October 03, 2005
Him, Roboticist

donald was known for his spiky hair
Donald, didn't anyone tell you NEVER try to steal a robot's beer?!

Paul Wallich, a known Lisper, has an article in IEEE Spectrum about Evolution's ER1 and his quest for a robotically retrieved beer.

Like putting in the screws, the thought may have been simple, but the execution wasn't. Programming the ER1 renewed my appreciation for the complexity of the real world. A wheelchair-bound ex-skateboarder in a body cast with only a thumb and forefinger exposed has more degrees of freedom than the gripper-equipped ER1. The only thing that made my grand plan even remotely plausible was the 5 cm of height difference between the bottom of the fridge compartment and the floor. That clearance ensured that whatever the gripper pulled out of the refrigerator would remain comfortably above the ground during the rest of its trip.

I have an ER1 in my garage that doesn't get out much. Really, the best application I personally have for a robot is feline-focused telepresence, i.e., expensive cat toys.

Posted by jjwiseman at October 03, 2005 12:06 PM

I can't help thinking of the classic Lewis Padgett short story "The Proud Robot". Does anybody else remember it?

Posted by: on October 4, 2005 10:26 AM
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