Friday, December 7, 2012

This year in robots!

Why I haven't been posting here: I've been working on - your source for news, views and everything robotic!
I've also been setting up Silicon Valley Robotics - the professional association for robotics in Northern California, which could become the largest robotics cluster in the world.
I've also been working on Robot Launchpad - accelerating the growth of robot startups via events, introductions, interviews and other services.
And the most recent spinoff from all of these things is Robot Garden - a robotics hackerspace in the East Bay or TriValley area of San Francisco Bay Area/Silicon Valley.
It's been a pretty good year! :) Hope yours is too!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Why Women Still Can’t Have It All - The Atlantic


It’s time to stop fooling ourselves, says a woman who left a position of power: the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed. If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, here’s what has to change.

This article by Anne-Marie Slaughter tells it like it is.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture for Higher Education « User Generated Education


In its simplest terms, the flipped classroom is about viewing and/or listening to lectures at home during one own time which frees up face-to-face class time for experiential exercises, group discussion, and question and answer sessions.

It’s called “the flipped classroom.” While there is no one model, the core idea is to flip the common instructional approach. With teacher-created videos and interactive lessons, instruction that used to occur in class is now accessed at home, in advance of class. Class becomes the place to work through problems, advance concepts, and engage in collaborative learning. Most importantly, all aspects of instruction can be rethought to best maximize the scarcest learning resource—time. Flipped classroom teachers almost universally agree that it’s not the instructional videos on their own, but how they are integrated into an overall approach, that makes the difference (The Flipped Classroom by Bill Tucker).

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SciFi, Design and Technology | The Robot State

Make It So: What Interaction Designers can Learn from Science
Fiction Interfaces
Presentation Notes, Nathan Shedroff and Chris Noessel
4 September 2009, dConstruct 09 Conference, Brighton, UK

(also SXSW 2012?)


This is the first presentation of only a portion of the material we’ve found in our analysis of Science Fiction films and television series. Weʼre also looking a industry future films (like Apple’s Knowledge Navigator) as well as existing products and research projects. Our analysis includes properties (films and TV), themes (different issues in interface design), as well as the historical context of the work (such as the current technology of the time of the propertyʼs release). In addition, weʼre interviewing developers (including production designers from  films) but this material isnʼt presented in this talk. For this presentation, weʼve focused on the major issues, part academic and theoretical, and part lessons (more practical) weʼve uncovered.

How design influences SciFi and how SciFi influences design:

We’ve chosen to focus on interface and interaction design (and not technology or engineering). Some visual design issues relate but, mostly, in this talk, weʼre not approaching issues of styling. Weʼve chosen the media of SciFi (TV and films) because a thorough analysis of interaction design in SciFi requires that the example be visual so interfaces are completely and concretely represented, include motion that describe the interaction, and (sometimes) has been seen by a wide audience.

Scientifically determining “influence” in any context (whether from Design on SciFi or visa versa) is difficult, and much of what we illustrate is inference on the part of the authors.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Printrbot Rookie Mistakes part 1

I love Brooke Drum's awesome 3D printer (was on Kickstarter - now at I wish I had more time each week to work on assembling it, but I do keep hitting little speed bumps along the way.


Here's all the stupid things I'm doing wrong following the printrbot videos and also the occasional changes to the bill of materials and instructions that are tripping me up. Maybe this will be useful to someone else who is assembling an original printrbot (not the PLUS or the LC/lasercut version)


1. Don't get those rods perfectly parallel before you work out (using the base plate) just how far apart they need to be. You'll have about 1 1/2" of threaded rods sticking out of one side.

2. Don't screw your motors in before you flat them. Flatting involves taping off the motor, carefully putting it in a vice and filing one side of the shaft flat. Brooke explains it in one of the later videos.


3. Don't freak out when it calls for three 16mm black screws in this step and you only have one left because you used two on the bearing guide. He's changed them to 8mm in the video.


4. I'm really not sure what to do about these yet. The video shows a different construction.

Open question: What to do with the new style 5mm to 8mm flexible shaft coupling? And whether or not you need to flat these motors?


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Thursday, June 7, 2012

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury, Author of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles


Ray Bradbury — author of The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and many more literary classics — died this morning in Los Angeles, at the age of 91.

We've got confirmation from the family as well as his biographer, Sam Weller.

His grandson, Danny Karapetian, shared these words with io9 about his grandfather's passing: "If I had to make any statement, it would be how much I love and miss him, and I look forward to hearing everyone's memories about him. He influenced so many artists, writers, teachers, scientists, and it's always really touching and comforting to hear their stories. Your stories. His legacy lives on in his monumental body of books, film, television and theater, but more importantly, in the minds and hearts of anyone who read him, because to read him was to know him. He was the biggest kid I know."

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

happy robot birthday!

What's better than getting this hula dancing robot girl for my birthday?

This fantastic mashup of me and Robopocalypse (which is going to be an interesting film!)!


And the fun impromptu party that followed of course!

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