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Sep 14, 2013, 12:52 AM
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finger gashing

Heroinesapien walking on carpet (2 min 15 sec)

Eons ago, back when Goo Tube was only 320x240, the NYSE was below 9000, & phones still had keypads, I got a robosapien for $50. It was the 1st "learning toy" of any note. Manually manipulate the arms & legs while recording & it could play back the manual motions with some level of accuracy.

Actually got it to walk around on carpet, way more than its design. It needed fully charged batteries. It under extended the motions because the pots wouldn't completely follow the limbs.

It had a timer which made it record a waypoint after a certain period of not moving. That recorded a lot of wrong positions if you didn't hit the right position on the 1st try. It had a fairly high threshold for being considered stationary, making the training motions ridiculously fast.

These factors made training it a very cumbersome affair. The training was an extremely exaggerated bunch of movements that resembled none of the playback. It ended up pretty boring & tedious, compared to programming movements from a computer. The novelty was supposed to be the fluid, biomorphic movements it could produce during playback, I suppose.

It did look pretty fluid compared to previous toys, but just like graphics in a computer game, the eye candy only went so far before the logic of the game & the ordeal of teaching it by hand took precedence. There are much less visually appealing games which are a lot more addictive because of the logic.

So now that you've been gashed a few times by propellers, is it any wonder why there has never been a learning copter that recorded hand held movements the same way robosapien did?

The issue of disarming the motors would be solved with a direct radio connection, but bluetooth & wifi both have the same problem of what goes in not representing what goes out. They both buffer in hardware until confirmation of reception, so you can have a bunch of motor firings in the buffer even though the ground station currently shows motors off.

There might be a way to detect when the buffer is lagging & stop filling it with motor firings which might get delayed, but this is a debugging interface intended to be replaced by a direct radio connection. There's also the idea of a jumper disabling the motors, but that still requires handling it with the motors armed.
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