I received the green hardcover version of How to Build Your Own Self-Programming Robot in the mail yesterday. This morning I sat down and started rereading the first chapter and taking notes in my new “doodle” journal. I’m sure I’ll be making all kinds of notes and jottings in the days, weeks, and months ahead. I’m giving myself 6 months to complete this project but not sure at this point if that’s realistic.
I had been working through the digital copy of Heiserman’s but there’s nothing like a hardcopy to flip back and forth in. This is going to be a real workbook of sorts. As I said in the first post, Heiserman pulls no punches as he prepares the reader for the hard work and discipline that it will take to bring Rodney to life.
Why should we be content to settle for anything less than the most challenging approach to robotics?”
Although I’m in the early stages of working with Heiserman, I’m starting to see that the man was ahead of his times. While the book is very technical, he leads gently into the meat of the content. In fact, his first chapter is more of a philosophy of robotics, discussing what constitutes a robot versus just a parabot or remote controlled device, as well as a section on the evolution of machine intelligence. Rodney is what Heiserman calls an “autonomous cyborg” and is a real, thinking machine that displays actual intelligence. He’s hopeful about what the future holds for experimental robots like Rodney:
I’m sure someone will one day start making finished, commercial versions of Rodney-like machines. Until that day arrives, however, you have a chance to do something no other generation of man has had a chance to do–build your own intelligent creature.
I’m looking forward to building this 70’s era robot and excited about the challenges and prospects of bringing “Rodney” to life.