Michael Overstreet has been a good and respected friend since the first time we hooked up several years ago at RoboGames in California. So, I hope he doesn't mind if I make some frank, and well deserved, comments.
When we first met Michael seemed like a typical robot geek, very talented with lots of expertise, but a bit shy and withdrawn. You really had to push him to get him to tell you what he thought. I'm sure he had lots of valuable and useful things to share, but they didn't flow easily.
Over the years, with experience, learning, and success, Michael has really blossomed and come out of his shell. He's become a key member of the Cowtown Computer Congress - Kansas City's leading hackerspace, a frequent exhibitor and participant in Maker Faire events all over the US, and a strong proponent of the DARwin-OP humanoid robot platform.
Michael would be the first one to tell you that it's not about himself at all. It's all about the community and how he can help others achieve the same results, satisfaction, and thrills that he has over the past few years. He's always ready and willing to answer questions, give advice, and offer his time to help other makers whether they are involved in robotics, 3D printing, crafting, or almost any segment of the maker universe.
Boomer, Michael's humanoid robot, has had a long and colorful history. The first generation Boomer was a Hitec Robonova-1 that Michael modified extensively over the years, learning more and more with each successive evolution.
When Boomer was unexpectedly stolen Michael must have been heartbroken. But, he didn't let it slow him down. He persisted and found a way to continue his robot adventure. It wasn't long before Boomer was reborn as a Robotis based humanoid. I say 'Robotis based' simply because Michael has done quite a few modifications to Boomer, including 3D printing new body parts and shells for his robot.
It's a truism that you should always write or talk about something you know and have a passion for. No one validates that truism more than Michael in the latest Kansas City Maker Faire promotional video below. Watch how focused and clear he is, speaking from his heart about a cause that he not only believes in, a cause that he lives each and every day.
I have no idea how he manages it, but Michael seems to be popping up at all the major Maker Faire events recently. Check out his popular blog for his upcoming travel schedule. If you see him, please don't hesitate to go up and introduce yourself. I'm sure he'll be very happy to meet you, show off Boomer and his other projects, and answer any questions you have.