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[DPRG] RE: Big Dog - now grants

Subject: [DPRG] RE: Big Dog - now grants
From: Bruce K. Harlan bkharlan at bkharlan.com
Date: Sun Feb 14 22:28:42 CST 2010

It would seem Dick has made an accurate assessment. Probably nothing
wrong with it, either. The difference being- do we wish, as a club, to
pursue grant money? If the answer is "no", then we are probably in good
shape except for a beer budget and another warehouse.

If we do wish to pursue grant money, then we need to alter a few things.

I have been tasked with finding some grant money for the club, but so
far, for the most part, I have been listening to others in the club to
see what we, as a club, wish to be. Generally, the answer is "Hobbyists
that pretty much wish to be left alone." If that is a correct
assessment, then that's OK, but no organization is going to grant us any
money to do so.

Of the list that Dick presented, I think the biggest problem is "No
credibility". Ouch. Grant money or not, we should be credible and
respected; we should be a club others are interested in joining. Whether
we market it or not, there is (or should be) much wisdom among an
"organization of 'old farts'"; wisdom that others wish to seek out.

Aren't we the oldest Robotics Group in the country?

Bruce Harlan

> >Will any of our robots have a chance at a grant like this? 
> Realistically no. The things we don't have going for us include:
> .         Not politically connected. 
> .         A flaky organization of "old farts". J. No criticism intended;
> just a pragmatic assessment.
> .         No tie-in to academic institution or recognized faculty researcher
> as a principal investigator. 
> .         No credibility.
> .         Likely a weak or non-existant to transition research into product.
> A $32M grant like this is impossible. If the objective was one of NSF"s
> $100K "small business" grants (I've forgotten the exact acronym) then
> there's a slight possibility. But I've looked into these in the past and
> they tend to be pretty focused on a specific goal that my work has never
> seemed to match my work. 
> If you go back and read the grant announcement you'll see that it is related
> to DARPA's "L3 Program" for robots. It's a reasonable assumption that the
> Big Dog development team has been fully plugged into and connected to the L3
> program since its initial concept and built Big Dog with just such a large
> grant in mind.
> ***************************************

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