Should I put my Rhino on eBay?

I have a five axes fully functional robotic arm with controller, slider and instruction manual. It was used to develop an automated video sales machine
back when we thought there would be a market for such a device. Since then, NetFlix and others took the lead and we are left with a bunch of hardware and software that can easily be used to teach fundamental robotics and automation.
I'm looking for ideas on how to make the most of this investment. I don't expect to recover the actual costs, nor, quite frankly, am I interested in that. What I want is to place the system in hands that could actually benefit from it. I'm suggesting an eBay listing where I also provide freight, setup and initial programming instructions to the buyer. See the XR at http://www.robotswanted.com/robotgallery/rhino/ and visualize a slide and rotary axes as well.
Also have a Minarik PLC with really interesting sequential programming capabilities in addition to the normal ladder logic.
And a Model 100 Radio Shack laptop with original Bill Gates Basic on it!
Any ideas?????
Wayne in Chula Vista, California. (A stone-throw from Tijuana)
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Wayne, Post a note on the San Diego robot user group list at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SDRS-List /
and consider coming to the meeting this Saturday. There may be one or two people there who might be interested in the Rhino. Definitely check eBay completed auctions to see the average going price. If you can't get at least that from a private local sale (saves on freight, at least), consider eBay.
Can't say the same for the Model 100, except as a museum piece. It has about the same power as the proverbial "$5 microcontroller," so that's your competition! <g>
PS: Were you involved in the video sales machines that were advertised on TV? I sorta wondered what the market for those would be. I envisioned one possible market being in adult videos, but for that, sales not rental. I guess the idea was a little too late.
-- Gordon
Wayne Lundberg wrote:

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---snip---
Thanks Gordon, can't make this Saturday. Are they still having meetings at the Tech school up there off Aero Drive?
I did an eBay sold price check some time ago and it was most discouraging. Will do again, thanks for the reminder.
The project was to develop self-serve video sales outlets at supermarkets and the like but the video stores were doing quite well and the margins were very low for the kind of investment required for self service. And we ran into an impossible software barrier which to this day is the bane of further robotic applications; there is no way way use optics to sort through random stacks and then align them in such a way as to be perfectly conformable for a pick and place mechanism. Even when the customer very carefully replaces the video there was always something in the way and hardly ever were able to stack the video into a slot with the kind of accuracy required. Software killed the project. Or, software and sensors combined. The robots are quite accurate and replicate nicely. But it's the feeding of the beasts that gets you into trouble every time. Of course we knew this even back then. This project dates to late 80's early 90's - and the problem is still the deterrent to further robotic automation. Hard automation, like the Bodine systems, continue to outperform flexible automation. But boy are they expensive!
Wayne
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Wayne Lundberg wrote:

No, it's now in North County, in one of the members' garages. The monthly announcements on the Yahoo list include a map. Maybe next time.

<snip>
I can imagine the difficulties considering it requires the cooperation of the customer, some of whom can't be trusted. Video cassettes have always been problematic because tape content can be swapped out, and you can't always stamp some barcode on a DVD to ensure the customer isn't just returning an AOL signup disc.
OTOH, I still do think a POS vending machine for *sales* and not rental could work in today's market. Given DVDs there's really no reason to create an elaborate robotic mechanism inside, though, as the machine could work like an ordinary vending machine. This wouldn't be for new releases, but for the $1-$5 product now being produced. Basically impulse buy stuff.
Rental *could* work in the motel/hotel setting, where the disc is dropped back into the machine, and a human (checks and) reloads it. It can work there because the guest has left his/her credit card -- usually, anyway -- and would agree to pay any fees for forgetting to return the disc. Frankly, it would work best for adult titles, and of course for hotels and motels not interested in investing in a VOD system. There's gotta be some of those around.
But alas, the road not taken, and all that...
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote: [snip]

Yeah, but those places tend to be cash only, in addition to letting rooms by the hour.
Or so I've heard.
--
(Replies: cleanse my address of the Mark of the Beast!)

Teleoperate a roving mobile robot from the web:
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The Artist Formerly Known as Kap'n Salty wrote:

Gee, Where you been staying at? I had my pick of all sorts of blue movies at my latest stay at a well-known family hotel chain! Not that I watched any -- my bill was paid for by my company. *Now* do you see why an on-demand adult DVD vending machine would be popular???
-- Gordon
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On Mon, Aug 01, 2005 at 08:00:41PM +0000, Wayne Lundberg wrote:

Definitely it's the lack of environmental controls, i.e., "the real world", that is the killer of some real potential for automation. Robotics perform wonderfully when the environment can be tightly controlled. But it takes only minor deviation from the "workstation" environment to send it off into the weeds.
I am amazed at some of the things people say when talking about robot instructions. I.e., talking seriously about Asimov's laws - about robots being able to tell when a human is in danger and other such nonsense. Sensor technology today is pretty far stretched in even detecting a human, let alone being able to recognize that one might be in danger and then formulate the response to prevent it!
I'm still amazed at how many people are fooled by the Mini Cooper "robot".
Even so, one would think that video cassette sorting would be something that would be doable. Perhaps I'm being guilty of my own pet peeve by oversimplifying a complex problem, but maybe instead of having a video drop box or similar where the videos could be very difficult to sort out, instead present a rectangular opening that the video can only be inserted, one at a time, and feed the video in from there with something like pinch rollers on either side, top and bottom. It could only be inserted 4 different ways (forward, backward, top up, and top down). Create a mechanism to detect and re-orient the video at that point which seems entirely doable. And then feed the video into the next phase where the arm waits for nicely and regularly oriented video cassettes for restocking.
I'm sure this is much easier said than done. Maybe you already tried that, or hit other barriers.
-Brian
--
Brian Dean
ATmega128 based MAVRIC controllers
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ran
further
random .---snip---
Aligning the return video was my first challenge and then designing the rack into which to put each video and retrieve them. I used suction cups with a powered vacuum pump plus gripping mechanism to pull, push and move the boxes. Also used a mid-step alignment station, kind of like a funnel thing, to push the box and make sure the gripper and box were in perfect alignment before restocking and before inserting into dispenser. We could have solved the problem, but the interface between customer credit card and barcode data on the box and other motion problems drove our programmer nuts and into the hospital and simply could not come up with a final solution. This was back in the late 80's and early 90' where CPlus was the driving software of the day.
Wayne www.pueblaprotocol.com
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This sounds an awful lot like a tape library. Cartridges (tapes) are stored in slots. Moved to and from tape drives by a robot mechanism. Most of them have a mailbox or export port for inserting and removing cartridges without opening the robot. These aren't cheap but the technology is doable and shipping daily by Adic, Quantum, StorageTek etc. Ditch the tape drives and your there.
As far as identifying returns, for cds and dvds, a digital signature of the first few hundred kbytes of the content can be stored and used to quickly identify the disk. This is used by the online cd databases to fetch the track titles for cds on Windows Media Player etc.
Of course doing all of this in the early 90's would be more problematic since DVDs really weren't there. For identifying VHS, the problems get trickier.
These dispensers exist now. They are called Red Box or some such and are sitting in the lobby of the McDonald's down the street from here.

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: Can't say the same for the Model 100, except as a museum piece. It has : about the same power as the proverbial "$5 microcontroller," so that's : your competition! <g>
Model 100's are still popular for peoplw who want a simple, long lasting note taker. There is a market. You can even get updated ROMs for it.
--
==========================================================
Chris Candreva -- snipped-for-privacy@westnet.com -- (914) 967-7816
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Christopher X. Candreva wrote:

Come to think of it, this is a good idea. But alas, they don't seem to go for much on eBay. There's a current auction with a day left: three for $50. Avg. completed auction is about $20. Still, it's better than collecting dust in the closet.
-- Gordon
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Wayne Lundberg wrote:

I just got rid of a pretty nice industrial robot by donating it to a local college. It did not look worth the effort to EBay. If you can get some indication of it's value, your financial return is your tax rate times the documentable value. The Karmic return is probably better.
Bob
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.> I just got rid of a pretty nice industrial robot by donating it to a

Good thought. The daggon thing cost over 8 K when we bought it!
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