the garage,” said Matt Johnson, one of the team leaders.
It seems like dependable autonomous walking robots
are still just a science fiction dream. With so many of the
robots having trouble just getting from one location to the
next — and most of the navigation done tele-robotically — I
guess none of these robots are going to turn into
Terminators anytime soon. Skynet will just have to wait a
few more years.
A College of Robotics
As the day wound down, I made my way back to my
own table to promote my new college of robotics
engineering. Chatting a minute with my wife, I found that
we were out of flyers, and had a handful of interested
students, but not one potential investor. Still, we gave out
about a thousand flyers, so at least we know interest is
Meccaniod G15 KS: A Perfect
Way to End a Perfect Day
So, with all the flyers gone, all the competitions
finished, the vendors packing up, and most of the people
leaving, I decided it was time to pack up Robot Betty9, my
wife, my daughter, and my father-in-law and be on our way.
As fate would have it, though, I saw one more robot
that I had not noticed, just standing under the Robotis tent.
It was a four foot tall toy robot — a robot I had only seen
before on videos of the last Consumer Electronics Show
(CES). It was Meccano’s Meccanoid G15 KS — a kid-sized
chattering, arm flailing, big-eyed robot, and it was right
there not two feet from Robot Betty9. I stopped and stared
a minute. Its owner was chatting with one of the Robotis
people. I interrupted. I asked if they were for sale yet. I was
told “no” and would not be for quite a few months.
I told the Robotis vendor that I had seen it on a video
of the CES and that I would like to buy a pre-release so I
could review it on my robots-and-androids.com website.
He said that I could and if I followed him to his truck he
would give me one. As we walked to his car, I offered up
my credit card. He turned it down and said I could just have
it if I was going to review it. I said I was, and I smiled
broadly as we got to his truck. He reached in, grabbed a
Meccano’s Meccanoid G15 KS kit from a stack of about 10,
and put it in my hands. He then drove me to my car where
I found my wife and her father waiting, and my nine year
old daughter in her R2D2 jacket looking at me with eyes as
big as saucers, wondering what that big box with the
robot’s picture on the front contained.
I thanked the man as he drove off, putting the
Meccanoid box into my daughter’s arms. I explained it was
a robot kit as she looked at the front, sides, and back of
the box. It was a bit heavy for her, so she put it down and
asked, “Is it mine?” “It’s ours,” I answered. “We’ll build it
together and then I’ll write a review on it.” “Oh, Daddy!”
she replied with a toothy ear-to-ear smile. We had built
many robot kits together before this, but none this massive,
this tall, or this impressive.
We packed the robot kit into the trunk, my daughter
got in the car, and I sat Robot Betty9 on my daughter’s lap
(she insisted), then started heading home. We would be
building that robot for many evenings. I thought ahead to
the next competition — NASA’s space robotics challenge —
more fun was yet to come. SV
SERVO 08.2015 65
Photo by Thomas Messerschmidt