In a post on ModRobotics.com called Hardware is Hard,
Eric Schweikardt describes some of the problems he
and the team had developing their Cubelets.
(They have now shipped the first 100 kits, and one
of them came to the Flexibility Envelope, check it
out here: and here)
What Eric and the team are doing is seriously hard stuff.
Developing, testing, debugging and at the same time they must
continuously adjust everything to production. And production is
in itself a nightmare, coordinating 100′s of parts form nearly
as many suppliers located all over the world, and then assembling
thousands of Cubelets: very hard indeed!
In this there is actually a beautiful illustration to why we try to develop
(Self-reconfiguring) modular robotics. Because I can pretty much ignore
all that when I build things with the Cubelets/Modules, because I know that the different
Cubelets/Modules will be compatible. I can buy modules from one
supplier not hundreds of different parts from companies all over the world.
I can also test different ideas and configurations of Cubelets/Modules safely,
as apposed to soldering stuff together randomly which will most likely not end well.
So SRCMR can, with good standards, insulate most people from
most of thees problems. And this might be true even if you would like
to develop your own complementary Cubelets/Modules to fill a hole in the lineup
of existing Cubelets/Modules. There are so many things you do not have to care
about and that allows you to focus on what is relevant for your new module!
I usually promote the many benefits of SRCMR, and they sure are
many and they are significant, but this might be one that is not considered
fully. It makes things practically possible, and that’s the ball game ladies and
gentlemen, few other things matter after that.