First thing you'll need to build robots on a tropical island in the rain forest is mesh, lots of it. Picture an artists retreat, centrally located in the middle of nowhere. The perfect place to focus.
Sounds change from what you’re certain is parrot song, but is really a Jamaican Crow (Corvus jamaicensis), to cricket chirps overnight, awake to calls of Anolis grahami ubiquitous
lizards sounding oddly similar to a rubber-duck
usually followed by the slow distant chopping of a Rastafarian working the jungle with a machet’, later interspersed by reggae melodically drifting from local residences. Speaking of Rain-Forests,
in Jamaica, filtering through a mainly limestone and aragonite mountainous crust created by ancient coral reefs. Relatively soft and soluble, underground rivers and aquifers often burst from the surface as blue holes, creating a riverhead. Supplying amazingly clear blue water fully saturated with calcium. Pump it up a hillside to a large storage tank then let gravity feed it to your house.
photovoltaics are a must
Next up, electricity. Where the current is fleeting, photovoltaics are a must. If during a power-outage you ask a neighbor if they have electricity, the likely response is ‘I have current’, meaning they usually have electricity, but only after further discussion do you find it’s not currently working. Which is normal, it come and go. Solar panels on the roof connected through a charge controller to batteries feeding an 120v inverter provides consistent power for uninterrupted work. Optimizing the location with a white roof and mountain breeze augmented by fans keeps electrical usage around 8kw a day for a comfortable tropical office year-round.
The most important ingredient, Internet
Being a small island, cellular internet is available almost everywhere cable/fiber internet isn't, and with a cost about 10x less than in the US, it is a viable option. Sub-sea cables keep the islands connected directly to North and South America and subsequently the world.
Chinese motorcyclesto get around, are readily available. It’s always warm enough and rain showers pass quickly. Yeng-Yeng, Hi-Rev and Du-Road are popular brands, for about 200,000jmd new, the same price as a well used Corolla, about $1,400usd. Critical parts are amazingly well made, and if well tuned, top the bike out around 130 kph.
If you do purchase one you will need to visit the tax office, depot, and insurance company. Tax office waits are notoriously long,
get a Red Stripe for yourself and the person behind you in lineEveryone needs some excitement in their life, riding a motorcycle in Jamaica will cover that. Think speeding vehicles, just about everyone drives as fast as possible, plenty potholes too. Bolt a Heineken crate to the back for hydration brewed right on the island.
A dog to keep the motorcycles company isn’t a bad idea, name them by their behavior or looks. This guy’s named Pita, which is how the name Peter is pronounced here, and also a very fitting acronym. He may not be the brightest bulb on the tree, but he is a lovable character. Grew up believing one of the Yeng Yengs was his parent. He’s very helpful, tearing up anything left outside, and is always available to bite your ankles or re-organize tools currently in use.
There’s something nice about mixing up a day of robotics work with the age old practice of cooking dinner over a fyah, ideally fired by locally produced ‘coal’ (charcoal).
Make yourself a Jerk Pan from a 55 gallon ‘tinner’ (paint-thinner) drum, 3/8in square bar, and quarter-wire. In case you are wondering why its not a grill, grills are put on door and window openings to discourage villains, vandals, and goths.
Crisp and fresh, local fruits and vegetables are available year round. Visit the local town square on Saturday and you’re likely to find farmers from the area selling their crops. Aim to pay about 100jmd a pound for most items.
Food also falls from the sky, as most properties are ‘fruited’ supplying breadfruit, pears (avocado), papaya, oranges, starfruit, soursop, guavas, and a seemingly endless supply of seasonal varied fresh fruit.
Join us in this tropical paradise by following oshRobot’s
Jungle Robotics Blog
We’ll post updates and useful articles focused on bringing a revolutionary 6 axis delta robot to market.
Coming from a background of machine integration OSPOM’s founders were struck by the lack of affordable robotics. Innovation is surprisingly slow, resulting in robotic arms being used in most applications.
Arms are easy for people to relate to, so they’re a likely first step after the less dexterous Cartesian robots. Parallel robotics provide a better ratio of payload/speed to price, but are currently limited to short range Stewart-platforms and 3-axis native delta robots, all requiring expensive hardware and controllers.
A 6-axis native Delta robot, Apollo is oshRobot’s solution, costing about 10 times less than a comparable robotic arm. They don’t exist yet in industry not because no one has thought of it, but because it’s not easy to do.
A suitable Kinematics engine didn't exist until oshRobot created one. As part of the open-source open-hardware movement, oshRobot has created a 6-axis parallel robot controller running on a
Raspberry-Pi & 2 Teensy’s (Arduino compatible micro-controllers)This motion control system runs at the industrial standard of 1000hz kinematics, with encoders and 250,000hz step generation.
Apollo is designed to be useful and affordable. The first version of Apollo is adjustable anywhere from a 10kg payload in a 1cuft workspace, to a 1kg payload with 1.5 meter reach. The goldy-locks size being a 5kg payload with 1m reach. A kit is expected to cost around $2,000usd, and about $3,000usd assembled.