New Evidence - The Nazca Lines were made by robots!

Bill Loguidice's picture

Yes, you read that right, the famous Nazca Lines in Peru were made by robots and I have proof! After unleashing...
...my newly purchased, heavily discounted and now last generation Roomba from iRobot (click here for the newly released model), I made the startling discovery, as evidenced by the photo below from its first cleaning session:

roomba-1

Yes, of course I'm being rather silly, but I am quite happy with the purchase (it was about $100 from Buy.com, and it came with self-docking station, remote and one virtual wall) as it actually does a nice job cleaning, making the rug nice and fluffy. My wife Christina was so impressed she even inquired about the Scooba, which mops floors. Sadly, right now, it's out of our price range. Nevertheless, the iRobot company really nailed what practical home robotics are all about (and of course many hobbyists use the excellent Roomba platform for their own creations).

roomba-2
The virtual wall, which stops the vacuum from crossing its beam, is shown to the lower right.

HERO JR RT-1: What is supposed to be coming...HERO JR RT-1: What is supposed to be coming...On a related note, I got a good deal from a gentleman on a Hero JR robot, which I always wanted. When it comes, I'll be sure to post about it (it will need some TLC, but it already has a tremendous base). Here is the seller's description, unedited:

"
I have gone through this robot thoroughly, repaired, and then tested every function to verify its operation. I just do not have the room here for my other projects.

This Jr has been reworked for improved performance; Steering drive has been moved out a bolt hole distance and provides best moble performance from expermenting with another Jr first to get it perfect. Also provides that needed stable platform.

Wheel counter disk has been properly mounted along with the troubled photo senser plug that has been wired up the side to proper header pins. No more loose plug !

Motor bushings treated with milatary gyro spray and synthetic lubed polished gear boxes, Smooth! Turned wheels for extra performance as drive wheel has been turned close to over a cc smaller dia. providing proper slower heating of drive fett along with other needed details.

A must have CPU mini fan added to hot side of boards along with foam semi ducting blocks in hood keeps the vibes down from Jrs large speech speaker as the speaker has a grill made on it for improved sound along with hood grill vains having thin filter foam to absorb the vibes and keeps dust out.

Other detailed work has been done too. Body parts have there stunds intacted except one at bottom of body panel, yet panels fit tight that had pin fittings loosen up for easy pulling and installing, also prevent breaking.

Hero Jr could use go over and one of the 2 speech ICs could use replacement or stacked old one, that there is a energy sound before speech turns off. This is common with the speach yet this Jr works fine.

Jr says he has 24576 bytes of access memory

Here are the hardware upgrades and options that I have installed:

Upgraded to 24K RAM - This is the most memory that can be installed in these robots.

- Infrared motion detector on head range about 35' long x 20' wide.

RTA-1-3 - RS232 interface allows use of the BASIC cartridge.

I have a 12VRoboscout battery in it that needs replaced with new 7Ah, yet battery is workable.

RTA-1-5 - Cartridge Adapter - permits use of plug in cartridges.

Cartridge – RTC-1-11 Musical Chairs with Acey-Ducey and Robot mind reader

Power Charger - Original charger

The manuals and books are:

Hero Jr. Robot Assembly Guide - Original

Hero Jr. Owners maniul - Original

Skids - Original
"

I ALWAYS wanted one of these Heathkit robots after seeing them in magazines as a kid and getting to see one in person in middle school during a demonstration. Now, I get to be a proud owner of an albeit low end, but still amazingly functional model. I also put a feeler out on one of the multi-carts, which contains every cartridge released in one cartridge. I hope to also get the classic computer interface so I can program directly and the cassette interface wouldn't be so bad either, but both of those are longshots (it will be hard enough finding compatible batteries and seeing if there's an issue with the speech synthesis). In any case, I have plenty of systems with keypad entry, so I should do well enough with that and there may be other workarounds I can try (goodness knows I have plenty of cables of various types lying around and what-have-you).

Comments

Calibrator
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Joined: 10/25/2006
Now I know why...

...you don't continue the Wizard's Crown Chronicles - you got your christmas toys early!

;-)

take care,
Calibrator

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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
WC AWOL
Calibrator wrote:

...you don't continue the Wizard's Crown Chronicles - you got your christmas toys early!

;-)

take care,
Calibrator

I have the first entry ready, I just haven't had time to actually go through the elaborate process of executing it. I may scale back the ambition level a bit if this keeps up, but we'll see how it goes... (thanks for caring ;-) )

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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Cecil Casey
Cecil Casey's picture
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Nice grab.

I also used to page through the Heathkit catalogs, and the hero robots were the best of two worlds. A home computer and a home robot.

I seem to remember them having a small arm on them with a grabber. Was that only on the bigger model?

Also, I didn't see any mention of what CPU this model had. I think the bigger one used a Zilog Z-80, but as this one is newer and I am just guessing. It could be a 6502 or a Moto 6800 by the time this was built.

One last thing, it says it has the RS-232 that allows use of BASIC... Did you get the basic cart?

-Cecil

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Hero Jr
Cecil Casey wrote:

I also used to page through the Heathkit catalogs, and the hero robots were the best of two worlds. A home computer and a home robot.

I seem to remember them having a small arm on them with a grabber. Was that only on the bigger model?

Also, I didn't see any mention of what CPU this model had. I think the bigger one used a Zilog Z-80, but as this one is newer and I am just guessing. It could be a 6502 or a Moto 6800 by the time this was built.

One last thing, it says it has the RS-232 that allows use of BASIC... Did you get the basic cart?

-Cecil

Well, the Jr is from the same time period, so '83 or '84 at the latest. The processor is the 6808. The Jr is definitely scaled down from the bigger models that could support things like the arm attachment (it can't), but it's considerably cheaper to acquire on the auction sites today (about half to 2x less). I don't think the seller mentioned the BASIC cart in the description (I included it in that quoted section), but there is a modern multi-cart apparently available for it with every cartridge released in one. I'm trying to acquire that. I absolutely want to program the thing and would love nothing more than to go the next step and hook it up to one of my classic systems for programming purposes. One thing at a time though I guess and that's to get it and see what I can do as-is and what needs fixing/replacing/adding.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Roomba

Wow, that's cool, Bill. I really want to know more about your experiences with the roomba. "Cool" factor aside, how does it compare to actually vacuuming yourself? What are the downsides?

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Early judgment
Matt Barton wrote:

Wow, that's cool, Bill. I really want to know more about your experiences with the roomba. "Cool" factor aside, how does it compare to actually vacuuming yourself? What are the downsides?

Well, I used it for the second time tonight in my daughter Olivia's room. Again, it went until the battery ran all the way down, so I'll have to see how to rectify that (I have not had the charger nearby for it to automatically dock back). It definitely cleans as well as or better than vacuuming myself. Of course if I spent 60 minutes in one room, perhaps I'd clean as thoroughly too. Besides the time it takes to vacuum properly, the other downsides include a dust bin that needs to be emptied after every room, so far short battery life (it is supposed to be better, so I'll need to see how to fix that), brushes that need to be cleaned after every five cleanings, and filters that need to be replaced every 1 to 2 months. Some of those have been rectified in the new version and some of those are endemic to every vacuum (and let's not forget the heavy lining the wheels make on "fluffier" rugs). Still lots to learn and optimize, but so far pretty good... I'll be trying it in a bigger area tomorrow and soon on hardwood flooring.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Roomba Chronicles ;-)

I had it clean my bedroom this morning and left the dock in the room. After its battery ran down - again after maybe 1 hour of run-time - it automatically docked itself to recharge. It's cleaning very, very thoroughly, extracting stuff from the rug that even my regular vacuum, which is always full of pet hair and lint, doesn't seem to get since I only pass over the same spots a few times. I'll need to verify the battery life with the company. Also, the dust bin is not as generous as it could be. After vacuuming a normal room, it seems to get very full. Obviously the new model (that I don't have) rectifies this to a large degree, but still.

I have a raised marble entryway to my bathroom in our bedroom and the vacuum had some trouble getting over it, so I thought it would stay out of the bathroom, which is what I wanted. It actually made it over though and then got stuck on the shag bathroom mini area rugs. So that's the first thing I've seen it have trouble with. Heck, if it has trouble with yucky $10 bathroom rugs (one for the shower base and one for the toilet base - I hate them, but Christina wanted them), it's not really a big deal.

In any case, it needs to do another pass in our bedroom tonight as it extracted a lot of pet dander and other things from the rug and then ran out of juice/got its dust bin full. We'll see how it does. I imagine once you get a good, clean base, a lot of these full/time issues start to minimize.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Hero Jr Multicart and Upgrades

I got a response back from Mr. Robert L. Doerr (rdoerr@bizserve.com) in regards to the multicart query:

"
The Master Cartridge for the HERO Jr robot is still available. If you have an old cartridge as a core to convert the cost is $ plus shipping.

The Master Cartridge has all twelve of the HERO Jr cartridges in one and includes documentation. It is a great option to get for HERO Jr and really adds to what it can do. One of the cartridge programs is the HERO Jr BASIC which lets you program HERO Jr in BASIC. If your robot has the optional serial port (as most did) all you need is a standard modem cable to connect the robot to your PC. If you use Windows the the built-in HyperTerminal is all you need to work with.

Another option is the latest V1.6 Main ROM set. It has a Y2K fix so the robot can say the correct date. That set si $29.95 and also includes instructions.

The HERO Jr's are typically very reliable robots but if it gives you any trouble I can help with repairs, etc to keep him running.

Best Regards,

Robert
"

That should certainly solve most of my "desires" with wanting to program the robot both directly and through a modern or classic computer...

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I knew it - I've always known it ;)

I knew it - I've always known it ;)
Thanks for clearing up that age-old mystery buddy!



Editor / Pixelator - Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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forcefield58
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Joined: 05/19/2006
Wow, They Really Work...

I'd always wondered if they really work, and now we have proof! We have hardwood floors throughout the house due to the "zoo" we have in the house. Wonder if it works on hard floors. I bought a "mopping" machine for the floors a year ago and now can't live without it. It's one of those Hoover things that does wet/dry vacuuming and mopping. The only problem with it is finding the mopping liguid that it uses. The Roomba model that does mopping is something I could get into, but I'm sure it must cost a ton. Cheers


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