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Technology: How things work.
RoboSpatium: The high tech playground!
News: What has happened so far...
Responses: Leave a comment.
Games: Train your brain.

Teaching technology

(I.) Why this project exists?

Computers rule the modern world and we need shepherds that can oversee that technology rather than sheeps that just use it by tipping on colored user interfaces - no matter on what operating system.
We must hand free access to the knowledge behind computing and networking to all people, so that they have a chance to live a self-determined life. I am trying to teach basics about physics and computing - both things combined are nowadays called "Physical Computing".

Some of the fundamental questions this project tries to answer are:

How do diodes, photovoltaic cells, transistors or semiconductors work?
How to store a byte and transmit digital information?
How do electric motors and generators (that are today controlled by computers) work?
How do heat engines (that are also ruled by computers - at least the modern ones) - work?
What is mechanical work or power (the sensible equivalent of the electric energy needed to operate computers)?
How can I "store" energy?
And finally: "Am I a lonesome cowboy with all these questions in my mind or is somebody out there in front of a computer screen interested in this stuff, too?"

Some answers are already given on a couple of the pages, but there is still a lot of work to be done...

(II.) Bottom Up

I am trying to (re)build technology, starting from scratch. Turning a LED ON or OFF with a computer sounds simple, but you need to know the parameters even of a low power device to make it work properly. Amplifying signals is the key element to switch high power devices, thus you must know how transistors work. If you know how to control motors, you can start building machines. I have build a couple of CNC machines ranging from a cardboard version that can be used to teach base principles of Computerized Numerical Control to CNC v3.2 which is a base tool that will help to improve the mechanical quality of your future projects.

(III.) Open source

The great thing with computers is: They can do anything with all pheriperals they are connected to! With that in mind, the only software you can trust is Open Source software. A second thing to keep in mind is: keep it simple! For all operating systems of modern computers there is no day without software patch. Do the really important stuff with simple microcontrollers such as the Arduino Uno. Low RAM and program memory means that one person can understand all of the code that runs on those computers and that there is (almost) no space for closed source and hidden software.

(IV.) Multimedia based

The knowledge about generators, semiconductors or photovoltaic cells and computing has been written multiple times - so why am I doing this again? Wikipedia is the outstanding reference and I definitely won't try to compete with that encyclopedia. Instead I would like to add some practical knowledge. There are Java apps, animated gifs, videos, experiments and circuit layouts as well as machines and finally the RoboSpatium. Learning should be fun and I would like to wake wide interests.

(V.) Copyright

Each human being has a right to copy. Copying means reproducing useful stuff which has been done by humans since the beginning of civilization - to my mind civilization is nothing but copying the attitude of other humans. What would happen if the usage of spoken words would be limited to just a couple of individuals, capable of paying licenses? The videos, pictures, circuit layouts, software and text passages created for this project are freely available!

(...) Originally

...the intention of these pages was the documentation of the conversion process from a combustion engine powered car into an electric vehicle. It should always be more than a simple documentation, but also a detailed description of all technologies needed for the conversion - a veeery detailed description. The column Technology grew up fast and suddenly the large electric car was no longer the only objective. The tiny electric robots at the RoboSpatium, meeting the bottom-up philosophy perfectly, took the place of the large vehicle.

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