Community Question


Great job on a big roll out. I missed the live presentation, but got caught up on the YouTube recording. Here are my 2 cents.

I am speaking from a USA perspective. I think you have created a great resource for adults, kids and schools, but as any revolutionary idea, you may be ahead of your time. Gearing towards schools is a wonderful concept, but here in the US, with federal budget cuts, schools don't have enough teachers to teach, let alone a budget for 3d printers. There are a few who get donations of used machines, but not on the whole. There are some robotics courses being taught, but many schools have after school robotics clubs where money is raised so they can buy materials and build a bot.

The 3d printing evolution is just starting because 24 year patents the "big three" had, just ran out a few years ago and now everyone and their brother are cranking machines for the consumer, for better or for worse. In general the hobbiests who are buying these printers, are just simply supporting the evolving machines. In the end people will want machines with bigger foot prints and higher resolution prints and in general reliable functioning machines.

Where am I going with all this? I suspect there are many scratching their heads on this site and in general the consumers who bought the EZB, wondering how this release will effect, them. Unless you own a 3 d printer or have a friend or uncle with one, it won't. Until 3d printers and the material they use, get to true consumer pricing ( around $200), and they are a one button push to print device, the technology will continue to be an expensive hobbiests-only machine.

I believe the success of the EZ board has always been and should continue to be a unique, powerful and easy to use robot core . My fear is the novelty of the 3d printing may have been a bull in the road, and taken away from evolving the EZB functions, which in my opinion are unique and one of a kind. As the Revolution unfolds, I hope that new functions will begin once again popping up and the EZB continues to revolutionize robotics.

Keep up the fantastic work!
Commented June 2013
I'm no stranger to mold making , casting , or vacuum forming so if I had one part , just make a mold pour resin and wait. Its like shake and bake super easy duplicates.
Commented June 2013
@fxrst - I know you don't view the update as a bad idea, I just think your missing the point of the updates main new feature. These are good questions, and I think it would be great if the community understood the true nature of it's implications.

Firstly EZ-Robot themselves do not need to keep up with the demand. There are many many online companies that you can upload an .stl and they will mail you the 3D printed part. Shapeways is one of the most popular.

In regards to how it is different than just buying closed source plastic parts for a robot from an online retailer? It is very much different. A good analogy to use is open source software. Are you familiar with how open source works? You do not need to be a programmer to take advantage of open source software. The same goes for open source hardware. We are not limited to designs made by a company.... we are sharing 3D model files, and EZ-Builder lets people with no 3D experience customize 3D printed parts to make a robot.

Overtime the library will start getting filled with parts from designers around the world (Kind of like but specifically for Robots). Since we are sharing the 3D model files one designer from one country can make a part, upload it, and another person from somewhere else can improve upon it. And the cycle continues. It is much different because the source of the file (The 3D model file) is shared, and this allows thousands of people to improve upon it. Overtime these designs become very valuable. Just think about how linux is free, and runs servers for billion dollar enterprises! DJ has thought this out well by setting standards for certain parts to ensure compatibility. Again the point is open source evolving design through community, not the manufacturing bit.
Commented June 2013
The bit builder in EZ-Builder should make customisation of parts so easy that anyone can do it.

Think of it like Mr Potato Head :D You can chop and change the EZ-Bits. Sure at the moment there are very few EZ-Bits but the library will fill up.
Commented June 2013
@rich. \m/ :) \m/ Rock on!
Commented June 2013
@rich ...Mr Potato Head! only the "old timers" know what that is! ;)...but yeah, EZ-Bits will grow and grow much like the EZ software version
Asked on Wednesday, June 5, 2013