Re: [mowbot] Goals

Byron A Jeff (byron nospam at
Sat, 28 Sep 1996 15:33:27 -0400 (EDT)

> We are getting close to the end of the month here and we really need to
> come up with some definate, agreeable goals for the project that we can
> publish.

Easier said than done. I think there are only two goals that
are universally agreed on. Everthing else is still subject to debate.

Agreed on goals
1) Mowbot must be mobile.
2) Mowbot must cut gress.

That's it. Every other goal from complete autonomy, self-recharging, even
tethering or gas vs. electricity is still open.

So let me propose a couple of meta goals that can help resolve some of
these issues without restricting us completely to design by comittee:

1) Design an infrastructure that meets the two goals we can agree on and
gives enough flexibility to implement systems that meet our individual

2) Instead of design by comittee, it's probably more productive to do
design by friendly competition. For each goal (mobility, grass cutting,
autonomy, sensing, recharging, power efficiency, etc.) set up an objective
measure. Then let folks try to hit the bullseye. Prototype away measuring
the capability of the prototype vs. the objective measure. Once a prototype
meets the measure, some other group members can duplicate both the
implementation and measurements of the prototype. Then we can grade the
prototype vs others in the same class in terms of ease of building,
availability of materials, cost, and the objective measure. Incorporate
the best of the best into the final Mowbot design. Or have several
interchangable designes available to meet different needs.

> I'm not totally sure how we can really radify anything on the list.
> Should we go for a 50% + 1 approval? I think that that would be fair and
> (obviously) upset the least amount of people. The list is currently at
> 42 members I think, so we would need 23 approvals in order to pass
> anything. Does this sound fair?

It's fair, but it's very unlikely that one single committee based design
will meet every single persons needs. Committees are all about compromise,
not excellence.

Let everyone try their best, most radical ideas and compete on a level
playing field. I bet that the winners will be much better than anything
any commitee, no matter how diligent, will agree on.

My thinking is that if we build a series of interconnecting modules that
are platform neutral, that each of us can construct one of a family
of mobots that will meet our particular needs.

Think about it: Not a single Mowbot design but an interconnected module
infrastructure that can pullthe best elements together for each user.

For a Jack of all trades is a master of none.