Robot Hotrodding

With robots and robot technology will within the reach of hobbiests, we have now entered the age of the Hot Rod Bot Culture.  I expect great (?!) things.

I’m not taling about drone racing, about which there has been much hoohaw. I find it boring in the extreme, especially to watch. Just about as interesting as watching NASCAR, without the groupies. (Please tell me that there are no drone racing groupies.)

But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t interesting off-label robotics going on, with plenty of mad science in the mix. I’ll leave out Simone Giertz (gone mainstream on network TV, tsk), and instead praise the All American Hot Rod spirit of Roland Saekow’s “Modified” Roomba!

My modified 10 year old Roomba Discovery 4210 features 600 RPM planetary gear motors, a dual 12A motor driver and is powered by a standard 14V Roomba battery. Made at the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, UC Berkeley.

I love the way the little guy is popping wheelies and generally just barely under control (if “control” is even the right word).

I mean, haven’t most of us looked at these useful, boring beasts and wondered, “what if I could make it go a lot faster”?


On the mad scientist front, with emphasis on “MAD”, Peter McCloud is apparently still at large, and somehow still alive. His terrifying Goliath quadcopter project continues, closer than ever flight.  (In the list of “left to do”, does the presence of the phrase “the control system needs to be designed” worry you as much as it does me?)

When we talk about the dangers of drones mixing with humans, this “monster truck” is the nightmare scenario. It’s going to take more than Eagles to drop this baby….


Robot Wednesday

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