TechnoMagician's Weblog
(aka Tim Aiello)
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke.

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Friday, June 14, 2002
Robotic Fly

When I first read about this robotic fly I thought for sure that Mark Tilden was behind it.  He most likely is involved in some way but any indication of that.

When I walked into Mark's office for the first time way back in the late 80's I was just amazed and totally speechless.  His robots, made from little more than scrap electronics, where just amazing and twitching all over the place.

Mark is the genius behind BEAM robotics.  I remember reading about how his robots built from scrap electronics costing less that $10 would win in competitions up against MIT's robots with $10,000's of dollars behind them.  Here is a little excerpt from an interview in March 2000 related to that:

No, the fact is is that there aren't very many military or government applications, In fact, I'd reallly like to get out. But the problem is is that this is a very new concept in robotics, and unfortunately it's just not popular. I've stood up in front of entire audiences with machines that don't have a single computer inside them, and they kicked butt. Sorry, they kicked ro-butt! I used to go around to an awful lot of international competitions - micromouse and all-terrain and walking vehicles and stuff like that, and I just put my machines down and they just stomp on M.I.T.'s head. And after a while I'd discuss it, and I suddenly realized that I wasn't' gaining too much popularity. You show up with a device which essentially does things by itself, and you just sit there with your hands in your pockets. It just basically gets a lot of people pissed off. Because when somebody has spent the past ten years building a six-legged bug and it barely gets off the ground, and you built something out of a couple of dead Walkmans and it basically just kicked them off of the sumo stage, it tends to make people angry, because they love their computers. I love my computer, but I know that I'll never give it legs; it can't use 'em!

8:17:01 PM    

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