Sunday, March 6, 2016


Years (decades) ago I had a student who was inspired by the original Star Wars movie to get into S.T.E.M.  She wanted to build R2-D2. (I have always preferred the robots from the film Silent Running and, before that, the robots from Asimov's book I, Robot and Jack Williamson's  The Humanoids.) At that time we could not build R2-D2.  Now, however, my LEGO NXT embodied Asa H directed robots can perform all of the functions/behaviors that R2 exhibited in the first film. (I have not seen some of the more recent Star Wars films.) Those functions are:
          Mobile, wheeled but can step slightly (all terrain wheels and suspension)
          Arms with grippers, manipulators, and/or fixturing
          Accepts plug-in memory
          Head rotates
          Interfaces to computers
          Communicates in a robot language
          Reads and stores and replays data
          Fire fighting
          Speech recognition and voice control
A modified version of Blankenship's "Arlo" could do all this for a cost of perhaps $3000.
(But it was never clear to me that any of the Star Wars robots had sufficient capabilities so as to justify the cost of their construction and deployment.)

Elon Musk was similarly inspired to want to build the Millennium Falcon. Some fiction can serve as inspiration.

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