[ExI] robotic controllers

spike spike66 at att.net
Fri Sep 30 22:07:25 UTC 2011

Oh man, I am so not hip, oy.  I went by Fry's Electronics, saw some kids
playing with a video game using a thing they call the Kinect 3D.  I started
asking questions.  It occurred to me that something like that would be just
the ticket for a robot controller: it is cheap enough and has an instruction
set that can be used directly by developers.  Coool!  This is just the thing
controls engineers like.  I don't know how long these things have been
around and I failed to notice.  The salesman said they were around last
Christmas when he was selling jillions of them.


It all got me to thinking: we have car racing, which helped develop a lot of
interesting automotive technologies, but it hasn't for a long time.  The
cars are far too specialized now, and they are all the same.  They don't
appear to have changed much in recent memory.  But we can imagine a cool new
sport: robot racing on a standard road circuit.  Since the engineering is
all controls stuff, we wouldn't even really need high performance cars:
ordinary Detroits will do just fine, older ones even, cheap, readily
available.  Then we use a Kinect 3D sensor, video game Wii accelerometers
for feedback, run the software on an ordinary laptop computer, three sets of
actuator/resolvers for the steering wheel, gas and brake and that's all we
need to get started, ja?  Then all the real engineering magic is in
software, and hell even I would pay money to see a bunch of robots race.


In ten years this sport might replace NASCAR in popularity.  


Even more of a hoot would be robot motorcycle racing.





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