Friday, December 25, 2015

OMG: There I am back in 1995 at the CyberJava cafe

OMG: There I am back in 1995 at the CyberJava cafe I helped get going.

They show the back of my head twice and My home page at 1:50 in.

CyberJava-LA2 from gnormal on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Chiton eyes maybe be the only light field or plenoptic camera to occur in nature.

Chiton a hard shelled mollusk has hard ceramic eyes on it's back.  These eye's can not focus and produce low resolution images.

In seeing these images, having these low resolution eyes in fixed locations may actually give this creature excellent 3D depth perception and it may have excellent vision possibly far better then most fish.

This is done by combining each smaller image to act as part of a larger image sensor, where focus is achieved computationally.

Monday, August 03, 2015

I was a speaker at the "Robotics as a Business" conference.

ROBOTICS AS A BUSINESS: Monetizing the Emerging Megatrend in Commercial Robotics

I spoke on Panel 3

Panel 3: DISRUPTIVE APPLICATIONS: Is your Business Ready for Smart Robots and AI?
Moderator: Harrison Rose, CEO and Co-Founder, Telepresence Robotics Corporation
Speaker profiles: Executives of rapidly growing robotics companies

I gave a 10 minutes talk called: "Cloud Robotics Our Future Economy" Which I hope to post the video and slide deck shortly.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hacker Dojo Lightning Talks, 2015-04-17

I am at 11:33 in.

Wooden gears and linear positioning.  Conjugate profiles.

Here is a Linear position system that's low cost, precision, low wear. 

I wanted to use Low cost off the self parts.  This means no precision machined Steel. 

I stumbled on the Roller Pinion System (see below)  I wondered if I could do this in reverse.

To use a Roller Chain or set of Rollers (which could be ball bearing rings and a spacer in to an Aluminum L extrusion) 

Contact surface fatigue life for roller rack pinion system

Roller Pinion System - The Reverse of what I want to do.
Two or more rollers engage the rack teeth in opposition at all times eliminating backlash. There is no tooth slap as with traditional rack and pinion, instead the RPS rollers approach the tooth face in a tangent path and then roll smoothly down the tooth face. This provides a smooth, quiet, low friction, fatigue free, high-efficiency rotary to linear motion conversion. Washington in New Hampshire, USA
Sylvester Marsh was issued a U.S. patent for the general idea of a rack railway in September 1861,

FLIR ONE hackathon - My team won second place

Lightning Talk pics: Laser Cutter made Chess board.

Laser Cutter made Chess board.

ITU Journal: The Transformers Issue by ITU Journal

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Home Made Telescope,

I assembled this using nothing but hand tools out doors at a camp ground in 1989 at the top of Fremont Peaks.

 Built as part of a homemade telescope contest in view of other amateur astronomers without any electricity just hand tools.

It had a few interesting design features.  The whole thing could be taken apart with just 1 screw and fit easily in the trunk of my 89 Nissan Sentra.

The main lens adjust was a 2 point system, X & Y allowing for super easy adjustment.

Everything was design to build using only a few cuts and holes drilled including the lens adjuster.


Friday, January 16, 2015


I spoke at the  LINK: Hardware Partners on Jan 13th in San Francisco.

Below is a blog post from an Interview I gave.


Connections and Conventions: How to Make it Big in the Tech World

LINK: Hardware Partners @ SV is one of the more low-key tech conventions around the Bay Area. This year was its inception year, having previously been a more informal meet-up amongst hardware enthusiasts. Despite being in its infancy, the event was packed with hardware experts looking to in swap ideas and business cards.
One of those speaking at the event, as part of a panel on Robotics Education in the US, was ITU’s John Sokol. He works with the ITU Solutions Team, creating and designing equipment for ITU’s new campus. He puts his robotics and hardware expertise down to his lifetime pursuit for knowledge: “I ended up speaking today because I know the organizer through the Hacker Dojo and other tech communities. My work with RoboTerra, and my talk at the Beijing Science Festival, is probably what got me here. What got me to that point was helping with every difficult, technical problem that I could find. Any puzzle I find, I love to examine it and help out; sometimes I feel like I’m wasting people’s time asking so many questions, but that’s how you learn.”

Robotics Education in the US

As the panel delves into the topic at hand, it’s clear that Sokol is critical of the early STEM education system in America, something he elaborates on during our interview after the discussion: “I think robotic learning has to go beyond the current education system. At grade school levels, the current education system is broken. I see a lot of cool things happening with online education, and I think robotics really needs to be a tool to educate the children, as well as something they need to learn about, so it’s a two-way street. Technology is going to be the water these children will be swimming in soon, and if they’re not accustomed to it, they’re going to drown.”

Sokol’s own education on these matters goes well beyond the classroom. He says his wide-ranging curiosity is what has carried him so far in the tech world, as well as some fantastic people to learn from. Among those people was inventor, visionary, and writer of the iconic movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke, whom Sokol worked with in the ‘90s.
“I’ve been fortunate to have some very smart people there to mentor me, like Arthur C. Clarke,” recounts Sokol. “I went out to visit him in Sri Lanka and then did a live video stream from there to Chicago Urbana-Champaign University. He was the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and they were having a huge event, since the computer from the movie was invented there. They wanted him to video conference in, and he used my technology. So in 1997, we did a live stream from Sri Lanka to Chicago, which at the time was incomprehensible.”
The incomprehensible was achieved successfully, but was no surprise to Sokol and Clarke. Both knew the potential of this technology, and were pioneers in applying it. In 1964, Clarke himself perfectly predicted the rise of personal computers and the sociable interface of an inter-connected series of computers. This was 30 years before Windows 95 would even exist.

New Projects and Ways to Get Involved

Networking plays a huge role in getting people into their ideal job fields. Sokol
heavily encourages anyone interested in tech to go to these conventions, big and small, and just get involved as much as they can. He cites his experience in the Hacker Dojo, where he has been involved since its founding, as a huge part of his career.
When asked about his current and future projects, Sokol chuckles and replies: “The list is as long as my arm. I’ve got two different non-invasive glucose devices that I want to get more involved in. I’ve also been doing a lot of investigation into half a dozen different types of robotics sensors, light field video capture and playback display, computational photography. I’m also open to suggestions on how to use robots to decommission the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. I’m currently working with the Solutions Group at ITU, looking at things like the security door lock systems, displays, and 3D printing. I’ve found some interesting LCD technology, so we can use computer controlled windows to tint themselves depending on the amount of light or heat in the building.”
Sokol’s path to these innovative new projects all stems from his involvement in so many different groups and companies. If you are interested in getting into the robotics, hardware, or software field, tech conventions are a great way to learn and make contacts. There are dozens of conventions held around the Bay Area every year; be sure to check out next week’s blog for a list of some of the best ones.