Let's Make Robots!

About me

I am a 55 year old computer programmer with 35 years experience as a systems programmer. During that time, I have programmed in over 40 languages professionally.

In the Air Force, I was a ICBM mechanic as a civilian, I started out as an electronics engineer but was so distracted by the idea of programming that I took it up full time. Consequently, I have been able to strattle the fence, one foot in software, the other in hardware. Nowhere has this been more beneficial than in the robotics world.

I've worked for NASA, writing telemetry programs for deep space probes (mariner-galileo),  Continental Airlines where I wrote the first software based flight following system and the first aircraft maintenance tracking system, a number of computer manufacturers, Vista Computer Company, Randal Data Systems, Pertec Computer Corp, Contel Cado, all gone but not forgotten.

I spent six years working with Army Telemedicine exploring emerging technologies for future telemedicine and was the project manager for the Army's forward portable hospital's IT section.

Hobbies include High Powered Rocketry, robotics, and anything that has to do with advanced technology.

I have marketed two commercial robotics projects, Strabo, an HTTP based navigational/mapping tool and the Sensortrak, a board that managed 8 sensors, IR, sonar, bump switches ADCs so your basic stamp based robot could be freed up to do the important things. Sadly, I'm a much better engineer than I am a marketer. Not interested in marketing, takes time away from engineering. That and deal with non paying customers made me lose interest in the entrepreneurial side of the business.

My interest in robotics has mainly been to solve individual problems. Up to know, I've built about a half dozen robots, all which have been disassembled for parts in later robots.

Currently, I am employed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Teaching and Learning with Technology as a Senior Programmer Analyst, writing software in support of our distance education program.

 

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amando96's picture

Welcome to LMR!

High power rocketry? :D 

Rockets have always fascinated me, but living in a hot dry country makes it risky to do that other than in the rainy days, which are rare. Never got passed KNO3 and sugar rockets, still, they are a blast, of course, not comparable to the ones I imagine you do.. =P

dlevartt's picture

So are KNO3/resin, and rubber /LOX hybrids. In Maryland there are a couple of farms that our club has access to. corn fields mostly. we run a couple dozen launch pads every month. Join a club, they will always know a safe place to launch and you can have plenty of people to help you if and when the time comes that you need help with something.

amando96's picture

None around my area though, mostly up north, the south is forgotten...

 

I thought about launching them at sea, the water won't catch fire for sure.

 

Aren't corn fields a bit dangerous?

fritsl's picture

Wow, thanks for joining in!!

I cannot wait to see some more pictures, and VIDEO of your robot(s). And in general read what you have to say, your experience and general knowledge will come in very handy for many, I am sure!

Welcome here :)

Ro-Bot-X's picture

Dave Evartt? Hello sir! I remember your Strabo Pathfinder for ER1! Had it on trial, never got the bucks to purchase it, always wished I did. 

I still have my ER1 bot (ERIC), although it is stripped to the basic kit and some parts were damaged over the time (the charger transformer, the camera). Since I am not a computer programmer (and not have enough determination to learn it, I guess) I built a smaller version bot called MiniEric. I am still struggling with the programming... But enough about me. I just a hobbyist, you are a pro.

I am glad to see you here, I think you built a few droids, like R2D2 (from R2D2 builders group) and... hmm... I don't remember others, except ER1 of course. I think I also saw your name on Wall-E builders group, right? Man you have lots of experience to share! Thank you for joining this site!

dlevartt's picture

Don't remember doing an R2.  Been to the site though, looking for parts. Would love to see some FUNCTION R2 units come out of there. Never been to the Wall-E site.

I still have my ER1. Still nursing bruised feelings about it too, like most ER1 owners out there. For the benefit of those who don't know about the ER!, it was a robot kit that Evolution Robotics marketed a few years back, and after creating a very exciting community, abandoned the hobby market for greener pastures, leaving everyone un a lurch. Somebody decided 'why sell a robot kit for a few hundred dollars when we can sell its software for thousands? And with that the most promising robot since the Hero died a silent but agonizing death.

There were a lot of good things about the ER1, which is why it was so popular but it could barely drag itself acroos carpet because it's motors were way too underpowered for anything other than smooth surfaces and could carry no payload above and beyond the laptop that powered it.

Thank you for the kind words about Strabo. It never really caught on, mostly becuase I didn't push it. Funny, I wrote it for my ER1. I don't know if I will put it on Bender or not. I'm thinking about rewriting it in java but I'm going to look around and see what the industry has done in the years since I wrote Strabo.

voodoobot's picture

It was funny that you mention ER as I used to work in the same building this company started in while they were prototyping their ER1. I recall seeing a couple of designs around the buildings plugged into the power sockets for recharging as well as roaming around on occasion. For an added bonus, I ran into a former coworker that just started working for ER recently(non Dev person).

dlevartt's picture

Yea, they may go down as the greatest disappointment in the history of the industry. Ford supported the Edsel longer than these guys supported the ER1. If they had build a model around something like the parallax motors and opened up the hardware, they would be the Micrpsoft of robots. They had very nice software.

Son't know if I could have worked in the same building without trying to get hired.

Ro-Bot-X's picture

Dave, you may want to check out this thread: http://www.societyofrobots.com/robotforum/index.php?topic=5904.0 We tried to make a common point for all ER1 users that still want info about their robots.

night's picture

Hello,

And welcome! I also recently joined this site. You have quite the impressive career =)

Happy building!