An Idea That Will Rocket Robotics

You make those new Manoi kits upgradeable the way desktop computers are. You then have a place in the middle of the manoi for a
pda/cellphone making it useful. Then you get latex, the kind they use to make the novelty real dolls and you come up with different anime themes and costumes to clothe your Manoi skeleton.
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Ren wrote:

Did you mean rocket, or torpedo?
-- Joe Legris
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Well said! :-)
I've never understood why some people want robots that look like humans. I want one that looks and functions like a ROBOT.
If you want something warm soft & female, wearing japanese school girl's uniform... move out of your parent's basement and maybe you'll meet one.
--------------------------------------------------------------- Men never do evil so completely or cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal ---------------------------------------------------------------
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snipped-for-privacy@cave.mil wrote:

Like a character out of RUR? They were vaguely humanoid... or more like....a pick-and-place robot? Could be aesthetically pleasing I suppose....or like the Mars Rover?
Perhaps you are of the school that believes form follows function. I know I do- excessive decoration tends to turn me off. An MP-5 looks deadly because it *is* deadly.
However, this person is expressing an idea that he believes has some sort of potential; most likely commercial success. And he might not be wrong. There are large numbers of people, websites, and companies that are heavily drawn to the concept of humanoid automata and robots. Are they wrong? Is Rodney Brooks a dolt? www.ai.mit.edu/projects/humanoid-robotics-group/
I guess your reaction os a manifestation of 'technological racism': www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000675.htm Just my 2 pennies. So what *is* a Manoi, anyway?
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Tarkin wrote:

I looked it up on google.
http://www.digitalworldtokyo.com/2006/07/say_ahoy_to_manoi_the_freakyco.php
Doesn't have much room for hacking. Maybe if you lop off the head you can mount an extra controller board, etc, on top the shoulders.
Regards humanoid or utiliarian robot, etc, it's funny what yanks people's chains. Lately everyone I know seems to want to build a little humanoid, or at least a biped, whereas it's obvious that something with 4 or 6 legs could carry much larger loads, and be much more stable over almost any terrain except for maybe climbing a vertical wall.
My 19-YO nephew saw the following thing, and immediately wanted one ... and had no idea whatsoever what it takes to build something this advanced ...
http://www.etek.chalmers.se/~almir /
Likewise, people used to talk about the "next killer app" for PCs. Now it turns out the big killer app is watching DVDs and playing music. Buy a 2-Ghz cpu to watch movies on. That's brilliant.
I was shopping for a notebook PC recently, and the only ones they had in the store had mirror-lcd displays which were great from watching movies from across the room, but had horrible reflections of both the overhead lights and also the "back" wall in the store.
Don't people use these things for real work anymore?
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It's not about carrying loads; it's about beating the other guy. I have to admit, I'm in the same camp. Robot sumo was a neat idea, but pretty quickly gets dull; the winners are always some little wedge, and the match is pretty much over in about 2 seconds. Robo-One competitions, on the other hand, are far more varied and interesting.
Also, let's see your 4- or 6-legged robot navigate something like this:
<http://www.robots-dreams.com/2006/08/roboone_special_2.html
I'm not saying they couldn't -- I'd just like to see it. :)
Best, - Joe
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Joe Strout wrote:

Yeah, too bad. Sounds like someone [namely Greg] made a wedgie, started beating everyone else, and and the mini-sumo interest waned at FRRC. That's the problem with contests based on brawn, rather than brain.
I'll look at the Robo-one videos when I get to a high-bw link. That's quite an advanced contest, and any robots that can do it successfully are somewhat advanced beyond most of the walkers I've seen in the US. The japanese are quite far ahead of us on doing such things. [helps, also, to start with a $2000 robot with digital servos]. EG, the Seattle Robothon contest is just run down to the end of the track, turn around, and come back. Speed, not brains, wins. My hexapod can't win it on time, driving the servos at maximum warp, but if the course were a little more complicated, it would have a better chance.
BTW, I'll also bet that the bipeds on the page you mentioned will do the course much better if they can put their hands "down" when negotiating the obstacles. IOW, act like quadrupeds. Every baby knows this by 6 months of age. ;-)
.
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Joe Strout wrote:

I was astounded at the knee-jerk reaction to the OP. "If it's not my idea it sucks!"
But -yeah- different 'bots for different tasks.

Joe, that was the coolest things I've seen in a while! (Dan, get bb soon!) Was it just me, or did Dynamizer seem to shake his head every time he fell over- it seemed amazingly anthromorphic.
Cheers, Tarkin
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The bots on that video are really cool. But, are they R/C bots or are they totally autonomous? I can't tell from the little I read on the site but I assume they are R/C. Is that right?
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snipped-for-privacy@kcwc.com (Curt Welch) wrote:

Yes, that's right. Obviously they have to have the motions pre-programmed (15-20 DOF is a bit much to control manually!), but the operator selects the motions with some sort of controller.
Best, - Joe
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Dynamizer does shake his head regularly. Sugiura, and his family, are focused on the creation of robots as avatars. His oldest son, Yuta, is a sophomore in college and just won a venture capital contest (and considerable funding) for his proposal to design and build robotic avatars. Yuta's robot is named RETRO, and won the sprint event at the same competition.

It depends on the competition. For the ROBO-ONE Eagle they are operating in R/C mode, though some of the competitors like Maeda (OmniZero.2) have built in some sensors and limited autonomous behavior.
Some of the other ROBO-ONE Special events, specifically the sprint and the ball contests, the robots have to operate completely in autonomous mode.
For the regular competitions some of the builders have begun implementing autonomous ability. King Kizer, OmniZero.2, Majingaa, and several others have the ability to track and attack their opponent. So far it's pretty primative - good for high scores from the judges during the qualifying demonstration part of the competitions, but when they go up against an R/C controlled robot in the ring they usually end up losing, so most of them aren't using it during the bouts yet.
Lem Robots Dreams http://www.robots-dreams.com
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Tarkin wrote:

I don't think my comment indicated bipeds suck, but I'm still kind of amazed at how everyone seems to want a "little man" these days :). Joe can easily get one of those to run the Roboone contest if he wants to shell out $1500 or $2000 to get something that's already all designed for him.
http://www.sozbots.com/robo-one/buyone.html
Also, my nephew I mentioned kind of amuses me, because he thinks that a PC "power user" is someone who has a 2-Ghz machine to play hi-res video games and watch DVD movies. Power user. Many of the current generation of expensive toys are really meant for people who are techno-neophytes. I guess the same people who will spend $1000 to buy a glorified DVD player will buy a $1500 robot off-the-shelf too.

Shaking its head is the easy part, let me tell you :).
Joe's interest seems to have rapidly gone from the local mini-sumo contests to one of the hardest hobby robot contests in the world. There's quite a large learning margin in between. Also, as someone mentioned, if the contest mentioned actually involves the owners controlling the robots via R/C link, that's really not very interesting, especially when you buy an off-the-shelf bot to begin with. OTOH, "autonomous" biped soccer contests are probably about the current edge. Now, those are interesting.
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Well, sure, but that's out of my budget by a factor of 10-20. :) I'll get there someday, though -- so far I have two servos and a Pololu servo controller.

Maybe so (though I'm not one of these).

True. I never said it wasn't hard, nor did I say it was within my grasp). I only said it was interesting.
My current efforts are mostly geared at towards making a small modular robot on wheels, that I hope will someday be able to do something mildly interesting. (But that almost certainly won't be mini-sumo; it wouldn't stand a chance against even the simplest specialized sumo wedgebot.)
Perhaps part of what makes the Robo-One contests more interesting than sumo is that, by their very nature, the contestant robots HAVE to be more general than sumo bots. A successful sumo bot is generally good for nothing else except sumo. But a successful Robo-One bot has to be able to walk, climb stairs, jump, navigate a "rope" (OK, actually pipe), play soccer, and much more. Many of the good ones can do even more, such as rappel down a rope. A bot that can do all that is a pretty general robot, and more likely able to entertain party guests (e.g. by dancing). That's cool, to me at least.

Well, different people can have different interests I guess, though I tend to agree that an off-the-shelf bot with stock programming isn't much of a challenge. But the vast majority of the Robo-One bots -- especially the ones that win -- are built and programmed from scratch. Many of them by kids. Give these guys some credit; these are miniature marvels of engineering.
Also, when I ask myself what robots (apart from repetitive-action factory machines) are actually GOOD for -- i.e., where they are going to make a significant impact on humanity -- many of the answers I come up with actually involve teleoperation. For example, teleoperated robots could be significant contributors to opening the space frontier, by doing assembly/maintenance/inspection tasks in orbit and on the Moon (yes, despite the time lag). These Robo-One bots are perhaps the most advanced teleoperated robots yet developed, and I can easily imagine scaled-up versions of them working in space. That's interesting to me.
Autonomous contests are very interesting too (I have degrees in psychology and neuroscience all due to my long interest in AI). But realistically speaking, we're not going to have autonomous androids doing anything much that's useful in near-Earth space (which is my other main area of interest) any time soon.
Best, - Joe
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Joe Strout wrote:

You can use an inexpensive mini-sumo style or differential-steered platform driven by servos [which are easier to control than regular motors], as a general base to build all sorts of intelligent autonomous bots.
They use the Kephera platform ["expensive" mini-sumo style] for all kinds of sophisticated AI work ...
http://www.k-team.com /

Yeah, all of which are already built into the off-the-shelf platforms.

I'll have to check this.

That's an entirely different area.

Apparently NASA has been working on an "android", or at least the arm portion, to send into space to install replacement gyros in Hubell telescope, but of course, there will be NOTHING whatsoever autonomous about it. 100% human control.

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Actually, it has lots of room for hacking and expansion. The body shells are polycarbonate - the same type as they use for the R/C car bodies - which makes it easy to customize, or to vacuum form your own shells. There's quite a bit of room under the shells to build in stuff.
When I first got mine, part of the monitor (beta tester) program, I was a little concerned about how much additional load it could carry, but after talking to some of the folks here it turns out that the servos used in the AT01 are the same dimensions, interface, and electrical characteristics as the higher torque 4000 series line. One of my friends has swapped out the leg servos already and more than doubled the available torque.
Lem Robots Dreams http://www.robots-dreams.com
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Hi Lem. Thanks for the additional information.
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