RANDOM: Quick observations regarding humans

I just wanted to share a couple of random observations around humans and their behavior.

First, I noted that you gain respect for how something is built if you attempt to build it yourself.

For example, I am always thinking about how to artificially reproduce human senses such as sight, and after I try to figure out how to process images instantly over and over and provide a comprehensive picture than can be parsed for information, I am in awe of the processing power of just our sense of vision.

Second, I observed that to truly reproduce instinctual behavior, one needs to employ the fight or flight tendency, along with some memory.

For example, think of an animal you are trying to befriend, such as a stray cat. At first, they immediately run from you, because you are an unknown quantity and much bigger than them (flight). Then after observing you a few times and noting there doesn't seem to be an immediate danger, they investigate to see if there is a latent danger, and if so, they run away (flight again).

There's a lot more to the theory on this second point, but it was an observation I wanted to share.


EDUCATION: Calculating battery life

Just a quick note on battery life.

When putting together a circuit where you need to know how long it will run on a battery, you need to know how many amps the circuit draws. Once you have that, you need to know how many amp-hours a battery is rated for.

For example, if your circuit draws 1 amp of power and you have a battery that is rated for 1 amp-hour, that battery will run the circuit for about one hour.

Wikipedia has a list of batteries and their typical amp-hour ratings at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_battery_sizes

What I found surprising was that a typical 9-volt battery is rated for 565 mA/hr (milliamps, not amps), while a typical alkaline AA battery is rated for 2.7 A/hr.

However, a word of caution: circuits also require VOLTS. Therefore, if your circuit pulls 270 mA/hr but requires 3 volts, you will still need two AA batteries, as each battery is roughly 1.5 volts.

At this point, I am assuming batteries in series have the same A/hr rating, but that's a wild guess at this point

OSCAR: Delayed

Brief note: I was not able to complete the Oscar project by Dorkbot on March 11. I did not set aside enough time to work on the project, especially given the compact timeline and my inexperience with microelectronics. I hope to have more on this soon.


OSCAR: The Announcement

I've decided I will at least take a shot at building a robot for Dorkbot 28 which is being held at Austin Music Hall in Austin on March 11. I will be building a robot codenamed "Oscar" to show off and get feedback on.

I plan on documenting various pieces of the build on this blog, so stay tuned for interesting stuff!