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aersixb9

Sims based robotic dollhouse

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aersixb9    57
I think a neat toy would be a dollhouse where each doll was a small robot, possibly with wheels that resembled an abstract person. The dollhouse would either be a self contained computer, or connect to a computer via usb and possibly contain some sensors and transmitters to allow the computer to control the robots as per the sims AI like the little doll/robots are sims. They would then move around in the house doing their thing, probably without the ability to leave the house and lots of transparent walls and some way to interact, possibly via the pc or via sensors on the house such as microphones and cameras, along with some custom code, an API, and some peer-to-peer modules.

The dolls themselves would be similar to regular dollhouse dolls, except with electric motors and maybe some recharable batteries, floor slots and/or rails, or other power source. The dollhouse itself would plug in, either to the wall or a computer. Accessories could be sold, as per sims items except for real cash, along with different looking dolls that may or may not include AI modules to plug in, other accessories such as a computer nerd and a small somewhat-working tiny xbox accessory, and other things for the high end doll / robotics market. A user friendly API could allow editing with tools like starcraft custom map maker and sharing via PC, along with options for code or script based editing to make it more useful as a robotics prototyping source, along with sims or sim-like interactivity and features.

This would be an actual physical toy game that may or may not require a PC, and would compete with doll house toys, robot toys, and other toys along with robots and cubicle/desk accessories. A variety of price points could be reached, with more complex robots being expensive, and cheap robots being on tracks or having wheels or treads painted to look like feet.

One idea I had would be to make robot race cars that are small, like hot wheels or matchbox cars, around 3" long approximately, along with a track that maybe assembles or unfolds or something that the cars race on, the track could contain the AI to drive the toy cars, and they could all race fairly with the same code or in other ways around some sort of sensor laden or known track for amusement or for a variety of reasons.

Also not technically a game or sort of, I have a picture of some people target shooting on my desktop in military gear and I think a lot of people are into target shooting and hunting and military gaming, so how about robotic targets? They could even be reasonably bullet-catching or resistant, maybe with replaceable bullet catching plates and a maximum rating of like .45 caliber or even .22 or .50 or .577 or whatever. They would be as human shaped as possible and could be programmed to do a lot of things, including aiming a fake gun at people via camera to record a "win" point for the robot. This could be a popular amusement park, where you could duel a robot/android with a fake gun while you were using a real gun. This could also be done as multiple or motorized targets with paint on them, sort of like a shooting gallery, except possibly with more movement or animation to the moving targets, including being able to move targets in and out of view in a manner consistent with AI interpretations of human movement.

[Edited by - aersixb9 on November 9, 2010 6:22:54 PM]

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Konidias    214
Good luck building that dollhouse. =p Compared to the electronic toys on the market today, I'd say you're 25 years ahead of technology in that department. Even if you managed to make a prototype, the cost to manufacture and test this stuff would be so expensive that only the wealthiest people could afford this toy. It costs around $100 to get a moving dinosaur that has some phrases and mouth/arm/feet/tail movements... and that's not even programmable.

As for your carnival shooting gallery idea... Nobody is going to allow people to shoot a real gun at a carnival.

That's an accidental death and lawsuit waiting to happen.

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aersixb9    57
Not so much a carnival, one of those gun schools I keep hearing about? They have lots of fancy targets already. Also the trick to robots is lowering the price, I think a good way would be to have a contained environment that houses the bulk of the weight and cost of robots, the batteries/motor/gas and the computer brains. If you offload those into an environment that also provides the benefits of a durable safety barrier and a known and controlled viewable interior environment, this could be a great nerd toy on thinkgeek.com or some similar site and could potentially lead to creative innovation and could also be used in new and innovative ways to develop prototypes. A very cheap version could simply be an old used laptop wired to some motors via a motor controller card or a usb->com port splitter and some transistors. Electric motors can be had in bulk or used for practically free. Since we're going for cheap, build a box around the laptop, or just wire the motors to the transistors to the control leads coming out of the laptop, then use programming to steer the motors around the environment while being wired to the laptop, possibly with long wires through some loops. Make some fancy plastic shells to cover the motors and paint everything and make some neat API toolkits, maybe a wireless version too. Use the laptop's screen and/or networking and buttons to control the robots and make them playback scripted and/or complex physical routines. You can even use the mic and speaker. Sensors can be added to the bots themselves for the larger ones, or to the environment for the cheap versions, including things such as video cameras, temperature sensors, and other analog->digital devices. Outer coverings can be made via 3D printing for pretty cheap, or also via those computer-router thingies. Auto computer routers, where the computer moves the spinning blade/tip around to carve a solid block of metal or wood or whatever into a 3D shape based on computer input. There's some plans to build those online for amazingly cheap if you already have a computer, and they just require wood and transistors, or you can get a kit or buy an assembled one for I think $300+ or $1000+ or something like that. Although most of the 3D printing places rent their 3D print time and will print any 3D model, which can then be hand painted or something since it's not in color.

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Edtharan    607
Quote:
Original post by aersixb9
Outer coverings can be made via 3D printing for pretty cheap, or also via those computer-router thingies. Auto computer routers, where the computer moves the spinning blade/tip around to carve a solid block of metal or wood or whatever into a 3D shape based on computer input. There's some plans to build those online for amazingly cheap if you already have a computer, and they just require wood and transistors, or you can get a kit or buy an assembled one for I think $300+ or $1000+ or something like that. Although most of the 3D printing places rent their 3D print time and will print any 3D model, which can then be hand painted or something since it's not in color.

3D printing is getting cheap. Have a look at the RepRap: http://reprap.org/wiki/WebHome

This is a 3D printer kit that costs less than $600us.

Quote:
The dollhouse would either be a self contained computer, or connect to a computer via usb and possibly contain some sensors and transmitters to allow the computer to control the robots as per the sims AI like the little doll/robots are sims. They would then move around in the house doing their thing, probably without the ability to leave the house and lots of transparent walls and some way to interact, possibly via the pc or via sensors on the house such as microphones and cameras, along with some custom code, an API, and some peer-to-peer modules.

A big problem is calibration. With robotics, each sensor you get will have differences between them, and over time many sensors will degrade slightly. What this means is that you will have to calibrate every sensor against a standard of its type. If people are going to be making their own, then this could be a problem.

Also, sensors for real robots, rather than Ais that exist entirely within a computer, have to deal with noise in their sensors, and even problems like slipage of motors and such. This means that getting a real robot to work like an AI in a computer is a very different task, one that is much more complex.

The biggest part is to develop models of all errors and problems (motor slipage, sensor noise, etc) and detect them (which requier sensors, and these can have the same errors too) that the robot could possible encounter and then correct for them. This is no trivial task and as the very sensors needed to detect these probelms are also subject to themn, you need even more complex systems to handle these problems and so on.

In computers, these errors never occur. You don't have sensor noise and you don't have motor slips or any thing like that. It all works perfectly, and yet there are still lots of problmes that AIs have in computers without any of the real world problems that robots have.

It is this reason that robots are so expensive. If there was an easy, cheap way to deal with these real world problems, you could actually make a lot of advancments in robotics by developing them.

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