Older blog entries for c6jones720 (starting at number 20)

I watched the DVD of Short Circuit the other day. I hadnt seen the film for year and forgot how enchanting the storyline was. After watching it I was left thinking about my droid. I've left it alone for so long that it is probably feeling quite neglected! In the new year I intend to carry on working on it and actually finish off giving it a pair of working legs.

I was at home putting the finishing touches on my new powerfull servomotor design. My mate Rich called me and said to come on out down the pub. Okay! I said thinking I'd complete building the rest of the robot leg later, I ended up bumping into a girl that I hadnt seen in 15 years! Its crazy, she was impressed by my droid when I showed it to her! I think I'm going to have to put my experiments on hold for a while. Experience shows that girls need a little more attention than robots and computers.

Sail arm servos are not quite powerfull enough for the legs of my droid so I'm going to use high torque dc motors intead. I've figured out an easy way to make powerfull servo motors and electronic speed controllers which use the same control signals as standard model servos. I'm sure that will do the trick.

To dafyddwalters, its a real shame that the landlord didnt like your robot. Last time I bought a robot into a pub I ended up with more attention than I wanted too.

I've been working on a life sized droid for about 4 months now its got working arms, head, torso, spinal column and all that sort of stuff. One thing though if your doing this sort of project in England, getting parts sent to your home address is an absolute nightmare. Maplins need to do a proper delivery service...

I found out about running my PC off batteries. The last time I tried something like that a 486 PC drew about 13A from a 12v source. With a UPS and PSU the Pentium PC I tested only drew 4A! I think that that is acceptably low to be used on a large mobile robot. The only thing I have to do now is make the whole power system lighter...

Heres a thought, Our workplace flooded and they ended up scrapping a load of wet UPS's, so theres a load going spare. For ages I've been meaning to use a PC as an embedded system on a large mobile robot. The thing thats always stopped me doing this is making a lightweight power supply with a negative voltage. Im toying with the idea of using a UPS as a mobile power source for a normal PC.

I know that in theory is electrically inefficient to use a UPS and a PC power supply together like this for mobile power, but I.m toying with the idea. Has anyone done anything quite like this? If so did it work?

Hi, I saw this interesting documentary/drama the other day on BBC1 (UK)about the prospect of a terrorist organisation exploding a Dirty Bomb in metropolitan london. At the end, the authorities cordoned off and abandoned a large section of London for a 30 year cooldown period. As soon as I saw that the first thing that sprung to mind mind was Wow! what an absolutely perfect opportunity to use robots for clearing and redeveloping a dangerous area! I should'nt say this, but that is one niche in robotics that needs to be exploited more.

Other thing, - I've just been reading some different books on neuroscience and artificial intelligence. I can recommend the books "Growing up with Lucy" by Steve Grand and "Conciousness" written by two neurologists. The Lucy book is basically a diary of a guy who builds a basic android its got all sorts of stuff about neural nets and vision, although his writng style is not so scientific. The conciousness book fills in some of the gaps in understanding minds. Its helped to explain to me why everytime we write an AI program it ends up being something somebody else already did and is never quite as good as we thought. I think were missing a couple of things in our software, but this is all in the book...

I was in a bookshop the other day and came across a book called AI game programmers wisdom volume 2. Its a big thick book with about 800 or so pages and it is quite expensive ($69.99 US or £45.00 UK). I got it and I'd say it was worth every penny. It is primarily about video game AI, but it is very relevant to robotics because there are many many similarities between game agents and physical robots in the real world. Its a great book and deals with all sorts of stuff like A* pathfinding (mobile navigation), PID control, Fuzzy and Neural nets...

If you get a chance to read it, it is definately worth it..

I just settled down in my new job as a Software Engineer (not much robotics or electronics but hey its not the end of the world..)Everythings running smooth, all the equipment is working and Im just starting to have ideas on how to produce a cheaper commercial version of the US Packbot. Then it rains! Our entire factory and my working area were flooded! Im gonna have to put my Packbot ideas to one side until we get dry....

I've got mixed feelings about my new robot. I've just moved from Plymouth (UK) to Bristol (UK) and I think one of my robots arms has broken in the process. I might have to replace the main shoulder motor. Wierd, the robot seems a lot weaker at liting now than it was in Plymouth, there must be the Plymouth electricity must be better than Bristol electricity or something. I've got half of the robot reflexes wired up now so now the left arm can respond if it hits something or if I prod it.

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