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Re:Education

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  • jazz2k1us
    Thanks for the enthusiasm Dave. I hope to be able to learn a wide array of skills and gain like-minded friends. I ve read some of Kurzweil s books and hope
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 14 10:32 PM
      Thanks for the enthusiasm Dave. I hope to be able to learn a wide
      array of skills and gain like-minded friends. I've read some of
      Kurzweil's books and hope to be able to contribute to the community for
      decades to come (43 is the new 23?). I agree the box is a good place
      to put my laptop but far too small a place to think. I like what DARPA
      did to energize many inspired folks to collaborate in doing the
      previously 'impossible'. I would like the formal education in order to
      be grounded enough to teach and inspire younger associates in time.
      However, I do also want to start soon with hands-on projects.
      Mindstorm and BOE bots sound interesting.
      DeWayne
    • Dave Hylands
      Hi DeWayne, ... suggestions ... I break down robotics into 4 basic areas: 1 - Mechanical 2 - Electrical 3 - Programming 4 - Looks (artistic/style) Part of
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 15 12:00 PM
        Hi DeWayne,

        > I've been away for years, since the DARPA challenge in fact. My
        > interest in robotics was strong yet limited by a high school
        > education. The kids are grown and I'm ready to get the training
        > needed. I'm 43 yrs old and hope to begin in Fall '09. Any
        suggestions
        > for Degree programs or getting in mental shape in the meantime. Also,

        > are there any weekend meetings? Thanks for your ideas in advance,

        I break down "robotics" into 4 basic areas:

        1 - Mechanical
        2 - Electrical
        3 - Programming
        4 - Looks (artistic/style)

        Part of choosing an area will depend on your own personal interests.

        The thing that I see missing the most, is the programming aspect. So
        this is the place I would focus on (OK - I'm also a programmer by
        profession - so you can consider my opinion to be biased :).

        There seems to be lots of electronics boards/kits that are readily
        available or can easily be assembled. Having some basic electronics
        knowledge would also be quite useful, although most of the pertinent
        information can be easily learned from a few books, like David Cook's
        "Robot Building for Beginners" and "Intermediate Robot Building".
        <http://www.robotroom.com/>
        Unless you're planning on designing specialty electronics, the basics
        will get you a long ways in the hobbyist robotics market. Most stuff is
        digital, and you'll need to figure out how to use an A/D converter for
        interfacing to the analog stuff.

        Personally, I found that the mechanical stuff was pretty easy to pick
        up, although I've been building models and using tools since I was kid.
        I bought my own CNC mill and lathe, and while I have a blast making my
        own parts, it is very time consuming.

        And, probably the most valuable skill is learning how to ask the right
        questions...

        I notice lots of people being afraid to ask questions, because they feel
        that the questions are "stupid". In my books there is no such thing as a
        stupid question, just stupid answers. It's ok to not know everything.
        Don't be afraid to ask, but also learn how to use the tools to find the
        information (like google).

        Dave Hylands
        http://www.davehylands.com/
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