Brain The Size Of A Planet

I’ve been saying this is the future now for yonks… smartphones as detachable heads for robots. Now one has turned up on kickstarter

For fucking $78!!! holy crap that’s cheap. I bought one. I bought one and I don’t even have a smartphone, on account of living in New Zealand, and there’s no one here to talk to apart from trees and clouds etc, and they don’t use smartphones. They whisper on the wind etc… nicholas… neeeeeckolaaaaasss… you seeee the neighbouooors toool shed? That’s gooooot to be a fiiiiire risk…

Still – that is amazing… a phone-to-world interface that’s got to be useful for backyard cruise missiles and whatnot. I can’t wait.

And here’s one where someone is controlling (and monitoring) their garage door with a pair of phones

Which I’m sure Marvin would be utterly dismayed by, but there you go. “Pair” is an operative word I think. The remote nature of these things does sort of assume a master/slave-device situation (for the moment).

Meantime – apropos of the previous scatter-brained post.

1) Printable t-beams


Glittering in the dark off The Tanhauser Belt. I’m guessing these don’t have quite the performance of their extruded aluminium fore-fathers, but will get you out of a tight-spot… and do illustrate the DIYification of Lego. T-Beams being a type of lego. So um… I guess what I was trying to say yesterday is that Lego (et al) are essentiall sets of codified hardware protocols. Types of “communication” between physical objects that allow them to click together. From these, big stuff can be built, eg:

2) Printed and extruded laser-cutter


Now I’m guessing that the non-vitamin parts for these are in the minority… but the point is

a) there are (now) powerful drivers to minimise vitamin parts. This is a direct result of open-source, and the antithesis of what old-economic-models are about… which is to maximise for scarcity. “Swappability” of parts is like reuseability of code. It gives an absolutely titanic advantage over proprietary models.

b) This stuff is not like a printer you get from HP – a lump of plastic and metal that sits on your desk and needs to be replaced every two years. It’s constructable, adaptable… and the parts are re-useable. It is (therefore) available to the same process of evolution that is a feature of repraps, but (probably) with a fraction of the time overheads involved with trialing-and-erroring new variants. It’s a matter of “playing with the blocks” rather than designing on CAD then printing out.

c) Legoification of non-vitamin parts radically reduces time spent writing manuals. Lego is an international language.

d) the brains of these critters are (eventually) going to be smartphones. They just are. There’s simply too much CPU power and “working already” sensory gear in them for them not to be… with the added advantage of absolutely massive economics of scale.

I actually bought one of the semi-vitamin parts from a kickstarter project recently – not for desktop CNC, but because it’s also useable as a video-camera dolly, at a tiny fraction of the cost of commercial variants.

See? Adaptability. Reusability.

1 Comment » for Brain The Size Of A Planet
  1. Well, hello, Dolly. Spectacular. Dazzling display of analysis as well.