Well, it seems our electronic chauffeur-slaves, the car-driving robots, AKA Tesla Model S with the Autopilot, have begun killing people. John Q. Public has always been fearful of the so-called "robot uprising" and finally it has begun. Now, self-driving cars are purported to be safer than human drivers, but that has not been proven.
In July 2016 in Florida a Tesla Model S with the Autopilot failed to see what most sober people would most likely see, a "big rig", a semi, an articulated truck blocking its path. The result was of course fatal.
So, is Tesla Autopilot ready for prime time? This author thinks not. Tesla themselves say that a driver running Autopilot must, in spite of the fact that the robo-driver is making all of the decisions, have both hands on the wheel and his eyes on the road.
Now I don't know about you, but just the name "Autopilot" might cause more than a few people to assume that a computer with a few sensors can safely drive a car for them. Perhaps using customers as beta testers was not such a good idea. Perhaps allowing a robot the freedom to kill a human, accidentally or otherwise might not be such a good idea. Isaac Asimov might agree. Feel free to chime in.
A robot and a lawyer walked into a bar. The robot was not harmed, as it was made of metal, but the lawyer suffered a concussion. The bar was only slightly scratched.
A robot walks into a bar. “What can I get you?” the bartender asks.
“I need something to loosen up,” the robot replies.
So the bartender serves him a phillips screwdriver.
Robots, robots and more robots. It seems that my life has me dedicated to robots. Nothing new. Currently I am 1. working on an InMoov, and 2. working on getting my "hoverboard" to run remotely so that I can put Robot Betty9 on it and let her run it. I am thinking of using one of my animatronic Elvis Presley heads instead of the standard inMoov head. I have about 20 of the Elvis heads. All those "Elvi" lined up in my garage is quite a site to see!
I have been doing a lot of documentation of my robot building on my Facebook account, "riv artoo" (https://www.facebook.com/riversidethomas). I can take or leave Facebook, but still I learn a lot about robotics as it happens.
Recently I learned that many Facebook people are so very afraid of life-size walking humanoid robots. Now, I'm not talking about Bill Gates or Elon Musk, I mean common everyday people are afraid. I mean, what is up with that? Humanoid robots, Atlas included, are clinking, clunky, toddling, oversized remote controlled TOYS. Yes, I said and I mean TOYS. Yeah, sure they can kill you--IF THEY FELL ON YOU! The robot that I, myself am most afraid of killing me is the Google car. Yes, it's a robot. It senses the environment, calculates where it will drive you and controls every aspect of the car--and YOUR SAFETY. It is a robot in every sense. And you literally put your life into Google's hands when you ride in any car without a steering wheel. Death is only inches and a buggy (no pun intended) program away. All programs have bugs. Still it will be a decade before it or any other robot car (or "driverless car" if you must) is on sale at a showroom near you.
We have a NEW ROBOTICS BLOGGER!
Please welcome OldETC who is now writing for Robots and Androids. Each week he will bring you his take on robotics' electronics, mechanics, sensors, microcontrollers, AI software, computer vision, and more.
THE CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF ROBOTICS (CIR), THE VERY FIRST COLLEGE of ROBOTICS ENGINEEERING, WILL OPEN in the SUMMER of 2016.
A new engineering college, called the California Institute of Robotics will be opening soon! This new college, with it's emphasis on robotics, will open its doors for business in Summer of this year. Classes will start the in the Fall of 2016. It will be based in Southern California.
This college sounds like it is a college that WE WOULD WANT TO ATTEND. It starts with robotics and artificial intelligence and goes on to animatronics and mechatronics and continues through medical and automotive robotics.
If you ever wanted to study robots and robotics in college, THIS IS THE COLLEGE FOR YOU! Students will learn robotic using Nao robots, Arduino microcontrollers, EZ Robots.
Happy 2016 Robot People!
Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? I did! I got a Mip from Wowwee! It's a really ultra cool toy robots that rolls around on two wheels. It can dance. It can follow (close by) hand gestures. It can roam around free and not (often) run into stuff. It can be hooked up to a mobile phone and then you can "BOX" with another robot! It can even carry another Mip without falling over. It's only about 8 inches tall, but there is a whole lot of engineering in those 8 inches.
Do you like robot contests? I do. I will be participating in the RSSC's "Get Me a Beer" contest. I just need to build a robot that finds a fridge, opens the door, finds a randomly placed beer, grabs that beer out of the fridge, closes the door, brings the beer to me, opens the beer, and hands it to me. Piece of cake, right? Willow Garage's PR2 can do it, right? So, why not my robot? Below is a video of PR2 getting a beer for it's builder. My question is this, "How many times did it foul up and need to be corrected before it succeeded?" Once? 10 times? many times daily for a year or so? And, "what if someone else in the room wanted a can of Coke instead? Could it deliver something different to a different person? Or is this all just a "dead reconing" kind of show?"
This year, I plan on getting Betty9 more life-like and I plan on animating my Lt. Data robot.
So what are YOUR robot building plans for 2015?
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa Robot People!
And what do YOU want this holiday season?
Me, I want a Wowwee MIP 2-wheeled balancing robot for Christmas! I just love that thing!
And how about Amazon and their 15,000 (that's FIFTEEN THOUSAND!) warehouse robots! Too cool for school, eh?!!!!
It's November robot people!
Last month was a VERY busy month for us.
On the 4th of October we attended the VERY FIRST Inland Empire (That includes the counties East of Los Angeles) Mini Maker Faire which was held for the first time in Riverside, CA.
There seemed to be more makers than attendees, but of course, I am probably wrong.
And then, on the 11th of October we had our own Riverside Robot Expo where I exhibited more than 20 robots! Ah, but soon after exhaustion set in and I'm thinking ONE robot (perhaps Betty9) would be more than enough.
This year we teamed up with the Inland Empire (light) Saber team.
Several FIRST / FRC teams were there at the Expo too. This year's Robot Expo was hands down, OUR BEST ROBOT EXPO EVERY!
And finally, last weekend we went to the Socal MakerCon at the Fairplex. Now it's really not fair to compare events, but except for Prof Martin Mason's "Robot Throwdown" (Those robot wars/ battlebot types of competitions are ALWAYS a LOT of FUN to watch!) I really enjoyed the MMF a whole lot better than the the Socal MakerCon. There were MANY more makers at the MMF and of course they had the TOTALLY AWESOME "The Electric Giraffe!"
Our special announcement will be delayed a bit, So STAY TUNED—and KEEP BUILDING BIGGER BETTER BOTS!
Happy October robot people!
This month is a busy month for us. On the 4th of October we have the Mini Maker Faire which is being held for the first time in Riverside, CA. And then, on the 11th of October is our own Riverside Robot Expo where I will be exhibiting more than 20 robots!
This year we are teamed up with the Inland Empire (light) Saber team. They will be doing (in Star Wars costumes) light saber mock battles during the Expo! Several FIRST / FRC teams will be at the Expo too. This Robot Expo is starting to get, as my daughter says, GINORMOUS!
In November, we will have a special announcement! So STAY TUNED—and KEEP BUILDING BIGGER BETTER BOTS!
This is the September issue of Robots and Androids. In this month's edition we interview creator of the 3D printed life-size humanoid InMoov robot, Gael Langevin!
Later this month we will have an article on robot surgery mishaps and a review of the EZ-Robot V3.
It's still hot summer here in S. Cal. My EZ-Robot board finally arrived after 9 long months. I hope they will be doing better than that in the future. I still have not tested it.
I'm in full Robot Expo MODE and that means too little time for robot building. Our little expo has grown and grown. We get thousands of people attending. I'm afraid next year we will need to have it at a convention center.
I still need to put together my life-size Lt. Data robot. Sheesh. There needs to be about another 30 hours in a week. Well, if I don't sleep...
Have a GREAT MONTH and See you at the Robot Expo in Riverside, CA in October!
And don't forget to
Build Better Bots!
Extra! Extra! Read All About it:
My EZ Robot Board V4 Has Arrived!
Review to come out in September!
This is the August issue of Robots and Androids!
August is here in S. Cal. It's been in the high nineties with a lot of humidity. It actually rained today for the first time in months.
I've been working on the upcoming Riverside Robot Expo 2014 and it's going to be a BLAST! This year we will be hosting a FIRST event and "to the death" robot battles!
We will be combining our event with the Star Wars Reads international event. More news to come...
So, until next time,
Build Better Bots!
°|° Walt Perko °|° and °|° RoboToons °|°
More RoboToons ? <Click Here>. More RoboToons ?
Check back each week!
This is the July issue of Robots and Androids!
July is here in S. Cal. I just got back from a much needed vacation to the Grand Canyon and Aspen Colorado. It was a nice break, although I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't spend one minute designing or programming any robots. Sigh.
I've added a couple of new articles this month and will go back to adding at least one new one per week. The first article is on a local hospital's use of the da Vinci robotic-assisted surgery system. The second one is on the Lost in Space Robot (B-9) toys. The web page was already there, but had text for a different article. See what happens when you are your own copy editor!
On another note, the local robot club has begun the planning of the Riverside Robot Expo. This year it will be held in October. In addition to our normal gaggles of robots, we will have battle-bot contests, flying robot battles and races, a FIRST robotics competition, and the Star Wars Reading day. It's going to be a BLAST!
I am currently working on my newest robot, a Lt. Commander Data replica. I'm using one of my many Elvis busts as a base.
I was hoping to have my inMoov robot finished by now, but I just don't seem to have the time to do everything that I want to do. Sigh. Last year, I did complete a steampunk R2D2 in time for the expo.
So, until next time,
Keep on building your robots!
This is the June issue of Robots and Androids!
JUNE and here in S. Cal the SUMMER HEAT IS ON! We hit nearly 100 degrees this month and it is currently in the 90s.
Well, May was a CRAZY month. I got into a traffic accident(the Robovan is busted!), taught people how to build a line following robot, gave a lecture on robotics to my daughter's grade-school class (with help from club friends Kim and Sue-THANKS!), and I went to the RCX Expo which was held in Anaheim this year. The RCX Expo (Radio Control & Hobby Expo) is a great place to learn about the latest and greatest RC toys and accessories. But I was not there for the toys, I was there to support the Robotics Society of Southern California! The RSSC put on their unbelievable ROBOT THROWDOWN! The local BattleBots-like show.
There of course was head-to-head robot combat with the strong stifling stench of burning plastic, wood and of course li-po batteries! I watched as robots won, lost and were TOTALLY DESTROYED!!!
Then there were line following races, sumobot contests, and a fire fighting contest! I didn't bring a robot to compete. I just didn't have the time to throw something together. (Those of you who know me, know that I prefer life-size robots anyway.)
But I did have a TOTAL BLAST!
And I did do some shopping and picked up some high-traction wheels for my sumo robot. I also picked up some really strong glue. (I just hope I don't glue my fingers together again!)
To go a bit off-topic, did you happen to see the newest "Dragon 2" space capsule? It was displayed, for the first time a few days back. According to the promo video, it is designed to land with RETRO ROCKETS, leaving parachutes and ocean landings seeming so old fashioned and so 1960s! The new Dragon capsule can land ANYWHERE, or at least it will be able to do that when it is finished. The head of the company, Elon Musk, has put the excitement back into the space age! Lookout NASA, you might just become yesterday's news!
Keep on building your robots!
This is the May issue of Robots and Androids!
May has been an exciting month so far:
1. The TV show “Biggest Nerd” has asked me if I know of any bright young (over 18) robot builders to compete on the show. If you would like to compete or know someone who would like to compete, just send me an email. You could WIN $100,000!
2. My new 3D scanner has arrived
3. I tried a new iPhone app 3D scanner
I bought two quad copters for racing and
POSSIBLY battling—Can you imagine airborne
5. I am running a Turing test contest for the Robotics Society of Southern California
6. I will begin renting out my robots for entertainment and educational purposes.
Someone has asked me why Google is buying up all those robot companies. Well, I have one answer: TO BUILD ROBOTS!
This is the April 2014 issue of Robots and Androids!
April is here and my Makerbot 3D SCANNER ARRIVED!!!!
Woohoo!!!!!! Review to come!!!!
At our Riverside Robotics Society, I taught our fifth Arduino C class. Lots of complements. :) Still doing something right! Sumobot was a BLAST!
Coming up in June is the LINE FOLLOWING CONTEST.
Keep on BUILDING BIGGER (and better) BOTS!
This is the March issue of Robots and Androids!
Well, March is almost gone and I'm just updating this today. Bad blogger! Bad Blogger!
At our Riverside Robotics Society, I taught our third Arduino C class. No complaints so far. :) Still doing something right! Sumobot contest is coming up in April!
Now that crazy idea still won't go away. Starting a meetup AND a kickstarter!
Well, have a great month and BUILD BIGGER BOTS!
This is the February issue of Robots and Androids!
I think that the ground hog saw his shadow, so that means there will be another six weeks of winter right? My mom lives in NJ and she says it has been snowing nearly every week this winter. And more snow is coming. Sure would like to build a robotic groundhog! Only problem is that I would only use it once a year. Kind of like a lot of the props, uh, i mean "ROBOTS" that I have built for the Riverside Robot Expo. They just sit in my garage for a year, get dusted off and put on display for a day. Perhaps after I retire I can start a travelling robot circus.
At our Riverside Robotics Society, I taught our second Arduino C class. No complaints so far. :) Must be doing something right!
I attended the FRC competition in Perris High School. Our local team, the "Metal Ducks" FIRST won! Go DUCKS! (robot quacking noises!)
Now I've had this crazy thought that just won't go away. (Yeah, another one.) I'm thinking about how cool it would be to reenact Star Wars battles in ACTUAL OUTER SPACE. Now, placing a real X-Wing into orbit might cost a lot more than I can afford, but how about a 1/10 scale R/C "robot" with a first person POV camera that could be controlled from Earth? It would be kind of like "battle bots" in space! I read that it costs 10 thousand dollars to put a kg into low earth orbit. If I put a scaled x-wing, a ti-fighter, a death star and two cameras, It might only cost about $30,000. Sounds like a KickStarter project to me!
Well, have a great month and build lots of robots!
This is the January issue of Robots and Androids!
I hope you were all good little boy and girl robot builders and got all the robot kits, servos, microcontrollers, and 3D printers that you asked Santabot for!
I got a teeny tiny quad copter for christmas this year. It's no bigger than my palm, runs about 5 minutes on a charge and is way too much fun!
At our Riverside Robotics Society, we had a great Christmas event with Santabot doing all his "Ho, ho, ho's" and Robot Betty9 singing Christmas carols. That and cake and cookies and lots of chocolates made it a GREAT meeting.
We also had a large number of people from the "Metal Ducks" FIRST club come and join us. We got to see two of their robots, one of which won a fantastic prize in the "Robot of the Month" contest.
Well, have a great new year and build lots of robots!
This is the December 2013 issue of Robots and Androids!
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please build a robot, just like that!
This is the November 2013 issue of Robots and Androids!
The Fall is finally here in the Southwest! My garage is down to 80 degrees and I'm EXHAUSTED from the RIVERSIDE ROBOT EXPO 2013!!!
(and robots are being designed and built all across the world!)
Yes, it was a GREAT EXPO! The Robotics Society of Southern California made FANTASTIC contributions to
it both in unbelievable prizes such as a BoeBot kit, as well as bringing MANY, MANY robots and the ROBOT SMACKDOWN to our humble robot expo. (And we can't thank Servo Mag for lending us tables and for providing prizes and free magazines to give away!)
Our expo included;
1. The first time LIVE BOT to BOT Robot BATTLES TO THE DEATH!
AND a 3D PRINTED InMoov Robot
AND a Steampunk R2D2
AND a regular R2D2
AND a Lost in Space Robot
And lots more!
This is the October 2013 issue of Robots and Androids!
The HOT, HUMID, SUMMER of 2013 is MOSTLY over in the Southwest! My garage is down to 90 degrees and I'm in full gear for the RIVERSIDE ROBOT EXPO 2013!!!
(and robots are being designed and built all across the world!)
Yes, it's just a few short weeks until the Riverside Robot Expo! This year we will be having for the first time LIVE BOT to BOT Robot BATTLES TO THE DEATH!
AND a 3D PRINTED InMoov Robot
AND a Steampunk R2D2
AND SO MUCH, MUCH MORE!
SEE YOU THERE!!!
(No, not Battlebots, or Robot Wars. Those names are copyrighted.)
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