Developing Interest in Robotics
When I was a child of about 10, my father was an electronics instructor. He tried to teach me electronics, but I was more into working on my bicycle, a 3-speed hub on the back wheel. I collected glass soda (pop) bottles to raise enough money to buy a book to repair the 3-speed hub. When I was done, I had a great mechanical 3-speed hub that worked like new to propel my bicycle at different speeds.
So, I was always interested in mechanics and how to make things work. But, inside, I had a strong interest in electronics because of my father's interest in electronics, such as making computer trainers from scratch when the computing industry was just getting started.
When I joined the Air Force, I wanted to be a computer technician. I worked on electronic circuit troubleshooting and repair of mainframe computers for aircraft tracking radar and digital messaging mainframe computers. Then, when the small computer age sprang up, I found myself programming databases and connecting computers together to form networks. If you think computing systems were expensive in the beginning, you are right. But robotic systems were even more out of reach for the average person.
Being so busy for most of my adult life, my interest in robots was always there under the surface and, not until I retired and found myself disabled from a back condition, did I find the time to jump into robotics. Suddenly, I realized that robotics technology was now availabe to the average person. So, I jumped in and started building robots. I should have done this ages ago! I finally found what I wanted to do with my life. The more I built robots and robtic systems, the more motivation and enthusiasm I gained.
Drawing from the mission and vision of Latham Robotics, I want to share my motivation and enthusiasm for the furthering of robotics technology by attracting people of all ages into the world of robotics and enabling them to succeed at building their own robots and ultimately to increase the knowledge-base of American youth by garnering wide-spread interest in robotics so that more young people will pursue academic programs for robotics.