What’s Next then?

What is Next is Robotics. Yes, those funky little creatures with legs so they can step over, step around and (at last resort), step on things that would be in the way. Stepping around is, as in the woods, the preferred tactic. Step over is what you do when you are in a great hurry. Stepping on things has disadvantages. Such as, whatever you stepped on my be unstable, give way, be slippery and such. Leading to uncertain progress. It may also hurt innocent bystanders. And we are assuming that bystanders are innocent unless there is reason to assume otherwise. So yeah, stepping on things is a risk.

Why legs? For one thing, we have the choice with them of stepping over and around stuff. Whith wheels, we dont have that choice.

Why not just hover? Payload, weight and such – limited in hovering craft.

Why not just fly?  Like an eagle, avoid the earthly troubles and whatnot? Because I want general purpose robots. Fliers are not general purpose.

So that’s it, I will make robots with legs. But I hear some friends saying, “creatures”, as if I am the creator? Well no I am not The Creator. But I will create these robots, together with whatever hardware manufacturing support I get. Maybe just 3D printers, maybe Arduinos, ARMs and Intels and whatnot will help. Details details.

If you would like to be part of this, you can contact me in the usual ways. You can also silently help by getting me things from my wish lists, that are attached to this site. Of course I will also accept other gifts. Airline tickets, clothing, food, medicines (yes I’m sick).


Still next

So we will do walking robots. Legs can be expensive, can they not? With the feet and knees and hips and the other complicated joints, yes they can be. So if we want so sell these robots to consumers, or even have them built by consumers as DIY projects, we can’t have complicated legs. Must be simple. Hmm.

The first idea I will ditch is bipedal robots. But wait you say, MIT and other really good universities have been researching these for decades, with limited success, but they have made progress, have they not?

The reason I’m ditching bipedalism is because of the “modest success” here. If biologically inspired research as good as its reputation, we would have brilliant results by now. We do not. So why are universities full of brilliant researchers proceeding along this path that I myself am rejecting? It is pretty simple. MIT and the rest are interested as much in generating research funding as they are in finding research results. More funding means more support for students, and they students are how these universities are different from the rest of the institutions. I know this of course because I used to be a student myself, not at MIT, but at UC San Diego, kinda sorta close in reputation. Not as good, but getting there.

Also I got this idea at 3 in the morning when I was done sleeping, and I was interested in results at that moment, not in biologically inspired political correctness.

So, how many legs? Well, I’m going to try 3. Because cost is a factor, an important one, so fewer legs are better. And I want stability, so I need at least 3.

More next time on the kinds of legs, how to they move to walk. How do they move to run. That kind of thing.


Making software

More software in the making. Look at github for my recent activity: on github

Razor-Qt / LXDE

In case there is anyone who reads this blog, and also hasn’t followed light weight desktops, the Razor-Qt and LXDE desktops have merged efforts http://lxqt.org/

No Dead

I’m not actually dead. I moved and have been busy and distracted with working. Doing commercial work on UI stuff sort of limits what I can do independently 😦

Especially since some of the work done by my employer is for UI on things like farm equipment. Not that I do that, I’m just in entertainment these days. Of course entertainment done properly yields better productivity, I suppose. And in airliners, entertainment is quite useful for distracting passengers from the fact that the seats are too small and the flights can be long.


Found a promising desktop at . I’m working on making a version of this for mobiles, it seems quite suitable for the purpose.

Mobile Outdoor User Interface

Looking at user interfaces for mobile computing (phones, tablets, netbooks), it seems to me that these are designed for distractions.

You read a book to distract yourself from the boring walls in your room. Or you read an e-book. Or you play some games on your phone to distract while you’re on a boring trip on an airplane. If you don’t have money for airplane tickets, you get bored on the bus.

However. Suppose you are actually doing something that is entertaining, and you want to add to this activity. Or you want to share it. Now you’re lost with the usual UI (or UX) for your phone or your tablet, because they are not designed for this.

They are designed to take up your time while you are inactive, not assist you when you are actually doing something.

Suppose you want to make some of your outdoor activities more fun (or more productive). Lots of information is available these days to help you with that. Geographic information, weather, communication with your friends. If you are boating, there is lots of information about your boat that could make your trip better. There are lots of control aspects of your boat as well – using those more intelligently will improve your trip.

So I have started a longer term project, to make a user interface with these kinds of objectives in mind, for mobile computing. A user interface that helps you get things done to enhance whatever you are doing. If you want to join me in this effort, let me know – this is a lot of work.

Requirements, Objectives