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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Drive train

If you're interested in learning about Robotics then you may be interested in the fact that radio shack is closing out their Vex line of robotics. Everything is half off which is amazing. A starter kit is now only $149.00 which includes a lot of parts ... like an erector set on steroids. I stocked up this week on the sale items because it looks like another company bought Vex out and the original prices will stand after radio shack closes the line the beginning of June. The manual that comes with the kit is very easy to read and it just makes a lot of sense. There's cheaper ways to learn robotics but I'm glad I chose the Vex method.

So today I began working on the Rosie drive train. Actually the plan is to motorize a vacuum cleaner and get it to move and respond to my commands via a remote control. I will attach Rosie's hand to the vacuum and it will look like she's pushing it around the house. So phase 1 is to create a remote controlled vacuum cleaner. The first experiment will try to get it to work as a functioning vacuum cleaner. If the vacuum proves to be too heavy then I'll gut the motors and parts and just add an audio track of a vacuum running. Either way there's going to be a vacuum cleaner racing down my street soon.

Back to the Vex robotics being closed out at Radio Shack. One of the salespeople said that not enough young people were interested in the kits. He was a young man about 21. That's a subject that has been bothering me lately. It seems that our society is being seduced by video games, Cable TV and the internet. And that's bad. It doesn't seem like kids are interested in building or creating things any more. I hope I'm wrong but even though there will always be young builders, their numbers are dwindling fast. Do your kids a favor. Turn off the internet in your home or limit it. Limit the amount of time to sit in front of the great American drug - television. And do what you can to limit your kids video game play.

BTW, I just read that 61% of children under the age of ONE (1) !!! watch TV on a regular basis and 1/3rd of all children. 19% of children one year or younger have a TV in their room. 29% of 2-3 year olds have a TV in their room.

Another article I just read said SAT Science scores are way down. Gee..... no wonder. Didn't George Orwell write that book 1984 in which the population was made complacant by getting their daily drug to make them happy. I think it was called SOMA. Well, he was pretty close to the mark - instead of SOMA, he should have called it TV.

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