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Program robots using technologies created from industry experts. ARC is our free-to-use robot programming software that makes features like vision recognition, navigation and artificial intelligence easy.
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Asked — Edited
Resolved Resolved by Perry_S!

Life's Challenges And The Future

I've been pretty quiet on the forum as of late. There are a few reasons, good and bad. Life has a tendency to throw a curve ball now and then plus a couple of road blocks when you least expect it. I've been the primary care giver for an ill family member, who now lives with us. This consumes much of my day time and I've had to restructure my life around it. This has forced me to make some choices about "whats next" and I've had to make some sacrifices. But, the prospects are also appealing.

As some of you know I've been throwing around the idea of a robotics Youtube channel. The notion of giving back my knowledge to the community via YouTube is intriguing. Success if not a guarantee and its an exhaustive, time consuming, thrown in with some luck and alot of views and clicks! But, I think this is the best option for my current situation. And Alan and Alena have agreed to be co-hosts on the show. So, whats not to like?
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At the minimum, the channel will result a repository of videos showing current robot technology, 3D tools and I how to use them to build robots. It will also allow me to explore the hundreds of robot ideas in my head. In fact the very first robot for the show, is a full sized 6 foot robot I designed on paper 20 years ago! Every robot build will consist of several episodes to build to completion (approx 6 to 8 episodes) and will be released bi monthly. The channel will be rebranded as "REEL ROBOTS" and will launch in 2020.

Plans and BOMs will be in our store, available for anyone interested in replicating some of the robots from the show. Some Patreon tiers will offer store discounts, on those plans. They will be released under the creative commons license.  Other videos will cover subjects like animatronics, which will cover using robotics to make animatronic characters to move. Other topics covered: 3D scanning, 3d printing, designing robots with Zbrush, and continued exploration of motion capture for robot motions and much more. 

Robots are expensive to build as you all know, and support will be paramount. I'm currently producing a video for my very first sponsor and I hope more sponsors will support me once the channel launches. The success of this endevour will in part be by interest, viewer participation, sponsors, merch, affiliate links and Patreon members.  If you are not yet a subscriber, please stop by my YouTube channel and subscribe its free! If you have friends and family who also might be interested in my content send them a link to subscribe too. This will really help me get the subscriber numbers going. In the weeks to come, I will be adding an intro video to my YouTube channel and links to my Patreon page for anyone interested in supporting.  With some luck and success i will be able to answer the succeeding question, "whats next?" ;).

All the best,


Related Hardware EZ-Robot EZ-B v4
They could also have been experiencing financial difficulties and needed to get it out there to save the company. While we all expect the future to be a happy robot/diy friendly place, there's actually very little funding in that space. For due reason to, there haven't been many (if not any) success stories. Most funding goes to social media and fintech. Until someone can demonstrate great financial success in the robot/diy market, we'll continue to expect low quality high cost products like that
...boy you said it! Its not a mole hill to have to climb, its a majestic snow capped sky high mountain to traverse! When we were at CES, you could see the market leaning toward Elder care. We were approached by AARP and had some interesting conversations with them. But really its as you said, purse strings are tight until there is a new robot success story. Currently funding seems to be DARPA and and the s*x industry.xD Kill'em or love them!
Haha - well, even the warfare robots aren't getting a lot of funding either. The trouble comes down to user experience (people need phd's to use most robot products) and compatibility (no robots or software are compatible). So the idea of having 1 robot complete ALL the tasks you can dream up is likely not going to happen in my life time. However, having a million robots that each can perform a small task is far more likely. It would be neat if all robots could communicate with each other to complete tasks - AND - be assisted by humans... That's what Exosphere is growing to become but good/reliable hardware is difficult to come by.

I had to make a decision and focus on either hardware or software last year when I split ez-robot and Synthiam. Doing both wasn't sustainable any longer so I had to choose one. I choose Synthiam and here we are. The trouble now is we don't produce any revenue, yet. So that's something we're working on - otherwise, I'll just shut this down and go get a job somewhere

Either way, I'll never compromise user experience or compatibility - those are things are super important to me because I believe the success of this industry requires maturity in those two areas. 

Even that 3d printer you reviewed - it demonstrates no compatibility and therefore low user experience. Why does every hardware company make their product not compatible with anyone else? I fought for a long time to make ARC (now arc) compatible with other robot products and arduino. It took a long time to make that happen when the company grew out of control.
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Thats right. The successful robots are those doing a single task..cutting grass, sweeping floors, cleaning pools. It goes without saying that successful consumer robots are those replacing mundane chores. But prices are still out of reach for these luxury robots and limits who can use them. So we end back at B to B solutions where pockets are deeper, but even there, you need a robot that saves money for the corporation.

Yeah I'm sure you're at a cross roads. I know this sounds ridiculous but maybe EZ Builder should have been a different product from ARC. EZ Builder would support all the zillions of EZ products and education systems. Then ARC could have been a pay to play solution for B to B and advanced DIY builders? At least Synthiam could then have another source of revenue, besides Exosphere? I'm completely ignorant on this software stuff. I'm just throwing out thoughts based on not knowing anything at all, including non compete. etc that may have been in your the EZ sale. 

I hope there is a solution...would hate to see you "go get a job somewhere." These are tough times in general. Everyones got an opputunity to hit the "re-set" with this virus. To take a look behind you and set a new path ahead. You've always been uncompromised with your products and determined to drive forward, paving the way for robotics. Hopefully we all weren't here too early to the show?!

..and lastly I agree with you on why the heck aren't these devices compatible. They all take the Apple approach of creating hardware and software proprietary and not compatible or creating a standard. Much is open source though and maybe eventually there will be some kinda of compatibility.
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The only successful robot (and I use that term loosely for this) is iRobot roomba. Not a single other robot has been successful. And even iRobot is a much much smaller company now than it was during its peak. 

All the robots you listed that are grass cutting or what not are tiny little companies that sell a few dozen per year. It’s crazy to put that into perspective but the sale volume of robot products is very low. 

There will always be a free version of ARC - I’ve committed to that. Providing the base features is probably the easiest way to get away with it. And having a paid version supporting newer features. That’s most likely the best option moving forward:)

that way everyone gets what they’re used to and can pay to experience the newer stuff
My wife loves the robot sweeper....I had to buy another one because ours broke and she said "I can't live with out it" Dramatic, but I'm sure those words were spoken when the washing machines break or any other labor saving replacement device. They certainly were ways ahead of the curve. As with any marketable device, once you saturate the market, you better have the next best thing ready to go. Consumers love the next best thing.

...I think you are on the right road! I have no problem paying for advanced features in ARC. I would gladly pay knowing they are supporting and advancing new features, the software and Synthiam. I bet most users here would also agree.
Someone here has to build the next best thing and power by arc. I’ll get you funding if it works:)
I will head over to your unboxing in a bit...am about to get me that printer too, or the Elegoo Saturn? Still not completely sure about it!!;)

You guys are both putting so much energy into robotics, which in return gives so much to us here in the forum!!! I would hate to see it going down the drain...

If some paid content helps, I am sure that everybody would be fine with it...or setting up a fundraiser or Patreon maybe?

I hope things will be evolving in a good way, this is such a nice place...not being entangled with the big tech companies is such a rare thing these days!

Keep up the good work, this is great and unique!!!
Yes, Agreed, both og you need to keep up the good work.  I like how ARC is free, its amazing as whats ben put into in only  a few years( that Ive been using it), abd would be willing to pay something if it means many new and cool features are to be had.

I too am amazed that irobot has been one of those sucessful commercial ventures. But correct me if I am wrong here, growing up, and recently, I have heard, thru medial mostly thru the years that robots are as common as the cellphone in places like Japan. I could be way off on this, would love to hear your thoughts. 

I would love to see how Exosphere could be used as designed to control JD or the many robots we all have building around here. When I started building HEMI, the idea was it to be useful in the healthcare system (as you guys were talking about  AARP and such earlier). I even approached InventHelp once to see an idea thru. Building HEMI has been fun , but the original idea of it being able to lift a person from a wheelchair has proven to be alot more involved that I thought. Getting the gait movemenst (so as not injure someone) just right is more complicated than I imagined, so for now,until I can enlist some help, I will back burner that idea for another time.

Im not sure we will ever get to the level of the NX5 as seen in I,Robot movie but forward thinkers will find a way, and yea, when that day comes... if I could transfer my mind into the body of a robot, I would in a heartbeat,,,,:)
As smart speaker technology continues to evolve, most people want the choice of personalization. Want another voice for your Echo? Tired of Alexa? Samuel Jackson is the first celebrity voice to replace "some" of Alexa's tasks. Released in 2019, you had invoke Samuel by asking Alexa to ask Samuel. Not intuitive at all. Is Amazon scared to loose their brand Alexa? As of September 2020 , you can now use the wake word "Hey Samuel" to ask him to do things. Novelty or the beginning of something new?

In this video I'm channeling Samuel through Alan...this is the clean version, Sam drops alot of "F" bombs in the explicit setting.

Will that is great, unfortunately, this service is only available for the U.S. not available in  Canada sorry DJ , JER,  and the rest of us backward Canadians.
Will get those subscribers so I can print Alan
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...I don't understand why a company would geo- isolate these kinda functions? I think the chat bot is also US only?! Wouldn't it makes since to have all cultures and people to test these "skills"? I really don't get it.

As for Alan files...things are going exceptionally well on the channel and many of the videos are gaining popularity and I'm picking up alot of subscribers. But not nearly quick enough for me. I've officially been on since early May. So not too bad for 5.5 months.

But the main issue is getting people to subscribe. That's the reason you see every person say over and over "Subscribe" during their videos. On my analytics you can see how many people do not subscribe. This is the last 28 days. 87% are not subscribed that come to view videos. But that same group makes up 90% of watched hours.

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@Canadian Friends:
Please don't complain..... can you imagine if you had to live with the 1988 Alexa version...
That version of Alexa brings back not to found memories.  I remember installing Corel draw using real floppies 30 of them it only took over 40 hours.
As many of you know I use a program called Zbrush to build my robots virtually. These are the models that go out to the 3D printers for final printing. Each year the makers of the software Pixologic, have a Summit, where artists around the world gather and show how they use Zbrush in their work flow. I've been invited to participate in this years virtual Summit. I will be presenting live for an hour in the evening 7:45-8:45 Nov. the 10th (Pacific time). I will be showing how I use Zbrush to make the robot parts for my robots. I will hopefully I will have more info (links) as it becomes available.
Let us know Will, I'd be interested!
Cool. Looking forward to it. Please let us know and I'll watch for sure.
United Kingdom
Definitely be interested in learning more about Zbrush, and watching your session.
OMG!!!! You are invited to ZBrush Summit!!

Its just getting better and better!!!:D