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[DPRG] RE: Funding Grants for DPRG

Subject: [DPRG] RE: Funding Grants for DPRG
From: Quinones, Jose jquinones at ti.com
Date: Mon Feb 15 06:47:53 CST 2010


I never expected a reaction like this, but thanks! So that you know, I just asked the question not because I believe any of our projects has any chance at a grant like this (or any grant for that matter), but because I had no idea how else to ornament my email. Glad that it inspired some thinking process, though.

What I do believe, on the other hand, is that there is no way any of our projects (or the great majority of projects anybody in the US is working with) will ever get a grant unless we get a grant to do a project first and then we do something grant worthy. EHHH... WHAT? What I mean is none of our projects are substantial enough to get a green coated eye pointing on our direction. And why not?

We have a fair number of R2's who pretty much are toys to the scientific community. Not even George Lucas will invest a nano-cent into a project of this kind, even if he needs to shoot Star Wars 7-8 and 9. And I got to say, Jeff and Glenn's R2's are just jaw dropping. Maybe they do get a part time at Lucas Film, but they will have to compete with the hundred R2Builders in the nation. Starting with the ones already in California...

Then we have some autonomous robots. Heck! So does MIT, Georgia Tech, Berkley and another gazillion universities who actually have dozens of researchers working on these projects virtually 24/7. Most likely they do have major grants, though.

How about CNC equipment? Ron did his laser, Ed is doing his board drill mill. But just type DIY CNC on any search engine and the results are mind blowing. You can buy plans, kits or fully operational machinery. Unless somebody comes with a water jet kit (the only CNC I have not seen as a DIY kind of deal), I do not see anybody wanting to invest the big bucks in this kind of project.

Maybe there are some ideas that are commercially viable. But there is a gazillion people out there already trying concepts like this and the competition is fierce! There is Pololu, Parallax and the Legos as well as many other independent "inventors" coming up with their own development platform. Open up any Servo, Nuts and Volts, Circuit Cellar or Robot magazine and you will see their ads.

Of course, this does not mean it is impossible to get some green paper. I am certain ten years from now we will be reading from people that got lots of that from an idea that popped in their brains and we will be saying "Hey, I thought nobody was getting grants during the early 2010's!!!" Because every day, some new guy starts their own whatever-robot factory and some people buy it. One difference here and one difference there, but there is a chance!

Of course I changed the discussion a little bit from getting a grant to making money doing what we like, but at the end they are all about money, which is what got the conversation started anyway.

And remember one of the Avayanic Laws of the Universe. Money is not created nor destroyed, it is only TRANSFERRED! And the first law of moneymechanics: Money can be made to flow from places of larger density to places of lower density. Of course because of moneytropy, it always feels like money is leaking away from whatever account we have. And this of course can not be reversed... ;-)

Best regards,

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