Software development isn't cheap, and it's particularly difficult if you happen to be a sole developer committed to supporting and enhancing a popular open source software project out of your own pocket.
For years Robert Oschler has contributed to the robot community in many ways, including freely sharing his knowledge and expertise, creating hilariously entertaining robot videos and unique new robot songs, in addition to developing the RoboDance project that enables users to control a wide range of robots from their PC or other devices. He's even gone to the extreme of adding voice recognition capability and Skype functionality to the open source system.
While his dedication and commitment to the project have brought him some level of recognition and fame, like being featured in the New York TImes, it hasn't attracted funding to underwrite the project. As a result, he's putting several very attractive internet domains on the auction block, including potentially strong SEO ranking properties like AndroidBlogs.com, AndroidJob.com, WomanBlogger.com, and WomanWorker.com.
It's a great chance for the right person to pickup a hot, highly relevant, domain at bargain pricing, while helping out the robot community in the process.
(Via RoboDance fundraiser.)
Robert Oschler has done a fantastic job of single-handedly developing the RoboDance application that allows users of almost every WowWee robot, and some other manufacturers robots like the popular Takara/TOMY iSOBOT, control their bots remotely using their computer, voice, WiiMote, and even mind control using the Emotiv EPOC EEG headset.
For four consecutive years Robert labored diligently to produce each annual feature packed new RoboDance release, funding everything out of his own pocket and contributing all the work to the open source community so that everyone would benefit. It's been a labor of love.
But, as wonderful and powerful as love is, we all still need food, warmth, and a roof over our heads. Even robots have to pay for electricity to recharge their batteries and oil to lubricate their joints. So, to help "keep the lights on" and continue RoboDance development, Robert has put out a call for support.
There are several ways supporters can help. Robert has a number of Internet domains up for sale, including one that should be extremely attractive to anyone in the Google Android community. It's a great chance to lock down a strong domain while supporting a very worthy cause. Or if you prefer just click on the donate link on the RoboDance Fundraiser page and send Robert as much as you feel comfortable giving. I'm sure he will welcome, and acknowledge, all contributions no matter how big or small.
Every robot designer loves their own creations, at least at the beginning, and they often find it difficult to understand why other people aren’t as enraptured with the beauty and wonder of the robot they gave birth to. Still, at the end of the day the bottom line is to create products that customers relate to enough that they feel compelled to open their wallets and give us their hard earned cash or plastic.
If we’re really lucky, and really creative, then we can repeat the process over and over again, using the profits from this product generation to build the next one. And, our customers will be so delighted with our products that they will automatically come back to buy more and more.
As much as we’re devoted to the larger humanoid robots, we have to admit that they’re a bit expensive. At the same time, we love the lower cost robots like the TOMY i-SOBOT and the WowWee Robosapien types. But their remote controls are frequently complex and difficult to use, and editing a robot program usually turns out to be an exercise in frustration.
The best way to get around the remote control/programability challenge has been the free RoboDance software application. It’s loaded with great functionality and is extremely easy to use, even for a pure novice. It’s only drawback has been that you have to purchase a special IR transmitter to send the software commands to your robot. Thankfully a new, low cost transmitter, appropriately named “Robo-IRT” has hit the market.
’Robo-IRT Makes Controlling the i-SOBOT a Breeze’ continues
Well, it looks like Christmas came a little early, at least for this robot loving home. The happy robot couple pictured above joined our collection a few days ago, and we've been having an absolute blast exploring their features and foibles. Needless to say, we'll be posting some detailed reports and videos featuring both the Tri-Bot and Femisapien robots from WowWee.
EMA (Eternal Maiden Actualization), the female "Femisapien" robot designed by WowWee and marketed in Japan by Sega Toys, it ready to hit stores here next month. According to the local Amazon website, he surprisingly agile humanoid robot will go on sale September 25, and is priced at 18,900 yen - or slightly under USD$200. While we understand the need for some price premium due to changes to meet local safety requirements and documentation localization, Sega seems to have gone way overboard with EMA's pricing. The same WowWee robot, named the Femisapien outside of Japan, can be easily purchased for under USD$80.
About a week ago, we had the chance to play with one of the EMA robots on display at a big electronics superstore, and were very impressed. Its mobility and design were quite a bit better than we imagined. It would make a perfect addition to our collection of robot humanoids, but not at over double the US price. As much as the Japanese public loves, and goes bananas for robots, EMA isn't likely to pick up many fans here, outside of the small circle of robot fans that have seemingly unlimited budgets and credit cards.