DIY robotics

Some excerpts from an article in Scientific American on "Open Source Hardware Makes its Debut in "Robot Internet Mashup". It's about the "Telepresence Robot Kit", a sort of DIY robotic platform developed by a group led by Illah Nourbakhsh (professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon, University in Pittsburgh).

"TeRK program aims to allow anyone to use it as a control center for just about any robot they can imagine. Initially, though, Qwerk will be used for teaching and for projects that are "just for fun."

Online, TeRK users can access complete parts lists for robot kits that range from easy (think a three-wheeled spybot with a camera that can be controlled from any Web browser, and which can be built in a couple of hours) to ambitious: LeGrand envisions an arm on a Qwerk-powered robot that would allow it to carry out such functions as pressing elevator buttons in order to navigate entire office buildings. All of the software that runs Qwerk is open source, which makes TeRK incredibly flexible in the hands of the technically savvy. (...) "We also want to have people [akin to mechanics who] go under the hood of the car,'' he says. "At all levels we reveal enough of the interior detail so that users can go in and program at the lowest level they want.""

(pictures taken from TeRK website)

Why do I blog this? observing the robotics-ubicomp convergence, the advent of such kits seem to be interesting. Besides, I quite like this DIY, "reveal the interior" concept.