Opinion

Throwback to 2010: my first robot, SPIDEE-1

This blast from the past came up in my news feed today. In 2010 I didn’t know anything about building robots, I didn’t have CNC machines or laser cutters or even a 3D printer. I made my first parts from foam core and hot glue! Wild times, wild times.

Point being don’t let your tools stop you, don’t let your talent stop you. All you have to do is have the will to figure out a solution.

If there’s one piece of advice I can add… Someone already went through the pain of figuring out an easier way to do things. I’ve been there so many times: working on some small job N times and it’s always around N*90% that things start to get into a really good rhythm and I wonder “why couldn’t someone show me this technique at the start?”. So my point! My point: you find them and copy their method? That’s called “doing your homework”. You refine it and get really good at it? That’s called “practice”. Do these things. They help you get better faster, the most efficient way to make more stuff.

Unless you know a faster way. Then tell me because I want to copy your method.

Opinion Robot Arm

What to NOT do with a Sixi robot arm

The Sixi robot arm can reach 80cm (31.5in) and carry 2kg (4.4lbs). That’s a lot of power and versatility! In the wrong hands it could be trouble. Here’s a list of things that you should NEVER do with a Sixi robot arm.

Some ideas we have tested under very strict safety guidelines to show you why they’re a bad idea.

Some ideas we read about… then we folded the paper and put it in a fire.

Laser someone in half

Look, I get it, secret agents are getting all up in your base. Please! Resist the urge. Your Sixi will get PTSD. Also, the Secret Agent union is really mean.

Play the Knife Game from Aliens

It’s all good clean fun until it isn’t, and then you can count only to 512. Segue: I want to point out the Bishop pulled an Andy Dufresne – before it was cool – and saved the remaining humans from that space hell. That should go on the DO list.

…or anything else that is dangerous to meat

While we are all in favor of villainy, the human imagination is nearly limitless. Please don’t stab, slice, burn, scar, tattoo, shave, tenderize, cook, melt, or do other unpleasant things with humans, pets, or other living things. If you’re not sure what this means, draw a picture of what you want to do and show it to your parents or a lawyer. Do they approve? Cool.

Safety third

Remember: all accidents can be traced back to at least three mistakes. A little paranoia is totally acceptable here, it’s okay to let it off leash here.

If you’re still not sure if your task is safe (or how to do it safely), ask in our forums.

Opinion

A robot might be the only thing that saves your job

I picture a world where every apartment building has a robot arm on a little electric car. It picks up supplies ordered online at the door and brings them to each suite.

The robot does not use AI or some other dumb vaporware: A real human’s job is to drive the robot. Sometimes the robot switches drivers: Got a broken gizmo? Gizmo lady calls you online, uses the robot to sooth the gizmo back into crumulence. (It’s a perfectly crumulent word.) Want your hair did? Same robot, haircutter from home.

Safe, clean, remote. The robot didn’t steal your job – the robot saved it.