A Beginner’s Guide
To Building Your
Future Robot Overlord
If you base your life around the professing of science fiction films like I do,
then you already know that a bleak future awaits mankind. Whether it comes
from the likes of a vengeful Terminator style warlord, or ends up being a
benevolent dictator along the lines of Johnny 5, either way, we are all
doomed to serve those that are currently serving us. Seems like it’s always
the quiet ones ... well, with exception to Johnny 5. That guy never shut up!
However, until someone gets organized and starts a group like PETR (People
for the Ethical Treatment of Robots), we might as well be as human as
possible by contributing to the problem and having fun while doing it!
In this article, I’ll be giving you a bit of background on robotics, how it has evolved over the years, and try to
establish some of the background philosophy on why we
“do what we do.” Then, we’ll be jumping into the TankBot
kit, going through the various components, and finally
starting assembly. Lastly, we’ll briefly touch on what
projects lie ahead and how you can help.
If this is your first time building a robot, great!
Welcome to the club! This series will be mainly geared
towards you, and hopefully will be the wonderful beginning
to a great new hobby. With that said, you may now don
your honorary pocket protector, black horn-rimmed glasses,
and secret decoder ring because here we go!
Know Thy Enemy
While robotics may seem like a cutting edge field, in
fact, it really has an old and storied history. Dating back to
350 B.C., the greek mathematician Archytas of Tarentum
built one of the earliest model airplanes — a bird that was
propelled skyward by steam. (I do have my personal doubts
that this was actually some kind of unfortunate cooking
accident and was quickly blamed on being in “the name of
science” to avoid being put in the proverbial doghouse.)
None-the-less, it is one of the earliest recorded examples of
a machine that could move under its own power.
Skip forward over a thousand years to 1495, and we
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