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Welcome, Gerry Roston!
- Gerry is the CEO of Civionics, an “IIOT” company (Industrial Internet of Things)
- He worked at JPL as one of the early engineers on the Mars Rover project. The equipment was things like the Puma 560 controlled by a PDP11/73
- The prototype that Gerry helped create was called Robby the Rover. This was primarily used to develop the software for the final rovers. The first successfully landed/drive was the Sojourner. This landed by deploying large airbags and bouncing.
- Chris was sad thinking about lonely rovers, like shown in XKCD695
- Some of these robots ended up in the Boston Computer Museum
- We also discussed kalman filters, which are utilized in sensor fusion.
- The PUMA robot was from Unimate.
- After JPL, Gerry went to get a PhD at Carnegie Mellon. Boston Dynamics founder Mark Raibert was either staff or faculty at the CMU School of Comp Sci when he got there.
- The department is called the Field Robotics Center (FRC). Part of the lab was recently hired away by Uber to work on self driving cars (They also poached from the closely affiliated National Robotics Engineering Center.).
- Gerry worked on early versions of these, some of the first cars using GPS. But they had to use degraded resolution WAS.
- The vehicles were called Nav Lab 1 & 2. Watch it in action here.
- Self driving trucks could be a disruptive technology (to the economy). Gerry mentions truck convoying is already possible.
- Gerry’s PhD thesis was on meta design, systems that evolve over time. (“A Genetic Methodology for Configuration Design – The Robotics Institute”)
- “Technology after a while becomes easy” but people did not. Gerry moved into the startup world.
- He is now the CEO of Civionics, a startup monitoring sensors at large industrial facilities. They currently monitor the cooling fans’ current on large stamping machines. They have stopped 3 downtime events already.
- The system is a hub and spoke system with “Leaf” nodes and a “Cloudgate” node. Inter-node comms is 802.15.4 (zigbee) and the cloudgate talks wifi or 3G.
- Gerry is also an executive in residence (EIR) at TechTownDetroit.
- He recommends Steve Blank’s course about building startups (free). He also recommends the book “Talking to humans“, which details how to do customer discovery.
ru4mj12 (@ru4mj12) says
The udacity course looks interesting! Regarding surgical robots, could a DIY open source version be the future?