Robot Test Facilities Have Been Provided...
April 22, 2011
Did you guys know that there are places to do robot testing on just about every corner? They are all identical (everywhere) and can be counted on for solid, non-changing environments. They go by many names:
- Comberland Farms
- Circle-K (I hear strange things are afoot there)
I just took a trip to the local hardware store to get a few nuts and bolts. I needed to bring Gilligan along so I could size some parts. I know the hardware store people by name and they know what I am into. (This was however, the first time I had brought working hardware in, not just a motor-mout etc.) Obviously curious, they wanted to see little Gilligan go. Off he went. It was at this moment that I realized that basically almost every store's shelving has a solid, 6" tall toe-kick running the entire length of it. It is off-white, smooth, 90 degrees to the floor and continous. This is paradise to either a sonar or IR sensor. Beyond that, this is what I observed of hardware stores, 7-11's and the like:
- These places are clean. No dog-hair, no carpent --only nice, slick tile.
- The whole floor is a giant grid with lines every foot.
- Not a single table-leg, chair-leg or the like. (Sonar's kryptonite)
- Not a single sonar-soaking-up peice of fabric
- EVERYTHING IS 90 DEGREES TO EVERYTHING!!
- Every isle in every store (at least in the States) is within a given range in terms of width.
- Every minute of every experiment will be recorded on video for FREE! (In case something awesome happens)
- No one is in these places after 7 or 8:00 at night.
- People working at these places either A) don't care because you are out of the way or B) think robots are cool
- They serve coffee and there is always a place to have a smoke outside.
My suggestion to everyone is to go make friends with the kids working at Combie's. Talk to the hardware store guys --Just a simple, "hey, do you mind if I do a little work over in the corner here?" 9 times outta 10, they will be cool.