January 1999


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Poof! Just like that I am suddenly involved in the FIRST Robot Challenge! Several people from work and other friends have been telling me for a few weeks about a local school that is building their robot to enter the competition to be held in the last week of February, and I finally got around to checking out their work tonight. Well, I walked in, not committed but wanting to check it out, fully expecting to see a half-built robot, since the event is only a month away. Instead, I was greeted by a bunch of friendly people that seemed eager but somewhat confused on the whole thing, surrounded with bins of parts and random electronics. They had sketched up a very rough drawing, but didn't know how the details would actually work. Nothing had actually been constructed yet, and nobody knew where to begin, so, of course I jumped in- feet first. Basically, their jaws dropped when I suggested scrapping their entire plan and starting with a new design. They were releived that I was able to come up with a workable design in a few minutes that was more effective than their first. I told them (from experience, of course) why certain things would and would not work, and got involved in more than an advisory way, and well, since I was the only robot-building veteran there, everything I said was golden. A few hours later we actually had a complete and rolling robot base complete with all wheel assemblies and powertrain attachments! I loved every minute of it! Man, this stuff is addicting!!! We're going to get together again on Saturday to do more work on the drive system and I'll be helping out with the other main mechanical parts including the conveyor system and lifting mechanism. So, THAT was interesting! Heck, I guess if I can't fight with robots, I'll have 'em do some cool stuff for NASA Ames!


I've gone through and completely cleaned up the links page again. Added half a dozen links and removed a few dead ones too. Please make sure to email me if you see anything new or want to add anything there! I also fixed up some dead links and reorganized the publicity page.

Don't forget to send me your suggestions on my 'Virtual Robot Wars' battle! I've been OK'd at work to work on this project in the interest of expanding my 3D animation skills, so let me know who you want to see fight Hercules in a virtual world (and the outcome!)! I'll be posting the movie here when I am done.


Andrew Lindsey from Team Spike has started building robot starter kits! For $200, they include all the parts you may need to start with a small RC robot! Cool job, Andrew!

I've been learning a lot of new modeling and animation software at work, so I created a quick digital model of Hercules!
The model is fully animatable and has moving parts, I'm still putting on some finishing touches too. This went so well that I've started to think how cool it would be to make digital models of other RW robots and hold little "Virtual Robot Wars" games here on this site with small 2-3 minute video battles... hmmm. (I guess I'm letting my new Digital Animator position at work go to my head, but hey, I need the practice!) I'll definitely be doing at least one or two mock battles, so if you have some ideas on which robots you would like to see fighting in a virtual battle, let me knowand I'll see what I can do!


The Dangerous Machines site has started a Robot Wars voting service. Hey, I'm game for that.... So here's your chance to vote for the Team Hercules site!