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Just introducing myself

#1

To be honest, I thought I had joined this community five or six months ago, but my e-mail didn’t seem to be registered, and searches for my usual discussion topics didn’t turn up. So apologies if any of this sounds familiar.

I have loved and been fascinated by robots since I was a kid 50 years ago. Not sure why, maybe because I’ve always loved “inventing”, and I was pretty shy so the thought of having or building a loyal robot “friend” really appealed to me. :slight_smile:

I’ve been a professional video game designer for over 37 years. I started out on the C-64 and the Amiga, and now I am Head of Design for a mobile game company in Berlin, Germany. (I am from Wyoming/Colorado in the United States.)

Almost twenty years ago I bought some robots and taught myself to program them. I started a website called home-robot.com that documented my experiments. My most sophisticated robot was based on a “Cye” from a now defunct company called “Probotics”. A friend helped me add a weird head, some additional sensors, and a two way radio connected to my PC. (This allowed me to send text-to-speech through the PC to the robot.)

I named my new robot “Cybert” and I gave him a variety of sensor-driven moods. I also created a bunch of subsumptive behaviors: exploration, docking with his charger, playing with the dogs, etc. My best behavior was called “alarm clock” and it worked like this:

Every morning at 7:00, Cybert would undock from his charger and navigate into the master bedroom. He would wake my wife and I with a friendly greeting, then tell us the news, weather forecast, and update us on our stock portfolio. After that, he would navigate back down the hallway and “knock” on our daughter’s door three times by bumping into it. If the door didn’t open within five minutes he would loop back and repeat his request for her to get up. When he detected the door opening, he would say, “Good morning! It is [day]! I hope you have a wonderful day today!” Then he would navigate back to his charger and plug himself in again. It worked great, until I had a hard drive crash and lost a bunch of my code… Got busy at work and never put it all back together again.

A few years ago I bought a Makebot kit and I enjoyed tinkering with that, but I enjoy programming a lot more than building, so about four months ago I bought an Anki Vector, and then a Cozmo. (Good timing there, huh?) I had been working on a program called “Vectorator” that was going to be based on Cybert’s code – minutes the navigation between rooms – but when the Anki announcement happened I started to look around for a new robot. That’s what lead me here.

Anyway, just wanted to say “hi” and introduce myself to some like-minded folks. I look forward to contributing here. :slight_smile:

2 Likes
#2

Welcome, @TurkMcGill! Thanks for sharing your story about Cybert - sounds like a neat bot. The morning alarm behavior you described sounds like something Misty II would be great at :slight_smile:

#3

@TurkMcGill welcome! I searched a little and found that your old website was archived!

#4

Wow, I haven’t seen that old website for years! Thanks for digging it up for me. Brings back a lot of nice memories. :slight_smile:

I captured a couple of videos of Cybert in action. I greatly improved the Alarm Clock behavior but never got another video before I lost a bunch of my code in a hard drive crash.

NOTE: Cybert was based on a commercial robot called a “Cye”. I added a two way radio, some additional sensors, and the plastic head. (Which admittedly looks a bit creepy.)