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I was lucky enough to score a Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 from Santa this year and I finally found enough time to sit down and go through the first setup stages and here are my first impressions as a complete novice with Lego NXT and programmable robotics. Continue reading
I could die a happen man today if I could lay my hands on one, actually just knowing that they exist is enough.
But is it truly robotic I hear you say? What does it do? Play itself? Thankfully the answer to that is no. Playstation Ultimate Rockstar can rest easy yet nervously on the shelves at department stores for a while longer yet.
This babies main features are that it TUNES itself perfectly. And that is no mean feat, and not just standard A440 tuning either, it can do just about all of the bizarre stuff that made Sonic Youth and the Smashing Pumpkins sound so fucking cool in the 90s grunge era.
Every broken a string in the middle of a song in a set on stage? No? Well let me tell you how much it SUCKS. If it was a vacuum cleaner it would be Dyson bagless super sucker. It really sucks hard. And changing a string in between songs is not something anyone really wants to do cause it takes time. Not anymore. The Gibson Robot Guitar will have that broken fucker off and a new one wound on in nano-seconds with its unique (and patented) String Up mode. And tuned perfectly!
Purists of the 1957 flametop would probably dive head first into a bucket of infected pigs blood before they would play a robotic Gibson guitar that tuned itself but for me its the perfect blend of geek heaven meets guitar fetish and I want one more than the Rolex I have been crapping on about getting for my 40th birthday for who knows how long…ok maybe not that much, but quite a bit.
I remember being around 8 or 9 years old and throwing a massive turn about getting the toy that I wanted from Target, TOBOR, which of course was a sound and motion activated robot. I thought he was the coolest thing in the world but at around $100 some 30 years ago he probably wasn’t very affordable.
Nonetheless endless whinging and bizarre commitment goes a long way and I got one for Christmas that year. I think that was the start of a very long infatuation with robots. One that I am not sure is entirely healthy as I seem to act rather impulsively and irrationally when I discover a robot is available to the general public, aka me, and I dont have it. Surely this isnt healthy for a mid thirties man with a responsible job, mortgage, partner et al?
Regardless of its pyschological validity the infatuation continues. Here are just a few of my most prized and ridiculous collection leading up to the latest discovery of a semi-affordable robot that I dont yet own.
The Robosapien was instantly attractive and fasicnating to me. At less that $200 a few years ago I immediately validated that it was reasonable that i get one – purely from a collectors standpoint. I would leave it in its box and keep it until it was really valuable just like all those tin toys from the early 1900s. Yeah right. It was out of the box singing dancing and farting within 15 mins of it being home.
He was fun for a little while but ridiculous controls made him feel really erratic and the demographic that he was aimed at – young children! – made him a hit and miss with me. I never found fart humour really that funny. He still has a place on my robo-shelf in a suitably ridiculous robo-pose.
Then came the Roboraptor. Another Wowee robot aimed at robot fascinated young boys with ridiculously difficult controls but a very cool roam feature that let him mosey on about the house at his own pace discovering stuff. But again I tired easily of him with its limited function and kinda silly toy aspects. I was really looking for a serious robot that would do what I programmed it to do or at least was a little less child focused.
Still a very affordable addition to the collection because of it’s toy status and unless you have a cool grand up your sleeve you arent realistically going to find much on the market – that is until recently…
I started following a blog and subscribed my google alerts to a company called Ugobe who released the Furby in the 80s who were developing a toy dinosaur – JOY! – that had learning capability. I thought all of my dreams had come at once. It took forever to fully develop and then get released into Australia and before I actually committed the ah hem $500 RRP they cost the company announced bankruptcy. I was devastated. And poor Pleo would soon be extinct again!
But not before I saved one of those precious baby camasaurus’.
Pleo is a wonder of robotics and engineering. He has a sensitive skin and pressure zones that react to your touch, sight and sound, and he develops over time from the first time that you turn him on. He is currently crouched down on all fours very sedately snoozing on my robo-shelf as I type this. A delight and sad loss to the robot community of cool gadets that Ugobe folded. Sigh.
Which brings me to my most recent find. The TOMY i-sobot. Claimed to be the worlds smallest robot at 6 1/2″ tall with over 17 servers this little beast is an absolute hoot that I MUST add to my collection. At time of posting this I couldnt find him in online stores in Australia but easily could have ordered instantly on ebay for as little as $195 AUD which I put firmly in the completely reasonable and rational purchase zone. Watch a quick video demo to see why I must have one!
So the robots are getting cheaper and cheaper and if sales of the robot vaccuum cleaner Roomba are any indication you will see more and more of cheaper priced robots finding their way into your homes and making your life easier before you can say rocketdogbulldozer.com.
My very own baby dinosaur, some say robot, I say real baby dinosaur.
I cant wait to ‘wake him’ up, its as close as I am gonna get to having a baby.
He is still sleeping at the moment (read battery charging) and then he is ‘born’ (read switched on).
I am still deciding on a name, Ruddosaurus, Rocket, Bulldozersaurus…suggestions welcome.
I’m very curious to find out if I can suspend disbelief at all and treat him like a real pet or my curiosity will get the better of me and I will tear its skin off in the first few weeks and get at it with a screwdriver to see how it works -cause thats the kinda guy I am. Winning that science fair by making a hover-craft out of a alfoil pie dish and a Scalectrix car motor had a profound effect on me some 32 years ago.
I’m actually quite amazed that all the Ugobe stuff has come down off the web so quickly, if anyone knows about support please drop me a line. I’m thinking the BIOS updates could be hard to come by now, but if it makes my new pet dinosaur more exotic and rare I so be it. Just how big can a green robot dinosaurs carbon footprint be?
So it’s nice to be Stimulated, thanks K Rudd, now lets just hope you and your FEE HELP scheme doesn’t make me bleed too badly come tax time, you know I hate having to pay you back – can’t I just ask forgiveness?
My English teacher in year 5 taught me to never end a sentence on a supposition and I’ve never understood what that means, but then again I also asked him what a faggot was in class whilst reading Fame the novel and from memory I think he slapped my hands with a ruler. Noice. I blamed Leroy for using that word in anger in the novel and my mum told me what it really meant later on that night when I was asked about my hands being welted up. No wonder I pretty much hated school as a kid.
I cant believe that my favourite robot dog has been made extinct, well nearly, possibly. Actually i dont really know the future at all but I am hedging my bets that this little robot Camasaurus has all but bitten the dust after inventor and impressionist Caleb Chung filed for bankruptcy blaming the GFC.
God I am sick of hearing that acronym. Especially where robotic dinosaurs are in question.
I ordered mine today. Thanks K Rudd for the stimulation, just what I needed to get myself a pet robotic dinosaur and maybe some new shoes. At least I did my bit for the economy! I find some childish boy-guilt pressure relief by saying that as I supported an Australian retailer who was having a run out sale on them by purchasing mine.
I think they might even become something of a collectors item now they may not be manufactured any more. Same thing happened with Sony’s AIBO when they closed shop. Might be a niche market in keeping them alive even, better change my degree to one in advanced robotics and AI quickly.