Geek Speak Robots

I’ve been intrigued by robots for as long as I can remember. What kid didn’t think that R2-D2 was awesome?! I knew he looked like a shop vac, but he was so cool. The lights. The movement. The sounds. He had a personality all his own. I remember making robots out of legos and even made a mini r2-d2 out of my mom’s nylon container. Fast forward to today, with the new Star Wars has come new robots.

My son, Oscar got a remote-controlled BB8 robot. BB8 is a round ball who’s head magically (magnetically) stays on. It was pretty cool to play with as he moved around the house. I’m not sure if we got bored of him first or if he broke first. Isn’t it funny how we give object name names and genders? This is an example of anthropomorphism.

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. It is considered to be an innate tendency of human psychology.

When Oscar and I got our hands on a Raspberry Pi computer, we talked about building a robot, but didn’t really get excited about what the robot would do. We ended up building a retro video game console to play Nintendo games. A google search for “raspberry pi project ideas” will show you some ideas and more info about these cool little computers.

We all know who a robot is, but what exactly is a robot?

A robot is a machine—especially one programmable by a computer— capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. Robots may be constructed to take on human form but most robots are machines designed to perform a task with no regard to how they look.

Karel Čapek (1880-1938) is credited for terming the word robot in 1920. Robot is from an old church Slavonic word, robota, for “servitude,” “forced labor” or “drudgery.”

I remember that kid on my bus had a robot that he told me that he programmed. But I never had a working robot of my own. Until now that is. Armed with a Best Buy gift certificate, I recently dove into the mythical world of Best Buy…

I bought an iRobot vacuum. ( You might be thinking Robot = Cool. Vacuum = Meh. But, a robot vacuum is very cool. Sounds kinda old R2, but this robot is actually a vacuum. My daughters were eager to name the robot. They decide on Luna. Luna means moon in Spanish. I found it to be a fitting name as she is round in shape similar to a moon. She is pretty cool to watch as she navigates while avoiding obstacles in her quest for debris to annihilate. She works hard almost every day and she never complains about being asked to do her chores. When she gets tired she heads back to her docking station and takes a well-deserved nap. She sometimes scares Chloe, but all and all she has become a nice addition to the family. Now if she could just do the laundry!

My Mom told me tonight that Luna will be having a cousin soon as they ordered an iRobot of their very own. We now have our robot, when will you get one of your own? Resistance is futile…

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