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[DPRG] Work with researchers?

Subject: [DPRG] Work with researchers?
From: Randy M. Dumse rmd at newmicros.com
Date: Wed Jan 6 15:50:30 CST 2010

Redouane Boumghar said: Wednesday, January 06, 2010 6:01 AM
> I guess that bringing the hobbyist and the researcher 
> together is a very good thing. After all the researcher is a 
> paid passionated hobbyist. :)

I started to agree. But then I thought, usually being paid is
the boundary that separates what is hobby and what is
profession. The researchers I am thinking about are usually paid
for teaching, and on the side, they are really hobbiests working
on robotics as a side line. So there is probably very little
difference between researcher and hobbiest, when you get down to
it. Perhaps the researcher is a bit more focused, and probably
more published.

> Well I'm currently doing my PhD ...

Congratulations!

I may start on a PhD next year, myself. 
Should have an official Professional Science Masters in Physics
by end of Spring myself.

> The problem is that the core system (which makes the 
> wheels turn at a given speed for example) is 
> integrated by these engineers and techs but 
> we miss them.. they are too few to handle the heavy duty.

This is almost a perfect example of the idea I am discussing.
Many of us as hobbiest have done several such systems, and we
have well handled issues of wheel turning and PID control. But
we don't have much idea what to do beyond those basics, and
would enjoy doing the base for someone else to move forward on,
if only we could be involved.

> I would love to have my little swarm of robots to test my 
> multi-robot system.. 

Speaking of swarms, I saw this link on another hobbiest list
yesterday. 
http://formica.srobo.org/wiki/Main_Page
I can easily imagine a project like this done by DPRG members. 

Perhaps a class of let's build a swarm for research could
happen. My experience is most departments have enough money for
a few hundred dollars towards student projects. To have someone
build up a swarm for them for a small budget like that would be
an example of the kind of colaborative effort which might be
possible.

> The Hobbyist helps the researcher,
> As the reseacher helps the hobbyist.
> They give each other assistance, one has always explored 
> where the other didn't.

Hobbiests will do this sort of thing paid or not. (That's the
definition of a hobby, after all.) I don't see why they
shouldn't do it on something which moves the larger body of
man's knowledge, if that's what they'd like to do.

Do you suppose you'd like to have a swarm project yourself built
by hobbiest? Do you suppose there'd be a little money for parts
available from your department? Or a research grant? Etc.? (Of
course there's always the junk box approach.) Tell us what you
think might be possible?

Randy


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