Saturday, August 28, 2010

I guess it's official.... I'm a bit scattered.

Christina called it first. I'm having a hard time knowing where to really put my energies, and meantime, I am putting them all over the place.

But in my defense, there are so many things to do! And I certainly am not slowing down these days.

Let's see....
Hot tub: fixed.
Motorcycle: fixed (and ridden for the first time in a while..... fun!)
Christina's project: fixed, adjusted, and out the door.
Friend's playa bicycle: fixed.
Hand of Man: Improvements for El Paso begun.
Website: Process of total re-vamp finally begun.
CNC Mill: Several hours put in, but frustrating lack of improvement.
Baby room: Almost done... This is what has been eating up MOST of my time... but it should be totally done within a few days. I promise I will post a picture. It looks awesome.

I have been thinking about Man Amplifiers, or ExoSuits, again these days. If you don't know what I am talking about, they are essentially "wearable robots." The first real one was called Hardiman, built by GE, but never functional. The coolest one these days is probably the Sarcos XOS exoskeleton... but it is not self-contained. And of course the one that most people know is the cargo-loader suit from Aliens:

I have wanted to build one of these since I was in college.... since before they were cool! (I actually have what I think is a pretty good business idea which centers around these types of suits, but I think I would need a million-dollar investment to get it off the ground!)

Some number of years ago (during the Borg2 experiment) I proposed building a somewhat simplified version of such a thing for Burning Man, but once again, I was denied funding. Here is the drawing that I included with that grant proposal:

And HERE is the proposal itself.

Looking back on it over five years later, it really seems like a pretty good proposal. As is the case with the Hand of Man, the idea of making this device available to anyone who wanted to use it was central to the concept, and is, I think, the main thing differentiating it from the man-amplifier / exosuits being made today. A wearable robot for the masses!

Anyway, I actually still want to build one. I've done some designs of some leg mechanisms which I think could actually work. Legs are way cooler than tires, and cooler even than tracks. Sometimes I think I should just get to work on it, and stop pussyfooting around. One hurdle standing in my way is successful and low-cost implementation of servo hydraulics, but with some help from a friend of mine, I might be close to overcoming that problem soon. I think I would go with an ultralight aircraft two-stroke engine powering a hydraulic system.

I have not yet done any drawings of the overall conception of my latest (walking) concept, just drawings of the legs.

And, in unrelated news, I really want a Scamp or, better yet, a Trillium trailer. They are so goddamn cool! But yikes, are they expensive!

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