[ExI] Homebrew Robotics

David C. Harris dharris234 at mindspring.com
Tue Apr 21 10:32:33 UTC 2009

Dagon Gmail wrote:
> In a few years (and I am talking - less than a decade) the first 
> manufacturer will
> start selling robotics and robotics parts that are so simple and yet 
> so rugged and
> versatile they can be mass-marketed, with demand in place. Now assume 
> a robot
> weighing about as much as a dog, of similar size, able to traverse 
> most of your
> home. Whereas the hardware frame of such a device should change much, the
> computer and software parts should evolve and upgrade very fast.
> ...

> Anyone has any wild, lateral ideas on how that change will occur? Any 
> opportunities
> for second generation businesses?
Yes!  For years I attended the Homebrew Robotics meetings that used to 
occur at Alza in Palo Alto.  Over and over I saw people make a 
humanoid-looking machine but prove unable to program it for anything useful.

Consider building "teleoperators" that do things for owners at a distant 
location, by transmitting a lot of commands.  Start with full use of 
human abilities and interests, and then start gradually automating tasks 
from the bottom up.  Use WiFi and smart phones to transfer commands to 

As for businesses, there are many people who are getting old and 
starting to need assistance with medical problems.  Not only medical 
teleoperators, but also for self-care assistance.   My father died 
recently, after a year of costly care to feed and clean him as he lost 
capacities.  Watching him reminded me that something like 1/3 of our 
national (United States) medical costs are spent in the last year of 
life.  That's big money for buying automated devices that save money!  
But be aware that the Japanese are working on personal care robots, and 
use what you can from their research.

David Harris, Palo Alto, California.

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