Affective robots

Posted on 26 November 2008 in Robotics

I wouldn't normally link to the Daily Mail (whose politics I dislike), but when it's my fiancee and her work being profiled...

Best. Video. Ever.

Posted on 20 November 2008 in Funny, Memes, Quick links, Robotics

Cats and robots. What more does a meme need?

Feelix Growing

Posted on 23 February 2007 in Personal, Robotics

The grind of applying for patents for Resolver (about which more later) has slowed down work on my own robots, but my partner Lola has been rushing ahead with her ever-so-slightly more professional approach... I'm very proud of her :-)

UPDATE 26 Feb: For some unknown reason, Google has made this post its #1 hit when you search for Feelix Growing. If you've just come here looking for that, here's the homepage for the project: Feelix Growing.

UPDATE 27 Feb: No longer #1. Phew.

"Dancing mule"

Posted on 9 January 2007 in Robotics

On a more broadly interesting robotty note, here's a dancing mule. It looks like the star is a "Big Dog" from Boston Dynamics, though I prefer the video cut to music to the drier one (warning - 11Mb WMV) on the company's website.

Building the Coat Hanger Walker

Posted on 9 January 2007 in Robotics

Here are a few things I noticed when building the "Coat Hanger Walker" from the Absolute Beginner's Guide to Building Robots -- see my last post -- that I think it would have been nice to know in advance. If you're not intending to build one in the near future, you should probably skip this post :-)

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Another robot

Posted on 31 December 2006 in Robotics

A happy New Year to everyone! As a last post for 2006, here's another robot, slightly better than my last attempt (though it does insist on walking backwards -- some reshaping of the legs required, I think); it's the "Coat Hanger Walker" from the Absolute Beginner's Guide to Building Robots. (See here for my build notes.)

Walking robot

Have a great evening, and see you in 2007.

Make:06 Trimet... hmmm.

Posted on 11 December 2006 in Robotics

I've just realised that I posted about receiving a package from Solarbotics a while back -- but I've been silent about the results. The bits were the parts for the "Trimet" from Make magazine, issue 6, along with a book called the Absolute Beginners Guide to Building Robots, and the parts required for the robots designed in there. I've never been much of a hardware hacker, but spending half my time coding and the other half messing around with the business side of running a company has made me keener on spending the, uhm, other half somewhere away from a computer screen. And, being a good geek, how better to spend that time than on building our new robot overlords.

Time constraints mean that I've only been able to build the Make Trimet, a solar-powered thingy that uses the power from light shining on it to move, pretty much randomly. And while I can imagine that in sunny southern California, herds of these creatures jig cheerfully across the desert, in the wintertime UK they are somewhat less active:

Robot not moving

Well, what can you expect - we all get a little sluggish in the runup to Christmas. But just as Seasonal Affective Disorder is meant to be banished by bright light, a torch (flashlight for our american cousins) can help the Trimet -- or, at least, a 1,500,000 candlepower torch can:

Robot twitching slightly

(In case you're wondering, the apparent dimming of the lights when the torch switches on is simply my phone's camera adjusting its brightness settings to allow for the sudden influx of excess photons... ambient light was actually the same throughout. It's a bright torch.)

I guess the Trimet races will have to wait until July.

Christmas has come early

Posted on 13 November 2006 in Robotics

I read Make 6 last week -- a bit late, I know -- and fell immediately in love with the idea of BEAM robotics, simple robots that can be build at home with simple tools, but display complex behaviour. Last Wednesday I placed an order with Solarbotics for the components I needed to build the "Trimet" robot described in the magazine, and today it was delivered -- not at all bad for something that was shipped from Canada!

Given that my Dremel tool was delivered today as well -- oddly enough, (a supermarket) had the best UK price I could easily find -- it's all I can do to hold myself back from building a robot or two this evening... but I'll be strong, and will finish the NSLU2 project first.