Out of the Box Episode 111: Pi Desktop

Let unbox the Element14 Pi Desktop. Turn a Raspberry PI into a small form factor desktop PC. Even has room for a small SSD Hard Drive.


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R.U.D.I. Project Update

Just wanted to give you an update on my robot project.  The EZ-Builder developer kit is turning out to be working quite nicely.  The different components in the developer app makes it easy to add controls to the servos and accessories.  Let me break down what I am hoping to have by EerieCon in Sept-Oct.

Mark I

  • Wheels in the feet to have it move forward, backwards and turn like a tank
  • Head to rotate 90 degrees left and right, 60 degrees up and 30 degrees down
  • 3×3 LED grid for each eye.
  • Camera to get a first person view to drive
  • Talk/Beep to interact with the people
  • Interface on my tablet to control it

Biggest problem I am having is the speech functions.  I could type it and get the bot to say it but that only works on the laptop and not the tablet.  Thought about having a microphone that I could talk into and it would come out of the robot speaker, but there is no means to do that.  Thought about having it beep like R2-D2 or BB-8 and I just press buttons on the app to make the noises or setup a chat bot interface with a microphone and speaker.

The problem with the chat bot is I will have to hack the brain and solder on a speaker and microphone and make the chat bot with Pandora Bots.  With Pandora bots though I have to make the responses for questions people might ask.

If I finish with Mark I will make a Mark II?  I have thought about adding some of the following items.

Potential Mark II upgrades

  • Arms with possible pinchers for hands
  • Flashlight
  • Cigarette Lighter
  • Drink Tray
  • Laser Pointer
  • MP3 player
  • Phone Charger

The cigarette lighter, flashlight, laser pointer and phone charger would be on arms would extend and retract from the body like R2-D2, and the drink tray would attach to the arms.  The ideas are endless but time and effort aren’t, so I think I will keep it to Mark I.

Return of the R.U.D.I. project.

A few years ago I was helping out with a scifi convention and wanted to make a robot as a mascot.  I tried to learn programming arduino boards to do it.  Tried as hard as I could but couldn’t get the board programmed to work.  I scraped the project and gave some of the parts away.  Years later I was looking on Instructables and found out about the EZ-Robot Developer Kit.  So I ordered the kit and am going back to creating R.U.D.I. again.  Bring him to EerieCon
in Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY area to entertain the guests.  Will keep you posted.

P.S. R.U.D.I. stands for Rudimentary Utility Droid Intelligence.

Episode 3-8: Whatcha Making?

Ever wonder what a maker faire is?  I go to the Rochester Mini Maker Faire and show what everyone in making, or DIY projects.  We talk to the builders from the Rochester Lego Users Group (LUG) with a model airport made from LEGO.  Then we talk to the members in charge of the Physics Bus where they show physics exhibits.  Dig into robotics with First Robotics Team 1511: Penfield HS Rolling Thunder.  Lastly we take apart old electronics and find out how they tick with Take It Apart.

Promo: We Be Geeks