Live Robot Hack Session
DJ Sures

1983 Robot Magazines show robots haven't changed

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Take a trip with us into the past down memory lane - or - aka the time before now! We spend 3 and a half hours browsing 3 robot magazines from 1983 that show the robot industry hasn't changed. Today, the industry is making the same robots with the same challenges. Amazing to see how far we've come and how far we haven't!

Did you know there were 32x32 pixel vision systems for Commodore 64 and BBC Microcomputers?


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DJ!!!  I laughed so much at your comments as you read through these vintage magazines!  Thank you for this....this needs to be a weekly show, no doubt....The DJ and Jer show reading vintage robotics magazines!! xD
#27   — Edited
Ha ha ya Justin! when he wrote in the posting that it was just going to be boring coding as a heads up, I thought well I already bought my Friday night 6 pack,let's see what DJ is up to. So he pulls out the Vintage magazines with Hero 1 on the cover and that peeked my interest right there! Every article in those mags was like Robotics Porn, Ha ha! Very interesting what people were building back then and having the same problems we still have today!

Edit---- And all those robot Arm ads, that one Arm with the Hilarious name and DJ made this comment for Jeremie to use it on himself had me rolling on the floor,That alone made the show worth it!
Oh yes, to Nink, It is truly amazing that high end robots are still not doing much, I am watching a movie right now called Hornet about some High school kids that build a robot that can do more amazing things than anything Boston Dynamics has,including stop Alien invasion on Earth,LOL!! What a stretch! Also to Wil I think that is you,fxrtst? What you did with that Starwars Robot is truly mind blowing stuff since I like all Sci-Fi movie robots! I had a chat with Dennis down at EZ Robot and we were both talking about you and the stuff you are doing, I mentioned I was even wanting to buy your rejected 3d printed parts for that starwars bot,LOL!xD
I loved reading those robot magazines as kid. I remember trying to build a 6 ft robot from scratch that was better than Hero 1. lol
How far did you get? Lots of time to try again:D

i didn’t know those existed as a kid. Would have been all over them. My dad kept popular mechanics in the washroom at his company. I must have read the HealthKit hero articles a thousand times over.
#31   — Edited
In 6th grade I started reading a book called "How to build a self programming robot" by David Heiserman in 1980.  I built the power supply and the base . Heiserman's  design was the size of the Hero Robot, but I wanted to make it 6 feet tall like the Lost in Space Robot B9.   So added a some motorized aluminum legs that had motors for bending. I didn't make it much past this point when I was swept up by the personal computer craze. I studied Electrical Engineering and built mobile robot platforms in College and worked on the Cassini robotic spacecraft and the Mars Sojourner Rover for NASA. Now I teach students how to build robots using Mecanno kits,  Ez-Robot microcontrollers, Raspberry Pis, etc...  I've always meant to get back to that original project one day. Thanks for encouraging  me to do so. BTW, I still have pieces to that original robot in my garage. Glad my parents saved it over all those years.
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#32   — Edited
I am so enjoying this, it brings back so many memories for me! I still have the (only) four Practical Robotics mags that were published. This was a very exciting time for me!

With the Hero robot, I am sure the speech synthesiser was Votrax SC01 by Federal Screw - I actually bought one and it cost me a whole week's wages at the time!!

Myself and a good friend redesigned Big Trak we called it XTR

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More info of the 2nd generation BigTrak that we developed in 2012 - unfortunately it never got to market. DJ I have a few of the existing (non XTR) BigTraks (with magnetic clutch that made it go straight) and I would be happy to send you one.

Here is the first sizzle we did

Here is a promotional video

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Tony, I think secretly you work for Santa at the North Pole. Probably one of his lead elves. 

You guys are such geeks. LOL. Love it.
Haha look who’s talking:) you’re the geek of the geeks! Living with a real life sized robot that’s something I dream of! My robots are little. 

I sure would love a big trak someday. But of course i’d hack it with ARC haha
DJ, I gotta agree! I am a geek! LOL. Having a full sized Lost in Space was always a dream of mine since I was a kid. Thanks to you and your genius work I have one that talks and acts pretty close to what I dreamed of. Maybe you work for Santa also?
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Yes, Dave's B9 is an incredible feat of engineering!! The arms mechanism is pure genius!

DJ if you let me know where you want it sent, I will post you a BigTrak in January. I also have full circuit diagrams that should make any hack a breeze.
Serious?! That would be remarkable!!! Guess I know what my next hack night will be when I return to calgary in jan:)

here’s our address:
DJ Sures
#10 6120 11 st se
calgary, Alberta 
T2H 2L7

im so excited:)
Tony seems to always be willing to help and lend a hand. He sent me several packages of parts "over the big pond". 

Tony, you were involved in my prototyping of those arms. Not only did you give me some motors that helped move me in the right direction but you lent me support and advice at times I was ready to give up. Just one instance comes to mind when I couldn't get the Sabertooth/ Kangaroo boards to work for me in my robot. You jumped in and offered scripting advice and a pep talk. Thank you my friend! You're just as much a part of my Lost in Space B9 story as DJ and a ton of other people.
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Thanks Dave, but in the end your genius and determination shown through and your incredible B9 fully came to life! I believe that your B9 is the most advanced B9 bot in the World! I certainly have not seen anything better anywhere! Of course we all owe DJ a massive thanks for his incredible work that made these amazing robots possible!
Wow Tony, Thanks.

Your correct about DJ. I fully agree and always have.
Thanks a bunch Tony and Dave - I enjoy watching what you do with your robots and that's thanks enough! I just realized the avatars have santa hats on them - haha web dev is hilarious
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Back in the early eighties (1981), I built my first computerised robot - it was full scale and its "brain" was a hacked Sinclair ZX81 computer which was connected to the robot via a radio link - I managed to give it very primitive speech recognition using a zero crossing algorithm so it would respond to 20 commands. It had 8K battery backed RAM and a Votrax SC01 speech synthesiser - note the early ultrasonic ranger on the robot and the microphone.

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That's so cool. I remember you posting about that before. There were a number of those type of robots that were for sale.  Surprised yours wasn't turned into a product as well. Not sure how many of those robots were sold back then - but it is a shame we don't see those home robots of that size today. If styled right, with a built in vacuum and wet/dry floor clean - it would be pretty cool.

Long as it had a tray to move things around between rooms, it would be pretty useful!
Wow did not know a BigTrak had a near reboot in 2012, I would have bought 1 of those instead of the hugely way too expensive Robosapien V2!