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[DPRG] Robots in te news

Subject: [DPRG] Robots in te news
From: Blake Miller blakeage at hotmail.com
Date: Fri Nov 2 21:07:56 CST 2001

I'll try to rephrase.  You're right, my comment on (anyone) being able to 
create a r/c bot was insulting.  It was; however, in parenthesis for a 

However, I still stand by this equation:

bot + autonomy > bot

- or -

bot + RC < bot + autonomy
Assuming that most of what is included in bot + RC is actually already in 

I don't see how you can compare the creation of R/C control of the bot to 
autonomous control of the bot?  One just seems much more difficult than the 


----Original Message Follows----
>From: Tom Gralewicz <mot at ieee.org>
To: dprglist at dprg.org
Subject: Re: [DPRG] Robots in te news
Date: Fri, 02 Nov 2001 13:00:45 -0600

I'm with Chuck.  As half of the team that built Orto of Borg and
Builder/driver of T.U.S.K (a light weight Battlebot)  I think both are fun
and challenging.  At this point in the game I think its a good thing that
robots of all classes are getting more press.

At 09:59 AM 11/2/01 -0800, you wrote:
>Blake wrote:
>> > IMHO,
>> > It seems much harder to build a robot that thinks on its own than to
>>build a
>> > robot that you control.  (Anyone) could build a spinning piece of
>>metal and
>And Ralph responded:
> > I'm with you! I don't consider the radio-controlled machines
> > to be robots, but I guess "robot" is a handy term to spare mass
> > media writers some effort when reporting these events.
>Lee Felsenstein, the guy that invented the Sol-20 computer way back when,
>calls them 'Golems' rather than 'Robots' as a way of distinguishing their
>However, having been where Blake is (they're just armored R/C cars) and
>having gotten past that to actually build one, now four, I have found that
>I can no longer share Blake's opinion.
>It is _not_ easier to design a mechanism to move energy from one platform
>into another.
>It is _not_ easier to design control electronics for hundreds of amps of
>It is _not_ easier to design pneumatic actuation systems that are impact
>These are very hard problems to do well and are two of the three legs of
>the "True Robotics" tripod (Software, Hardware, Mechanics). They are just
>as hard as writing software that does path planning through a cluttered
>field, the difference is that they use another skill set.
>To build a competitive combat "robot" is just as difficult and just as
>rewarding as building a "thinking" robot. The pejorative comment "(Anyone)
>could build a spinning piece of metal ..." might easily be turned around
>to say "Anyone could build a wall hugging maze solver." But the MicroMouse
>folks have taking maze solving to a place where its serious software to
>get right, and darn difficult to become competitive. The same is true for
>BattleBots type robots.
>In one sense Blake is absolutely correct, anyone _can_ put a spinning
>piece of metal on a box with a couple of motors hooked up to an R/C
>receiver and a couple of COTS speed controllers. However, that mechanism
>will be quickly and easily defeated by someone who has developed some
>expertise in building these kinds of machines. Just like anyone could
>build a wall following maze solver but it would be beaten easily by a maze
>solving robot using full quadrant obstacle sensing.
>So before you conclude, as I had, that its a "sport" of hooking up the
>pieces and fancy marketing, go through the exercise of designing a
>competitive bot. You may be surprised, I certainly was.
>DPRGlist mailing list
>DPRGlist at dprg.org

Tom Gralewicz
mot at ieee.org

Midwest Computer Recyclers
(414) 541-1716

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