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Welcome to the Fall '09 update.

The past year has found me as busy as ever on many different projects. You might notice some new pictures posted in the Robots section of the website. I have started some interesting new robots this year, and I have even completed a few projects. My new 1:18 scale R2-D2 is really getting some exposure online since I posted the first test video of it. Now that it is painted I really must post new pictures and video. Thanks to everyone who has shown an interest and given me such great feedback on this latest project of mine. As soon as I have the chance I will post a full write up on what went into the build.

I continue to test and optimize my tracked tactical robot. Built for law enforcement/surveilance, EOD disposal, HazMat entry, and other such tasks, this robot's purpose is basically to be able to go where people shouldn't.

My Robot Lawn Mower just completed its second season on my lawn- and I am getting ready to send the gas mower to the landfill- it hasn't been started in two years. Taking inspiration from the Robomow® RL-1000, I built my own 3-blade 22-inch deck robotic lawn mower for the very practical purpose of...well...mowing my lawns. My next task is to add infrared ranging and color vision sensing for kinder, gentler lawn edge detection.

I am still (again) looking to post more pictures and video to our DARPA Grand Challenge/Coyote UGVs pages. Now that the bulk of the work with the project is complete, I have time to get some of this material posted to this website. I have posted several new pictures of my other robots on the newly reorganized Robot Pages. Take a look there for pictures of the Javelina test vehicle- the downsized cousin of the Coyote UGV.

My older R2-D2 replica has been successfullly converted to R4-G9, complete with copper metal leaf dome and copper body color scheme. More notably, this R4 now has a working 2-3-2 mechanism, the system which allows the robot to transition from 2-wheel to 3-wheel mode and back again. Great fun!

The T-Rex at our Dinosaur World exhibit at the Tucson Children's Museum recently got a new Gilderfluke motion controller and sound board. That addition enhanced the functionality of the dinosaur and made it easier to adjust the show program. The exhibit has been running daily for over 9 years now.

Aspiring robot builders might want to go to the Robot Tips and Tricks page. I created a new tutorial on basic switch logic, relays, and motor control circuitry. This is a good place for those with only minimal knowledge of electronics to start to learn how to simply turn things on and off, or to make a motor go forward and backward.

I will continue to work on this site to make it easier to navigate. All the robot related material is now in its own section with its own photo gallery. I have done short write-ups on each of my robots, but I hope to turn each of those into their own more detailed web pages, as I have done for my R2-D2 replica.

Till Next Time - Rob

Updated 14 Oct 09