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[DPRG] Is subsumption old hat? .... and who careswhattheacademics and doing?

Subject: [DPRG] Is subsumption old hat? .... and who careswhattheacademics and doing?
From: Pete Miles robots at walkingrobots.com
Date: Wed Sep 12 16:03:49 CDT 2007

Interesting point...

For most hobbiests, playing with software is the most they can do.  Money is what is keeping most hobbiest from moving
up to the next level.  The price for individual components (like sensors, actuators, custom machined parts) begins to
exceed the entire budget for the project.  If you can't afford to make the next leap, you are just not going to do it.
So we work with the highly limited budget, and tweak software to maximize performance.  If hobbiests could afford the
components that goes to make a DARPA Grand Challenge vehicle, then there wouldn't be a DARPA Grand Challenge because
this would then be a trivial exercise.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Mr S" <szinn_the1 at yahoo.com>
To: <dprglist at dprg.org>
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 1:26 PM
Subject: Re: [DPRG] Is subsumption old hat? .... and who careswhattheacademics and doing?

> I think there is a small problem with 'what the academics are  doing, and this is of course just MHO.
> Academics and people who write for a living have a prestated goal. While that is not always the driving factor for
research and books, it does print a lot of books and bring a lot of research grants.
> Subsumption is well suited to a pic/AVR etc. type robot with two servo motors and a couple of sensors. What DPA did
with J-Bot is pushing the boundaries of what hobbyists can and should be doing. Much of what is available in the
robotics market is based on the consolidation of hobbyist practices and methods rather than truly being inventive. The
little walker robots are clever, and fun to watch, but only really help in the next step. Their use is currently limited
by power/weight ratios and such nuisances.
> As the controllers available to hobbyists become more powerful, there will be more work on non-subsumption based
architectures. If you want prime examples of the current paradigm, DARPA has been setting that challenge for all of us.
Space and underwater robots, UAVs, and robotic extensions to all sorts of things mechanical. Think of a robotic gun
mount that keeps all the solders INSIDE the humvee and still manages to keep the .50 cal on target.
> There are huge advances in wireless communications (RFID zigbee, WLANs, and automotive comms) for sensors and for
data. If you can overlook the flaming laptops, there are huge advances in power technology. DPA has shown that it is
possible to get hold of Inertial navigation sensors andput them to use.
> So, when there is curiosity, and desire, newer technology will be put together on a robot, perhaps one that mows the
lawn in an organized manner, or one that vacuums the carpet AND monitors the house for security.. there are lots of
things that can be done, but it requires tighter sensor fusion, and more processing and memory capabilities than are
currently used by hobbyists...
> So, My vote for the next big thing... hmmmm whatever makes hobby robotics fun, and is affordable AND adds more
capabilities in a structured way. See sensor fusion, stateful memory, plus subsumption, and advanced technology
improvements on the necessary hardware bits.
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