplitude accuracy: 0.1V
DC offset range: -5V - + 5V
DC offset Accuracy: 40mV
Waveform memory depth: 256 bytes
Maximum sample rate: 2.5Msps
Trigger Input Level: High 3.5V (minimum), low 1.5V (maximum)
When the trigger waveform output delay: less than 5 subtle
Synchronous output: TTL level
Output Impedance: 50 ohm
Power supply voltage: 15V DC
Supply Current: <150ma load="" no="" o:p="">

The main operating modes:

Fixed-frequency mode (CW)
Sweep mode (SWEEP)
Servo signal patterns (SERVO)

Here is a video, but the one I ordered has a face panel (see above).

By the way, that is the same Oscilloscope that I have in the video above - see here.

A link for the unit at the maker is here -

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Klein Bottle Storage Robot

This guy, Clifford Stoll, build a robot to retrieve his Klein Bottles from the crawl space under his Oakland, California home. I was interested in the Robot (which uses Parallax parts) which I saw here

Then (like you maybe), I asked, "What the heck is a Klein Bottle? That sent me to this video. Warning - This may make your brain hurtThis guy is way too smart. What an interesting character and idea! Great robot too!

Enjoy! Want one? Visit Acme Klein Bottles at

Friday, July 3, 2015

Universal Robot Gripper

As posted previously...In this project, Make Magazine's Jason Poel Smith shows you how to make a universal robot gripper using an ordinary balloon and coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are placed in the balloon. When the balloon is inflated, the coffee grounds are loose and will easily move around an object. But when the air is sucked out of the balloon, the grounds are pulled together and grip the object from all sides. This works because of a process called "jamming": When a granular material such as coffee grounds is compressed, the friction between the grains locks them in place. 

I may have to make one of these!

Old Faithful...

Parallax Propeller - another Old Faithful for Ken Gracey. The Propeller Beanie makes it to Yellowstone!

Universal Robot Gripper

There is a great article on Make Magazine's recent Robot Making special edition - this's gazing was on of my Father's Day gifts! A link to the online instructions is here -