Saturday, April 24, 2010

Robotic Remains and May Day Hints

This robot was cool... Notice the "was."

Having 26" bike wheels, it could cruise at an easy 13.9mph -- people can run about 10mph. So, for May Day, this would have been a great robot, but for one problem; without a ton of software, it was nearly impossible to control at high speeds. Any slight turn at speeds over 5mph would send the robot whirling -- it would either flip over a few times along the axis of the wheel axles or would end up on its side.

I decided to try out full speed. I took off up the hill in front of our house and it far out-distanced Peter in a matter of seconds. When I came back down the hill, I lost control as the robot headed straight for us. I yelled "JUMP" just in time for the robot to cream the mailbox. SNAP! That cool 1/2" aluminum rod is now in pieces. It was pretty awesome.

Notice the snapped wheel axle and bent spoke:

The 1/2" thick board didn't like the impact:

All this is to say, no robot will be visiting your house this year. I could put my old robot back together but what's the point of delivering cookies with a robot only to have it escorted back to the car by everyone in the neighborhood? :-)

Now for a hint about our house: I'm only telling you this because we caught everyone last year -- I think someone came while we were gone, but I thought Dad caught them.)

The Oggs tried to disable the motion detectors last year, but the motion detectors are "tamper proof" meaning that any tampering sets them off. Yes, this includes cutting wires. (I'd appreciate it if you didn't destroy my stuff, BTW :-)

We won't try to catch you until you ring the doorbell or attempt cheat.

Several people have tried parking in front of our front door to make the running distance as short as possible, but I believe we've caught every single person who's tried that. Go the longer routes -- the way our house is setup, it's much more difficult for us to catch you that way. (And, yes, I'm serious .)

I can guarantee you we won't be soaking anyone, so there's really no danger in being caught. We do plan to have more props in the yard this year since the robot busted, so take some time to look around. (It's a lot of stuff to set up, so hopefully SOMEONE sees it all :-)

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