Sunday, March 25, 2007

Segway Offroad Outing

So, Segway Tours UK, run by the charming Mike Reeves, gave me a 1-2-1 lesson on offroad Segwaying. I think "Segwaying" will be in 2020s used in the same way that we currently say "skiing" or "scuba-diving". Yes I think it will be a big leisure pursuit. While skiing and scuba-diving is done by relatively fit, able and "young" (Yes, I know not always the case), Segways are for a great form of transport for just about anybody that can stand up!!!

Mike Reeves believes that they will be a school of Segwaying: Bronze, Silver, Gold, whatever, in the same way that there are ski schools. The differnce being that going from Bronze to Gold will be somewhat quicker and achieved with less effort than a ski-school or the scuba-diving PADI open water qualifications.

Bronze: basic skills and tortoise speed settings
Silver: off-road and faster speed settings (Maximum of 12mph)
Gold: Confidence on both off-road, fast speeds, nighttime, golfclub carrying and ability to train others!

You heard it here first!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Space Madness

Space Madness has an entry into wkipedia! I guess I must learn how to update wikipedia! :-)

In the meantime, the madness on planet Earth is centred in our household on the Wii :-)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

BBC Horizon "My Pet Dinosaur"

BBC2 Horizon programme "My Pet Dinosaur" discusses the evolution of dinosaurs to an intelligent, walk-upright creature just like the creatures within Sauria. My kids once asked me where did the Saurian Reptiles come from? And I have to explain about how it was the humans that travelled to planet Sauria; the reptiles were there, evolved from dinosaurs (just as postulated in the TV programme). Sauria is a bigger planet than Earth and any impact from asteroids in early planetary history did not completely wipe the dinosaurs out as happened on Earth. Assuming otherwise parallel evolutionary development paths, this allowed the intelligent reptiles to eventually dominant the planet. At least, until those pesky humans turned up! Anyway, this was not explained in the book just alluded to, since it was obvious to the (fictional) central character of the book and a first person account! Perhaps I should add that to a revision of the book... Anyway the TV programme has an image of a humanoid-like reptilian not dis-similar to the creatures inhabiting Sauria. Interesting!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Space Madness

As predicted in Sauria: Space Madness! Mind you all sort of strange things are happening at NASA... if some writer wrote sci-fi about that love triangle nobody would ever believe it.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Segway Robot - Just add Robot

In the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction category... Segway have already developed the
"Robot Platform" - click here to see the details!

Now all I need to do is invent an artificial intelligence with a whimsical sense of humourto to produce the remainder of the Little Robot! :-)

Segway Robot

I guess this must happen to everyone: you have a great idea and five years later someone else has the same idea, made it real and making a ton of money out of it. I often wish I could write patents or some such. (Anyway all this is too close to a future project so I won't say anymore except what the title suggests: Segway robots).

Many years ago... 1996, I developed a cartoon character called "The Little Robot" which I wanted to animate. As anyone even doing animation knows animating legs and humans are tricky. Hey, much easier to create a robot than ran on wheels. If the Robot was a cylinder then, in order to show it turning, it was a just matter of moving the eyes, arms and wheels! Needless to say the character appeared in a couple of demonstration programs and then sunk into obscurity.

I never really considered how the robot was suppose to balance upright on just two wheels. That would just be silly! Even though the Little Robot had artificial intelligence and a sense of humour, the wheel balancing act was the ridiculous thing!

Then "Ginger" turned up: The Segway Human Transporter(HT). Spookily similar proportions to the Little Robots wheel system and I thought... that Segway would be excellent as a robot platform just like my 1996 creation! But to make anything other than have the idea would mean time, money, skill, energy etc. No, all I have are a few synaptic reflexes... Some months ago, I was watching the BBC doing a review of the technology in Korea. Lots of robots! Lots of technology! It must be every geeks dream to live out there. And then on the TV show, out in the background was a robot on two wheels, cylindrical body, domed head, big friendly eyes: the splitting image of my own Little Robot cartoon character! I feel like calling out lamely "Hey that's MY idea. It's copyright. Or something!"

Moral of the story: I need to think up something a little more futuristic next time! It's no good working on ideas that other people are going to have.

The only reason I mention all this stuff now, is that when I visited Florida recently, I went on a Segway HT. The second generation "i2" model; you lean to one side to make it turn. Wow! What fun! I couldn't remove the smile from my face for the rest of the day. I definitely recommend. I've booked a tour for later in March. I can't wait. They may be too expensive to buy and not practical for everyday life. But make sure you have a go on one. They are a hoot! Imagine skiing without the snow, the cold, the face cream and expensive jet flights to the Alps (or wherever), and you start to get the picture. Environmentally friendly transport? Maybe not. Environment friendly entertainment? You bet!