Friday, September 25, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Robots to the Rescue!

Robin Murphy's TED Talk - Thanks erco! Sorry about the ad...

Farewell to Lem Fugitt: A Mighty Bridge Has Fallen | Make:

Farewell to Lem Fugitt: A Mighty Bridge Has Fallen from Make

A true pioneer! This story is from the Make (online site and appeared in Servo and Robot Magazine. That should give you some indication of what a amazing story this is and what a loss it is to the world wide robotic's community!

Twice in a Row!

Carol Lynn Hazlett you are too much!
Three articles in one month! Again! This time it's in the November/December 2015 Robot! WOW! - Hat trick REPEAT for Carol..
! I can't keep up... And she is competing in Robothon!


Welcome Fall - but remember, Fall isn't as fun for robots! Except for the colors...

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tower of Hanoi Algorithm

Phil Pilgrim's Tower of Hanoi solving robot arm thread on the Parallax Forums led me to this great video. Saved here for future reference!

Circuit Scribe

Circuit Scribe: Draw circuits instantly. It is a rollerball pen that writes with conductive silver ink. It makes creating circuits as easy as doodling. This is cool!

Parallax Hackable Electronic Badge

This video shows how the Parallax Hackable Electronic Badge is set-up and used. Cool!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Doing Hard Things Matters

"We've always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments. These moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements. But we lost all that. Or perhaps we've just forgotten that we are still pioneers. And we've barely begun. And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us." Cooper from the movie Interstellar.

One of the reasons I love robotics...

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Star Wars Merch!

The Star Wars franchise is promoting the upcoming movie and that means merchandising (See the BB-8 T Shirt post below). And...Star Wars Merch means Robot Merch, which is good news for robotics fans! Check out these classic examples spotted at Target today. Cool!

Cheesy, but not cheesy!

Eat your heart out Andy Warhol!

Friday, September 18, 2015

BB-8 T Shirt, Toys, A Comparison and the Real Deal!

Can't afford the $150 Sphero BB-8  - but did get at great new T shirt! #can'twaitforBB-8

Who's with me?

Target has a less expensive model that sells for $80. You can see it here.

Or check out the detailed video comparison below!

And here is the 5th of 5 videos produced by an amazing roboticist, James Bruton of XRobots over in the U.K. who built the real deal! This is guy is a genius!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

More on "THE" Badge

An addendum to the Open Hardware Summit post here as regards the really cool new Parallax Electronic Conference Badge (Hackable Electronic Badge) - post here. Check out these photos...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

xanadu's Flying Activity Bot

Parallax Forum member xanadu has thoroughly documented on this thread a project to make a Parallax Activity Bot fly - quadcopter style! It started like this...

This video (taken with a cool POV camera) demonstrates how versatile such a robot can be - doing much more than a single function bot. I shows just how much had been achieved.

Of course this begged the question of adding a gripper, which, of course, xanadu did...

Then xanadu made another fantastic video of the FAB (Flying Activity Bot - thanks erco!) on a mission! Many have commented how these videos just make them smile. They show why we all love and enjoy robotics.

How much fun is that? What creative and amazing work! Thanks for documenting this xanadu and congratulations!

Open Hardware Summit 2015

"The Open Hardware Summit is the annual conference organized by the Open Source Hardware Associationand the world’s first comprehensive conference on open hardware: a venue to discuss and draw attention to the rapidly growing Open Source Hardware movement. This year’s summit will be on September 19, 2015 in Philadelphia, PA." (from the site linked above).

This looks like so much fun... Here is what I think is so exciting...
What a great event this promises to be!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Parallax Electronic Conference Badge

Here is the latest information about Parallax's new electronic conference badges. Their Facebook page had the following posted:

Social interaction at creative gatherings (hackathons, robot shows, art galleries, conferences) has just been transformed by Parallax MicrocontrollersandRobots! No more handshakes, no more business cards, no marketing goons trying to "scan your tag" and no more hiding behind your smart phone. Now, you'll roam the event and "beam" your contact information over infrared to your new friends. This badge stores your name, conference program, and the people you've met. After the event, you can program it to be anything else. Sound good? Here's a look at our latest product on a popular hacker web site

Electronic conference badges have been around for at least a decade now, and they all have the same faults. They're really only meant to be used for a few days, conference organizers and attendees exp...

10 Great Robots for Beginners

Great article at Robotics Trends can be found here. 10 Great Robots for Beginners features some great products, but I have to admit, my personal favorite is Number 4. You can find it at Parallax at this link. Of course, Number 9, isn't bad either!

Could there be any doubt? What a great way to learn robotics. I picked up a spare at the Shack last summer on sale for a great price too!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Green with Envy

These images appeared today on this thread over at the Parallax Forums in a post by Ken Gracey!

So excited! Looks like the S3 may move from yellow (see here) to green. As I said there..."What ever color it is - I want one - ONE of the first ones. Let's get this party started. I promise a video of all three playing together! SO excited!

I am a Scribbler fan - Blue, Red, and ??? Long live the Scribbler!"

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Out of Town Help - Way Out of Town!

A couple of happy looking interns!
My friend Ken Gracey at Parallax just posted this...

Parallax has two special guests from National Taiwan University of Science and Technology 吳岳勳 Yueh-Hsun Wu (Stan) and 黃璿銘 Hsuan-Ming Huang (Tom). For the next three months Stan and Tom will prepare to bring the ELEV-8 V3 Quadcopter into the NTU-ST controls program back home, and work with us to develop GPS flight. Welcome to Parallax, Stan and Tom!

Parallax, Ken Gracey, Chip Gracey and the whole team are always working on great things for robotics' enthusiasts everywhere! Thanks all!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Educational Robot Arm

One of the great projects in robotics is the robotic arm and gripper (end effector to be more technical). Arms can be stationary or mounted to a movable platform on on a humanoid robot. A classic problem to solve is the "Tower of Hanoi" children's game/puzzle - you've played this one! This simple game lets you demonstrate with your arm and gripper repeatability, dexterity and program problem solving. It is a perfect learning project! 

My friend Phil (PhiPi at the Parallax Forums) recently posted a thread with this...
This coming semester, I've volunteered again to teach a robotics course at the local high school. The class of 20 students will be studying CAD and programming, beginning with ActivityBot programming in Spin. I will have 10 students on Tuesdays for an hour and a half, and the alternate ten on Thursdays for the same amount of time.

The course objective this semester is to design and program a robot arm capable of solving the Towers of Hanoi problem. (Thanks, erco, for the idea!) The CAD side will design the mechanical parts in Rhino, to be cut out on the school's laser cutter. The programmers will have to learn how to control the robot and figure out the puzzle algorithm.

I've never built or programmed a robot arm before. In order to stay a step or two ahead of the kids, I needed to do that -- pronto! So I went online and found a laser-cuttable arm design (the uArm) that uses standard servos and is free to duplicate under a Creative Commons license. In order accommodate the cheap 2.7mm meranti doorskin that I wanted to use, my own bearings and bushings, the Activity Board, and my own gripper design, I needed to make a considerable number of mods to the uArm patterns.
Here is video of the (practically) finished product:

Great work as always Phil! What a fun project.

My pal Eric (erco at the Parallax Forums) loves to look for ways (like most engineers) to do the most with the least. This is also great for students, those on a budget, and those with our very sophisticated tools. Here are couple of his solutions (the latest version is shown first followed by an earlier version) - Remember - same problem - same challenges - different approach! This is what is so much fun about robotics!

I wanted to record this work for future reference. What neat solutions!

Friday, September 4, 2015

One Story Lead to Another!

The previous post led to accidentally to this - Nearly half of Dartmouth engineering majors are women. Here's why.

You can download this issue of Datmouth Engineer Magazine by clicking here

Dartmouth Robotic Football Dummies

There is a great story about Dartmouth's robotic football dummies here at the NPR website. It was developed by their School of Engineering Department's smarties. Thanks to my wife for pointing me to this! She heard the story on the way into work this morning. The video makes it though!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sphero BB-8

This is one cool gizmo! Mercy... Can't wait for the movie and now this! The link to the Sphero BB-8 page is here. It is just a toy - but a really cool toy!

Their tagline above is priceless!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

#HerStoryIsHistory: Women Who Were Left Out Of History

One more from Makers... The part about Hedy Lamarr blows my mind! Who knew? And that is the point!

Complete the History Books: Women in STEM

Complete the History Books: Women in STEM - An interesting article about Women in STEM careers at Makers is here. It links to the following very interesting video interviews with Maria Klawe...