Dorkbot presents Maxwell the Robot – Nov. 24 Meeting

The bi monthly DorkbotPDX meeting was last Monday, and the usual group showed up to check out what kinds of things people were working on.

Dorkbot - Robot Encounter

Anselm read news about changes to Google’s Algorithm on the Google blog.

Dorkbot - Robot Encounter

Paige and Bram worked on a Favicon for the Makerlab blog.

Dorkbot - Robot Encounter

Reid and I checked out a piece of equiptment that was in a corner of the pub.

Dorkbot - Robot Encounter

It turned out to be a robot named Maxwell.

“Maxwell is an animatronic” says Mark Medonis, “in that five hobby servos are
used to move a puppet head. Two servo are used to move the eyes
left/right and up/down, and two servos are used to move the
entire head left/right and up/down. The fifth servo opens and
closes the jaw”.

Dorkbot - Robot Encounter

“A BASIC Stamp II is used to read the positions of two joysticks
and convert those positions to commands sent to a Mini SSC II
servo control circuit from Scott Edwards Electronics. The two
joysticks control eye and head motion”.

It was very well made, and enjoyable to look at.

Dorkbot - Robot Encounter

We learned from Maxwell’s Creator that he’d been working on his robot for the last 11 years. To which Anselm said, “My son is only 8 years old! Your robot is older than my son!”

Dorkbot - Robot Encounter

“However, the important advance in Maxwell that makes it more
robotic than animatronic is the speech system”. All one had to do is type some words into the keyboard and it would speak them. Maxwell’s text to speech engine was pretty impressive. Basically, the entire thing was pretty impressive, considering that it had been created by a single inventor. Plus, you could control the robot’s movements with a joystick.

“A Visual Basic program performs both speech synthesis as well as
lip sync movement of the jaw on the robot. Both of these happen
in real time, so any arbitrary dialogue can be commanded”.

Mark Medonis has a page on Maxwell here.

We rode our bikes back to IGLOO. On the way, I filmed a video by bike, and crashed as a result. I got the crash on video, however — you can see the footage here.

One Comment

  1. Posted December 3, 2008 at 1:27 am | #

    wow what a great portlandy post, great bike crash!

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