Let's Make Robots!

*UPDATED* New community portal site in the works

*UPDATE 7/12/12*

Strange, my new comment seems to have disappeared. Anyways. I've decided to go ahead with the project. I've reduced the amount of "features" and I am focusing solely on the user base, events, and a robot gallery.

There is a cool feature in the works that lets any registered user "import" (syndicate) an rss feed to their activity on my site, meaning you can import your LMR or any other RSS driven blog and not worry about creating new content on my site if you don't want to! HURRAY INTERCONNECTIVITY!

I will be releasing a demo site soon within the next week.

 

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Hello all,

So after getting back into the robotics scene after many years, I'm slightly disappointed in the state of the online resources available--not that it's worse than before, it's much better in fact. However, I believe we could do better at bringing all the various roboticists, developers, distributors, retail stores, events, schools, and hacker communities together.

My idea is to develop a site which the primary function would be to accomplish this synergy of our hobby, offer more integrated support for newbies, as well as give accomplished creators easier access to the resources and online tools they need.

 

Here are some features and ideas I've thought up in the past few minutes while writing this post:

1. An aesthetically pleasing gallery system with full sized photos, video integration, etc. The best part is showing off our creations right? Why not do it in style.

2. Forum linking--not sure how to do this yet but someway to perhaps embed forum feeds from LMR, Trossen, SOR, etc into a page.

3. Store/Developer/Manufacturer resource page. This would be handled by the user themselves--i.e. a store owner or developer would sign up as a user under their respective title, giving them access to publish content specific to that type. More on that below.

4. Full blown user management system. Different tiers of users: hobbyists, developers, manufacturers, hackers, etc. Each user would have their own landing page, similar to LMR. You could integrate a link to your LMR profile page, list your Trossen/SOR/Other username/url for people to quick link over, facebook/aim/myspace/icq/personal site/skype username/youtube account, and so on. Each user would have specific access to publishing certain types of content (for store owners, teachers, etc), google map integration for your location (optionally hidden), personal photo gallery (separate from your bots'), and more.

5. Complete database of major and most active robotics sites, stores, individual user sites, groups, clubs.

6. Separate areas aimed for complete beginners with links to tutorials, forums, and so on.

7. Unique world map events page, where users can create/find events local to them and share. Would be constantly updated with the latest events, and clubs both online and off.

8. Future goals would be to partner up with various robotic stores and offer discounts for members to sign up with the portal site, having an area for sponsors, and (non intrusive) advertising for related products.

 

Essentially this web site would be user driven and would grow exponentially with enough help. It would be a one stop hub to all things robotics and similar, aimed at creating connectivity between people from around the world, and collimating massive amounts of data and web sites.

The goal is not to compete with any one site, but to increase awareness of robotics for beginners and experienced hobbyists alike. All of this in a very stylized, clean, minimalist approach that emphasizes visual representation of the content.

I am very serious about this and willing to invest a lot of energy and time into getting this project off the ground. Anyone that is interested, please let me know what you think, and if you want to help! I may even go for a Kickstarter page if there is enough support.

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A new update on the idea:

 

I've decided to go ahead and start the web site. Currently I am starting small. The features will be:

1. User driven community portal site

2. Visual robot galleries with photo and video albums

3. Link resource portals

4. Large event database

 

All of this will be editable by users that sign up. There will be a lot of google map integration to see where users are located/from, where events are in the world at a glance, easy searching for robots, codes, links, etc.

A cool feature is that each user can 'import' an rss feed into their blog on the site. That means you can syndicate your rss feed from LMR into my site automatically; no need to add new content to my site if you don't want to. Just update your LMR and itll send the content over to my blog!

 

It's really late and I'm exhausted right now so I'll update with more information and a test site for everyone to peek at soon.

My 2 Cents... I don't think a one stop hub would work too well. At least not for a place with accounts. If you say had SOR feeds and I make an account on your site I'd still rather get an SOR account and comment over there.. A photo gallery is a good idea. Trossen does that on the main forum page and sometimes you see something really cool (it's random or recent photos or something). But on the other hand LMR has a great thing going With the latest project feeds. Also lmr already has discounts for members with some sites and it's quite nice not to have ads All over the site. Rather an organized list of venders With reviews. Each site seems to have different users. I'd argue that LMR is the most diverse but also probably has the most beginners and small robots (seriously. All the coolest tiny little robots are on LMR but you find all kinds of bots and projects here); Meanehile trossen is big on MechWarfare and computerized bots as well as movie bots (wall-e/r2d2,etc..). SOR is a mishmash but I'd say there are a lot of college/university project type stuff. I haven't been on it a lot though. Point being some of your ideas sound like things for LMR v4 and the integration thing sounds more like an entire service of its own. Honestly though I've seen integration. Everything wants me to link a Facebook or something now but I personally am not really interested in linking a bunch of accounts. Others might be though. Why don't you talk to fritz about working on lmrv4? I think a couple of your ideas would fit on LMR just fine.

I understand what you are saying. Theoretically it would be ideal if the site could port the user database of LMR and others into itself, so no one would have to 'sign up' since they would already exist. Don't think that's technically feasable though. 

I definitely don't want to pull anyone away from their respective communities--not that that even seems likely considering how entrenched many are already--but instead organize the information we all already share and have into a nice looking site. Honestly I've seen some really bland and/or not so pretty looking web sites that are hard to navigate. Just last night I was looking at a similar idea of a Robot Resource portal page but most of the links were outdated from the early 00's or 90's, and the site just looked horrible.

My desire right now is to make something for events primarily, and add on from there. Tell me if I'm wrong, but I've yet to see a full featured event site for local and international communities that is constantly updated by the admin and users. 

Imagine something beautiful like this theme: http://themeforest.net/item/the-navigator-premium-wp-location-guide-blog/full_screen_preview/397351

I like the idea of a mapped events system. But like you said in the other post; why not let members post it instead of doing all the work yourself?

I'd setup a (local on your network) webpage running on your home machine and try to get something working. If you find it isn't too hard to do; why not show it to the guys behind the scenes here and add it to LMR? If you add it to lmr you'll have a much easier time getting all the data setup.

And i think just having all the projects with their main photo somewhat qualifies for the photogallery thing. Honestly if i'm ever new to something and i just want to see some cool stuff a simple google image search for say 'robot' or 'robots' works pretty well. But i suppose and image gallery might be nice. That especially would be something id just go after lmrv4 on. That way you already have a huge pool of photots to work with; and they should mostly be relevant..

I say try it at home and if it works good send it over to fritsl / Hugo_nl

http://letsmakerobots.com/lmr 

My issue is that I tend to not like waiting on other developers to do things. I don't know how long LMRv4 has been in progress, but everyone has their own vision of things and mine in particular would probably differ visually a lot from what fritsl and others have in mind. If I understand correctly they are using Drupal for the backend which takes a lot more coding for graphics than say an already themed site in Wordpress (Which is what I know how to use).

There is also that feeling of accomplishing something yourself that is useful to the community, versus just handing it over to others after you've done all the hard work :)

 

Ideally everything would be assimilated by LMRv4, since this is where the most active community (imo) is at -- *insert evil maniacal laugh here* -- lol...

 

 

LMR could always embed such a page? I agree i like to code things as much as possible myself but you are talking about a community site after all *wink*. Id fiddle with it and talk to the guys who run these sites a bit.

First thank you all for the input. However I feel like some of you are getting the wrong impression from my post, and I apologize for that. I did not intend to "step on toes".

Let me try to rephrase: The goal of the web site is not to replace, supersede, or in any way impede upon any site like LMR, Trossen, et al.

In fact, I love LMR very much, and I can't wait to see the new website (that I only learned of after posting this).

My site would be SIMILAR in the way that it is a community page, but that is where the similarity ends. Think of it as a community driven PORTAL site. There are users, and user levels for different people. Essentially grouping and linking to all the other robotics pages on the internet, along with sharing the videos and photos available. There would be very little "content" on the site, and any of that content would be to support the content already available in forums like in LMR.

The focus would be on connecting to already established resources and also heavily on EVENTS, GROUPS, and the like. A way to bring local and international robot communities together on one visually stunning and graphical page.

Think Google meets a Supermodel in a Ferrari and has a robotic child lol :P.

 

As Maxhirez pointed out, there is SO MUCH information out there on the Interwebz; I personally have experienced the long hours of looking for information, searching through sites that are either missing links/downloads, never updated, different languages, or just DEAD.

This is my attempt to bring together the best, updated, most recent and relevant information to the masses; NOT just established roboticists, but to introduce new people to robotics as well in a user friendly, web 2.0 stylish themed site.

I just don't think yet another one it's needed, and that instead of putting work into a new thing you could help out improving LMR, that's all. 

 

If I were you and I were going ahead with this site I would focus on aggregating the info/websites and worry about login later. I wouldn't care about logging in if I just wanted to see all the sites aggregated. But you also need to consider wether those sites want you copying there posts over to your site etc... That'd be my guess...

That is actually a smart idea. Although, I was hoping the community would help drive the collection of data, since I'm only one man... but c'est la vie :)