I Hope Bill Does No...
 

I Hope Bill Does Not Give Up on DB1  

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Moneer81
(@moneer81)
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Joined: 7 months ago
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2019-12-06 2:32 pm  

Hello,

I love all the new content, but I do miss DB1.

I know Bill promised at some point to get back to making DB1 videos and updates, but we all know how difficult it is to keep up with a massive, time-consuming project.

So I just want to put in a few words of encouragement to Bill here, and remind him that his fans are eager to see more updates and videos on DB1, but that we are grateful to all the quality content regardless.

Do you guys agree?

This topic was modified 4 months ago by Moneer81

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starnovice
(@starnovice)
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2019-12-06 4:02 pm  

Yes I too hope he does not give up.  I realize he is probably pretty busy.  I plan on starting this build with my grandson and he is excited about doing it. @Bill I would really like to see an over all discussion on what he wants the robot to be like when he is done.  What sensors would he use and for what purpose, where and how would he use ROS; does he plan on having a computer of some kind controlling the bot; Speech recognition; etc.  All subjected to change as design progresses but things we can work on until he gets a chance to get to them.


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Robotics Lab
(@robotics-lab)
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2019-12-06 6:46 pm  

I hope vary much that Bill does keep on with this project, however if he doesn't I understand...


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codecage
(@codecage)
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Posts: 517
2019-12-06 7:11 pm  

As they say, "Patience grasshopper!"

More DB1 coming in the future.

This post was modified 4 months ago by codecage

SteveG


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Michael T
(@michael-t)
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Posts: 11
2019-12-16 4:12 am  

I'd like to add my voice to this chorus, with the full understanding that I'm totally aware of the pressure of other peoples' expectations, and how unhelpful they can be.  I think Bill began this ambitious project to fill the gap between "toy car" robotics and the real, Boston Dynamics, thing.  He nailed it, there was a real niche there, and many of us got very excited and leaped in immediately.  I'm sure mine isn't the only DB1 replicant sitting  on a bench with a complete power distribution network and the beginnings of an I2C network, awaiting further word from Montreal.

The fact is, I've already learned a great deal from following the project this far, since almost all of it has been just a little outside my comfort zone, and just enough so to be challenging. I just got through with wiring up the Mega 2560 shield for the I2C...it took an embarrassing 10 hours,  but by the time I got through I'd come to understand why the schematic was designed the way it was, and a little more about electronics design.  I'm certainly no smarter as a result, but I am a little wiser in the ways of electronics, and I'm most grateful to Bill for this.  It wouldn't have happened otherwise.

If the DB1 project were to founder at this point I'd be out a few bucks, certainly, but I will have gained a motivation and a foothold in a field that's fascinated me for years.  And, I would do my best to find a way to build upon Bill's foundation and complete "my" DB1 (his name is Basil) just for the thrill of it.  I hope it doesn't come to that of course, and that Bill will find a way to balance his various endeavors and responsibilities.  

But if it does...well, Basil and I will wait a while longer, then carry on as best we can, maybe (hopefully) in the company of other members of this forum who are on the same trail, and with gratitude and best wishes to our Montreal mentor.

Michael T

 


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codecage
(@codecage)
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2019-12-16 4:09 pm  

@michael-t

And my DB1, named Willy Nilly, is also sitting patiently awaiting some more attention.

SteveG


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Duce robot
(@duce-robot)
Reputable Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 422
2019-12-22 12:49 am  

Just let it flow slow it'll get done don't ya know sure a working robot is fun but the learning the trial error the joys the pains the ups the downs oh and the magic is all in the build?


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DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
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Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 466
2019-12-22 10:22 am  
Posted by: @codecage

As they say, "Patience grasshopper!"

More DB1 coming in the future.

Codecage says it best, here's what's happening with DB1:

I have definitely not given up on the project, right now I'm working on it when I can.  But I have other things that have to take a higher priority lately.

  • A family issue slowed me down on DB1 and everything else, but at the moment it isn't an issue and shouldn't be until at least April (I hope).
  • My "regular" videos and article always take priority. Actually DB1 videos reduce my subscriber count and lower my YouTube revenue, as they look like "duds" to YouTube's algorithm since they get such poor view counts. So a 1 to 1 ratio of DB1 and "regular" videos was actually killing my channel.
  • I need to soundproof a wall and add another door to my workshop. Right now I am lucky to get a 2-3 hour window every day in which I can record due to noise from next door, and to get that window I need to get up at 2:30 am. After I soundproof I could record at any time and perhaps even get up close to "normal" hours (although I kind of like getting up at 2:30, to be honest).  So the effort there will allow me to make a lot more video - "regular" videos, Patreon videos and DB1 videos.

Right now I'm wiring up the boards for DB1 whenever I get a chance. A week before last I did get some of that done, not as much this week as after I announced the new forum signup policy on the newsletter I received a mass of applications, which I need to do manually. I certainly have no complaints about that, but it did consume an entire two days as I've been trying to write every applicant a personal response.

This week will likely have near-zero activity, I'm doing a few updates to the forum, a LOT of updates to the website and I'm also moving everything to a more powerful web server on Wednesday.  I may be able to do some DB1 wiring done towards the end of the week, and I have some documentation updates that I'll try and get up on Patreon.  That all depends upon how successful the site updates are, so wish me luck, there's a lot to do.

I'll post updates on Patreon and on this forum over the next few weeks, and once the boards are wired I'll release a DB1 YouTube video and article. Going forward you'll be seeing the same pattern - regular Patreon and forum updates and occasional YouTube & articles.  That way I can hopefully satisfy the true DB1 fans without reducing the status of the YouTube channel.

Here is what you can expect to see soon, in order:

  • The I/O Distribution board and two I/O Node boards. These need to be built together and it's what I am wiring now.
  • The Motor Controller board, redesigned with two ATmega328's and an extra chip to handle the Emergency Stop inputs. I know this is a much-requested board, so I'll make it a priority.
  • The four Corner Sensor boards, also using ATmega328's.

When all of that is built the base hardware will actually be ready enough to make this expensive collection of parts move around the room. And at that point, I'll release a YouTube video and article, which hopefully will garner more interest than the others as it will show an actual moving robot base.

Posted by: @michael-t

I just got through with wiring up the Mega 2560 shield for the I2C...it took an embarrassing 10 hours,

Don't be embarrassed, I'm sure I took almost that long myself. I learned a lot too, like which end is pin 1 on a JST-XH connector!

Posted by: @starnovice

I would really like to see an over all discussion on what he wants the robot to be like when he is done.  What sensors would he use and for what purpose, where and how would he use ROS; does he plan on having a computer of some kind controlling the bot; Speech recognition; etc.  All subjected to change as design progresses but things we can work on until he gets a chance to get to them.

That IS a good idea, and probably long overdue. And that's something I can do almost right away.  After this week's updates are finished I will post a thread on the forum so that we can discuss that. May as well enter the new year knowing what we want to accomplish!

Posted by: @michael-t

I'm sure mine isn't the only DB1 replicant sitting  on a bench with a complete power distribution network and the beginnings of an I2C network, awaiting further word from Montreal.

I'm both amazed and flattered that so many of you have taken it upon yourselves to work on this project as well, and it's what makes me determined to have it succeed.  So rest assured, I will not abandon it. And once this basic hardware is done it will allow us (I say "us" as I'm hoping for your assistance here) to get some serious software written to support the hardware.

And I really do appreciate the interest and passion this project has created. Having a few people who are passionate about this project makes up for the lack of general interest and we'll continue with DB1, YouTube algorithm be dammed!

Happy Holidays everyone!

?

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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Pugwash
(@pugwash)
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2019-12-22 12:29 pm  

@dronebot-workshop

I never had a shadow of a doubt that DB1 would go on! There was some concern this year about your absence from both YouTube and the forum. But as you explained in verbose terms, there were "domestic issues" that took priority and this was understandable. Perhaps you made the minor mistake of not issuing a one-liner in the forum or newsletter, to let us know that you were OK, but dealing with other things of greater importance. This would certainly have avoided one minor misunderstanding that I witnessed.

I had also wondered about the figures published on YouTube, so many subscribers and so little views, about 5:1 on sensors and 10:1 on DB1 videos. If I get bored with a channel I usually unsubscribe.

I have been watching your channel for well over a year and although I have no interest in building a robot myself, I find the build process quite fascinating. But as mentioned above, I also feel that you started the project without stating your precise goals and concepts. What is DB1 going to do, when it is finished?

The DroneBot website is a really good resource of information and you have obviously put a lot of time and effort to make it stand out from its peers. Furthermore, it is a "labour of love", a passion, and that is why I knew that DB1 had not joined Monty Python's Norwegian Blue parrot.

On closing, I can only wish you and your family Happy Xmas and a healthy New Year, and that goes for all the forum members that celebrate this festival.

christmas tree

Merry Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten or Joyeux Noel!

This post was modified 4 months ago by Pugwash

SteveC - Topple Rudd Poltman


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codecage
(@codecage)
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Posts: 517
2019-12-22 1:34 pm  

This to everyone, not just the ones closely following this thread.

To state EXACTLY what DB1 is going to do or what its final configuration will be is what I would consider to be the same thing as many, many people asked me back in 1975 what was I going to do with the Altair 8080 computer I was building!

Of all the thing I said, I think the most accurate was my statement that that someday everyone would have one of these in some form or another.  Never did I imagine the things we have today in regards to our computers.

I say the same things today to those that ask me what am I going to with Willy Nilly (as my wife has dubbed our DB1).

Happy Holidays to all!

SteveG


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starnovice
(@starnovice)
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2019-12-22 3:30 pm  
Posted by: @codecage

To state EXACTLY what DB1 is going to do or what its final configuration will be is what I would consider to be the same thing as many, many people asked me back in 1975 what was I going to do with the Altair 8080 computer I was building!

The idea was not to state EXACTLY what DB1 is going to do but to give an overall heuristic of it. Like I have always said that I want to be able to tell it to "Go get me a Pepsi".  So this implies vision, mapping to find the refrigerator, an arm,  voice recognition, etc.  Then we can all chime in and talk about different ways to go about making these things happen. 


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codecage
(@codecage)
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2019-12-22 3:59 pm  

@starnovice

I would think each of us should make their own list of things we would like our own DB1 do, then combine all the lists to see which are the most wanted attributes.  That way we could concentrate on the most requested items first.  Besides I wouldn't want my DB1 to ever get me a Pepsi!  I prefer Coca Cola or Dr. Pepper (or maybe even a Budweiser!). ? 

SteveG


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
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Joined: 10 months ago
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2019-12-22 7:31 pm  
Posted by: @dronebot-workshop

Actually DB1 videos reduce my subscriber count and lower my YouTube revenue, as they look like "duds" to YouTube's algorithm since they get such poor view counts. So a 1 to 1 ratio of DB1 and "regular" videos was actually killing my channel.

I would like to make a positive and constructive suggestion here.  I sincerely hope that it will be received as such. ? 

Instead of accepting that the DB1 series videos are "duds" as a carved-in-stone reality, why not address this problem and work toward  making them "winners"?

With every intent to be constructive and positive I can offer some suggestions for improvements for the DB1 series.   This will unfortunately also require that I share what I find about them to  be "dudish".  This  unfortunately comes with the territory.   But I must admit that even as a DB1 enthusiast I often find a DB 1 episode to be less than thrilling.

Reasons I find them to be unsatisfying:

  1. I'm not seeing sufficient progress being made, where it obviously could be made.
  2. I'm seeing too much explaining of where things are supposedly headed rather than seeing results.
  3. And finally, even though I see a lot of explaining in terms of individual boards,  I'm not seeing anything concerning where the project is ultimately headed.

@starnovice already  addressed #3.    A better picture of where the project is heading overall would be helpful I think.  I would even suggest having someone draw up pictures of what you expect DB1 to look like when finished.  Then you could point to that picture when working on any specific parts.   People are more likely to become engaged if they can see what the final robot will be expected to look like.   You could even have  several different versions drawn up as possibly ways to go, and then choose which version you actually work toward as you go.   This would still give the viewers a better idea of where the project is headed. 

I'd like to now  skip back up to addressing #1 on my list above.  You already basically have a  functioning base unit.  Forget about sophisticated sensors for now and focus on motor control and software to control the motors.   This way people can actually build the base and  have it running around.  Sensors are coming.  They know this.  But at least the have a base RUNNING. 

I'm "results-oriented" person.   If I don't see  functional results quickly I lose interest.  "Instant Gratification" is a natural human desire, call it a flaw or a virtue, either way it's very real.   Viewers who don't see the potential for "Instant Gratification" are likely to click-off and go elsewhere.   So why not address this human need?

With DB1 you could have already had  the Instant Gratification people addicted.    All you need to do  is get that base up and running so people can play with a functional base unit.   Also offer them ways to program and control it beyond having to write short  programs for the Arduino Mega.    Offer them up a simple WiFi connection via a cheap ESP8266-01 module, and show them  how this can then be controlled from a computer or phone.   Then they have a remote control programmable base units.  Instant Gratification achieved!

And now that you have your viewers addicted to programmable sensor-less base unit, they will be drooling to come back and learn how to start adding sensors to it.

Then start adding sensors a few at a time.  Again keeping the videos in a"results oriented" packets.

This brings  us to item #2 on my list above.  From what I've seen it appears to me that you intend to  design an "extremely complex" architecture consisting of many different sensors and  interconnected  microcontrollers, etc.   A huge octopus of cables and connectors that are probably sending a lot of viewers into having horrible  wiring nightmare when they sleep. 

I consider myself able to handle complex designs, but even I start to wonder if this  mass of  interconnected sensors and  microcontrollers will ever become manifest as an actual physical robot that isn't a nightmare to  program.

And when will we see results?  Right now it simply isn't clear when we're going to see any  usable results.

Ok, this ends my positive and constructive suggestions. ?

I hope it didn't come across as a negative rant.   But even you are telling us the the DB1 videos are "duds".  If that's the case, I wouldn't just sit back and accept that an unchangeable fact of reality.  Instead I would  do everything in my power to change it and make the DB1 videos "Winners"!

I believe it can be done.  My suggestion is to design the project in more bite-size pieces so the viewers can actually come away from every DB1  video with the ability to add one more little bit of functionality to their DB1.

Right now it appears to me (and I could  be wrong about this), but it appears that what  you are doing right now is building an octopus of interconnected cables and sensors that aren't going to become anything usable anytime in the foreseeable future.

So I guess my suggestion is to  switch to a modular approach in the design so you can add a little  more functionality to the robot with each DB1 video.   People are going to lose interest if they see this as a huge  project that isn't going to be functioning until next spring, or whatevet.

Just my suggestions for whatever they might be worth.   If the DB1  videos are "duds".   Do something about it.   Make them into "winners". ?

Surely other people on the forums  can chime in and offer what they think would make the DB1 videos more exciting for them.   Let's all help Bill improve the DB1 series to where they are no longer "duds".  

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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Richard
(@fire-chief)
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Joined: 4 months ago
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2019-12-22 10:48 pm  

@dronebot-workshop

Bill, I have no doubt more is coming, I started my DB1 in early November and have gotten it to the Motor Test stage. The pause in You Tube videos has given me a chance to catch up. This is my first attempt at building something this complicated and I am learning a great deal. Your videos are very in-depth and leave me with many answers and very few questions. Keep up the great work and have a Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year.


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starnovice
(@starnovice)
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2019-12-23 8:28 am  
Posted by: @codecage

@starnovice

I would think each of us should make their own list of things we would like our own DB1 do, then combine all the lists to see which are the most wanted attributes.  That way we could concentrate on the most requested items first.  Besides I wouldn't want my DB1 to ever get me a Pepsi!  I prefer Coca Cola or Dr. Pepper (or maybe even a Budweiser!). ? 

Well, okay, but it would be nice to tell it to go get the mail. 🙂 


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