Monday, June 21, 2010

The Stuff That Robot Dreams Are Made From

I know, the "stuff" is not what you think it is, stop thinking dirty. It looks like rice pudding...ummm me want to eat! Anyways, many of you probably had an idea or two to create a wonderful autonomous robot that no existing kit is able to come close. So you go through your drawers, closets, local electronics shop and even the junkyard but nothing is able to satisfy that specific design that you have in mind.

Well my human friends your robotic prayers have been answered! Here I introduce "ShapeLock". Whom ever came up with this tool enjoyed playing very much with Play-Doh when they were young. ShapeLock is able to turn your ideas into reality by using low temperature thermoplastic. This material is reusable, non-toxic, tough plastic, machine-able, paint-able and highly modifiable. You only need a bag or bottle of this thermoplastic pellets, hot water (160 F / 71 C) and your ideas! How easier could this be?

ShapeLock also offers to send you a free sample just so you can try it out if you doubt how incredible this stuff really is. Look at what the guy at Crabfu is able to create with this material. If I were you, this stuff would be in my robot lab or arsenal of the home robot inventor. Take a look at the video and let me know what you think of it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Mindstorm That Inspires Your Inner Engineer

Sometimes there comes a thing that ignites the imagination and in turn starts the firs of invention. Recently I crossed to project created by the Department of Bio-mechanics at the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena. These people used just your "ordinary" off the shelf Lego Mindstorms NXT kit to create one of the most realistic biped gaits done on any Lego! It reminds me of the early versions of Honda's Asimo when they were learning on how to perfect bi-pedal robotics. This is just one project and I know of many others that have pushed the limits of the NXT kit even out to space (or close or it)! What I mean to say is that it does not matter if you are young or old, if you want to step into robotics get a Mindstorms NXT kit. If you know of someone that may get inspired into design, engineering, robotics, programming and/or just plain solving problems get them this kit. Not even space is the limit for you and/or them! Take a look at the videos (one of the Lego NXT project, the other of the history of Asimo) and share your projects with me if you have any. Enjoy!