The Evil Hooverbot

Technical department has begun the assembly of a new robot. It will be based on our experience from Maxi Wanzl (r.i.p.), avoiding at least some of the many pitfalls from this project. And probably falling into some new.

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The problems with Maxi was many. She was big and clumsy, slow, needed a soccer field to make a turn, mechanical parts broke down all the time, took to much space to store etc etc. This one will be small, fast, and elegant (we hope).

The body:

An old Nilfisk vacuum cleaner found at Skrot Tor. A real beauty, so we will try too treat it with respect.

Movement:

IMG_1624IMG_1625The motors and gear system of two cheap cordless drills. Perfect for our mission. To control these motors we are using the FET transistor that was inside the drill, two relays to change the running directions, and the PWM outputs from a USB interface card. As simple and cheap as it gets. The motors drives the wheels directly, giving minimal chance of failure.

Head:

IMG_1609IMG_1621The head will include a webcam. The viewing angle of a webcam is very small, so the head must be able to move in all directions to get a real overview. This will also be a charming feature, giving the thing personality together with  “eyes” made of cool old incandescent 7-segment displays which I happen to have plenty of at work. Animating the displays we can probably give it some nice expressions. To move the head we use some cheap RC servos instead of trying to make some slow, weak and malfunctioning contraption ourselves. The mouth is a speaker mounted on the stationary part of the robot making bleepy sounds R2D2 style. We will reuse and tweak the voice patch of Maxi Wanzl which I think was brilliant.

Intelligence:

Ok, we have not thought too much of it yet. Maybe none. Maybe some. I do not have to high expectations of what we can make it do yet. Our primary goal will be to get it online so it can be controlled from internet with help from the webcam. You will be most welcome to visit our robot online if we get this running, a bit like in “Being John Malkovich”.

We still do not have a name for it and thus don’t know which sex it is. Probably male though. Any suggestions for a name is appreciated.

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MouseMan Mapping Madrid

We finally got the documentation together, so here are the photos from the making off and the opening day. This was one crazy project, we did our set-up in May in between the workshop we held, then one month later when it was inauguration time we finished the installation remote desktopping from Norway. Maybe for the first time I had the feeling of telepresence as we instructed the people at IED to walk in the room, chatted in WordPad and tried to calibrate the machine.

The installation is still running for one more week, upload your holliday photos from Madrid here.

El Mundo had an article about it.