[Noisebridge-discuss] Entry & Security

Gopiballava Flaherty gopiballava at gmail.com
Mon Feb 13 07:11:42 UTC 2012

Hi Jake,

I'm pretty sure that's when it happened.

The robot was under manual control, but the manual controls were very high latency and jumpy (I'd been watching the operator, whose name I don't know, attempting to control MCHawking a couple hours earlier). Unfortunately, the operator did not seem to realize that:

1. When a robot's motion is best described as lurching a few feet per keystroke in the approximate direction you intend, you need to give it decent clearance around people *especially* when they're facing away and uninvolved in robot antics.
2. When you're 20+ feet away from a robot in the dark, your depth perception is generally going to be sub-par.
3. When you drive a robot into somebody from behind, it is appropriate to actually speak directly to the person you hit and ask them how they are.

A couple weeks after that I was at NB and somebody was, I believe, playing with the robot. I don't know precisely how he got unleashed. However, he was flailing about wildly and smashing into bicycles on the wall. The minimally labeled on/off switch had no effect. I ended up physically restraining the robot with the assistance of a few other people while attempting to reach the battery connection to actually get him to stop.

Removing the long, heavy metal rod that was sticking out really far from MCHawking was an excellent move in the right direction, but he really needs some sort of emergency stop mechanism. Something as simple as a cable with a low extraction force connector somewhere easy to reach would probably be a great start.

Perhaps route the motor controller wires though a big red cable with a DE9 in the middle, going across the top of the robot. So somebody can just grab either end of the cable and pull. As long as nobody attaches thumbscrews to the DE9 of course.

I looked at the wiring for a bit, but wasn't sure what was what and didn't want to break anything. I've also been out of town for awhile.



On Feb 12, 2012, at 11:42 PM, Jake wrote:

> Tao, did this happen at Hackmeet 2011 in October or when did it happen?
> -jake, admin of MCHawking the wheelchair robot
> Tao Neuendorffer Flaherty wrote:
> I have been watching prototype robots and taking robotics classes for
> almost two decades. Lots of robots, lots of failure, lots of discovery, no
> injury. Until I was watching Hackers at Noisebridge, and a robot came
> zooming out of the other room, hit me hard, and swung it's arm to hit me
> again. I screamed. It was not a good part of the movie for excruciating
> pain, or the realization that I could be dead if it had come a little to
> the left and hit my neck instead of my shoulder. I kept watching the
> movie, insulted at the interruption. Nobody came to apologize to me.
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