Re: Speaking of bi-peds and jobs

One job they don't list is Director of Reality. After all the robotics
companies that have come and gone, they should know they need someone
who can determine what people are actually willing to buy, then make
that. Rather, they are trying to develop technology that might possibly
could be hopefully useful someday in robotics.
A universal bipedal platform is a nifty concept. But unless this company
has some remarkable surprises already fleshed out, they'll be creating
the same old limited stuff everyone else is. The unfunny thing, the
limited stuff can be *very* useful, if people would set their sights a
little more realistically.
Let's look at the concept of approaching this realistically one other
way. The Japanese are at the forefront of robotics breakthroughs because
they started from a realistic starting point, then worked up. They
didn't try to start at the top. Japan has the talent base to make an
Asimo because they've been at it for so long. They have far more
industrial robots per capita than any other country (about 1 robot for
every 300 people; in the US it's 1 in 3000).
I'd be far more impressed if Anybot started with a BasicBot, gained some
engineering and marketing experience from that, and worked up from
there. Either that or I should have taken that CEO position for my first
job out of high school...
-- Gordon
Robots for Less at Budget Robotics:
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Robot Builder's Sourcebook & Robot Builder's Bonanza
dan michaels wrote:

> There is an article in the 1 September Forbes magazine about this
> company, founded by Trevor Blackwell, who made a little $$$ out of a
> Yahoo acquisition.
> 5 1/2 foot bi-ped robot in development. Also, jobs for roboticists
> available in the Mountain View [CA] area.
Reply to
Gordon McComb
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You might just be right, Gordon. OTOH, there are probably a few out-of-work engineers around who could use a paycheck. :)
- dan ================
Reply to
dan michaels
Sure, but they still could get a paycheck, and probably keep their jobs for longer, if the vision were something this side of Tau Upsilon IV.
I cringe whenever people announce this type of hyperbole without anything concrete to back it up. Kamen's approach is much better -- he just doesn't talk about it until it's out, and we're wow'ed just the same. Maybe more. (We'll never know if Segway was actually planned to hover. Imagine the disappointment if Kamen said it would, but it turned out to be "just another wheeled" thingie.)
Too much hyperbole eventually uses up all the interest quotient the public has in a fledgling technology.
-- Gordon Robots for Less at Budget Robotics:
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Robot Builder's Sourcebook & Robot Builder's Bonanza
Reply to
Gordon McComb
I guess when you're one of the guys who made a bundle during the by having yahoo buy out your company, then Forbes mag fires up their hyperbole engines. Speaking of which, I wonder how well Bill Gross and evolution is doing these days? The other big robots for the people whizzbang. ?????
Reply to
dan michaels
I have heard (from members of my local user group, who recently bought one) sales of the ER-1 have basically crawled to a near-stop, and I noticed some sellers, like Amazon, have discontinued it.
OTOH, the site is now multi-lingual with Japanese and Korean sub-sites added. Maybe this means they're selling better in Asia. The vision recongition of the ER-1 is the prize; the mechanics and motor control electronics are only adequate. Other than that, Korea and Japan could readily replicate the ER-1, so having interest from Asia can be a mixed bag.
Hyperbole is a double-edged sword. We're naturally enthusiastic about our own ideas and creations, but new technologies seldom work out the way we first plan. We must leave room for adjustments, even complete surprises that produce new directions. Louis Pasteur's assistant discovered the material that would become Rayon from a lab accident, for example.
-- Gordon Robots for Less at Budget Robotics:
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Robot Builder's Sourcebook & Robot Builder's Bonanza
Reply to
Gordon McComb
Speaking of which - 2 other things to report.
1 - I saw the Roombavac in the local Target dept store this past weekend - so iRobot marketing has a major convert - mass marketing. Also, story in the Denver Post yesterday about the 2 new advanced versions of roomba, Pro and Elite, IIRC. A few more features - better sensors, remote control, etc.
2 - Dean Kamen was on the news this morning with his iBot wheelchair, climbing stairs. It has an interesting drive train. 4WD with the front+rear axles able to completely flip over each other. This way one set of wheels is on a step, and the other set flips over and positions itself onto the next higher or lower step. Makes for a very smooth transition with essentially no up and down bouncing. Clever.
For fun, he drove it into about 6" of damp sand up to the axles, and almost got stuck, but the 4WD pulled him through. Then, with the wheels covered with damp sand, he elevated the frame up onto just 2 wheels and balanced. That was impressive. Slippery wheels balancing 400# or so with nary a tremor.
Reply to
dan michaels

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