[ExI] [Bulk] Robot riding a motorcycle

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Oct 29 16:18:47 UTC 2015

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf
Of spike

>...This is specifically applicable to motorcycle racing because you can buy
factory racers.  15k will get you a race bike...spike

This whole thing really has my wheels spinning.  It occurred to me that I
understated my case.  Sure you can get a new racebike for 15k, but you
really don't need to do that.  

Next time you are out and see any modern racy motorcycle, take a good look
at it, how it is built.  Especially you mechanical engineering hipsters,
notice stuff like how sturdy the swing arm is made, and notice the triple
tree where the front forks meet the frame.  Sometimes you can't see the
frame because it is covered up with plastic pieces, but if you can see it,
notice the perimeter design.

When you study it, you soon realize that one of these bikes can be crashed
pretty hard without doing a lot of damage to the expensive stuff.  If a
prole runs one into the back of a car, notice where the front wheel hits the
frame of the bike (the engine would survive that easily.)  A modern bike can
be hurled to the pavement at speed, and there is a really good chance that
everything aft of the steering crown would be undamaged.  It would wreck the
forks, probably the triple tree and the steering crown bearings, the
mirrors, handlebar, the plastic would get scarred up, but... everything else
will likely come through fine.  It will not destroy that expensive engine,
probably won't hurt that frame, no way it will tweak that big sturdy swing
arm.  So the running gear should come out of it all right.

Some testosterone-fueled goofball crashes, decides she would rather not have
the wadded mess sitting in her garage for months reminding her what a fool
she is, lets the insurance company do what they do so well, offer the
customer a fraction of the value of the wreck and take it away.  Now we have
a perfect specimen for making a robot race bike: it needs some work, but we
were going to do that anyway.  They don't cost much, there are plenty of
them available.  No point paying 15 to 20k, let some young fool pay that,
then pick up after her for a fraction of the cost of a new bike.  

Change out the forks with new ones, replace triple tree and steering crown
bearings (all these jobs any amateur mechanic can easily manage) rig up
linear actuators with variable or releasable damping on the fork, rig up a
rotational actuator on the shifter and throttle, pressure actuators on the
brake and clutch.  Remove and discard the damaged handlebar, get rid of the
fairing or saw off the turned up inner edge, gel coat the road scars on the
plastic to reduce wind resistance.  All that was easy and inexpensive, still
inside the 4 digit range if we get the wrecked race bike cheaply enough.

OK then, now I am in territory I don't know nearly as well, the sensors.  I
welcome any sensor hipster assistance, but I am imagining something like a
pair of GoPros and a pair of MEMS ring laser gyros?  I bet we could
integrate those signals and figure out a poor-man's control system with that

The point of all that: this sport can be done cheaply.  It isn't like Indy
racing that requires million dollar sponsors; ordinary local clubs could do
stuff like this, or set up a crowd-funded project.  We could race it alone
on a track such as Laguna Seca or out on the runway at Moffett Field, so you
could do time trials and such without risking any expensive nerve-infused
material, such as skin.  We don't need a humanoid robot to ride an
unmodified motorcycle.  That is a slightly different and very cool but
waaaay more expensive sport that what I am suggesting.  Having a humanoid
robot is way overkill, and risks a lot of expensive hardware.  

Help me envision a poor-man's version of motorcycle racing where we start
with a crashed bike, replace the broken bits, throw away what we don't need,
add a few actuators, sensors and processors, convert motorcycle racing from
an athletic contest to a visually-striking programming exercise.


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