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New Gripper for the Track Robot

This is an underactuated gripper digit that will be used for the 3 finger gripper on the Track Robot. The linkages (which are spring loaded) cause the finger to behave like a real finger and allow it to automatically grip nearly any type of object securely. Its 8 inches long. It only requires a single actuator. Great for robots in the wild.

See more on the Track Robot gripper here


SRL Banned Again, This Time at Ft Mason

SRL was invited to perform at the 2015 SF International Arts Festival, This is actually a theatre festival, with performers coming to SF from around the world. SRL agreed to perform for free; collecting revenues from ticket sales to the SRL show only.

This would have been the third major SRL performance at Ft. Mason. (SRL has also staged several small events over the years at FT. Mason). The director of Ft. Mason was certain that the Ft. Mason National Parks Service Fire Marshall could be convinced to allow the performance, based on his work with the Fire Marshall over the years.

However, when he approached the NPS Fire Marshall, he was told that under no circumstances would SRL be allowed at Ft. Mason. The Fire Marshall cited several videos of past SRL shows he viewed online. Specifically referencing the SF MOMA Groundbreaking show, where the SFFD was seen chiding Mark Pauline at the end of the video.

What he most certainly did not know was that the entire post show scene was a charade hatched by the SFFD brass themselves.

The morning of the SF MOMA show, Fire Dept officials drove me to the Main Fire Station for a “strategy” meeting. The SF Fire Chief himself told me that they were being forced to allow the show to proceed by the Mayors office (Frank Jordan) and that they needed cover. They said that after the show, they would make it appear that they were cracking down on me hard and I needed to play along.
At the end of the show, right on cue, I was harangued by various SFFD officials in plain view of the public. At one point, a city Fire Marshall (who had been at the morning meeting) was writing “tickets” to me. I looked down and saw it was just gibberish. He whispered to me “don’t worry, just play along”. The tickets were all fakes, of course, but the repercussions reverberate to this day.

SFFD is the finale of the SRL SFMOMA Groundbreaking Show

SFFD is the finale of the SRL SFMOMA Groundbreaking Show


This is a lecture delivered at Chabot Planetarium 2/21/15. First public run of the rebuilt Track Robot. Shows the Oculus Rift 3d telepresence system operating with some video interference generated by the wireless mics being used there. Also features my kid, Jake Eddie Pauline, skillfully driving the Track Robot. This is also the first video made of an SRL public lecture.

Video shot and edited by Steve Bage.


New 3D Camera System for the Track Robot

Aside from speaking at Chabot and demoing the newly refurbished Track Robot, Mark Pauline also installed a new 3D camera tracking system on it and says, “Got the 3d Oculus system on the Track Robot up and running all the way today. Tilt/pan/roll using the Oculus headtracking output, 3d camera with dual 1 watt video transmitters. Looks like over 1000′ range through buildings etc ie: urban setting. Ran it for about 20 min in the shop and the yard. Made me feel kind of sick and disoriented but works great. Really feel like youre in the machine!”


Track Robot Rides Again

Mark got the Track Robot running with the new controllers and the 3D vision system which he’s bringing on Sat Feb 21 to his presentation for East Bay Nerd Nite The last time the track robot was taken out for a spin was for the Shipyard show in Berkeley 2001!


Mark Pauline Talk at Nerd Nite

Come see Mark Pauline present at Nerd Nite in Chabot Feb 21 8-10pm


Track Robot – New ESC Controller testing

The Track Robot rises from the dead. Testing the new quad speed controller for the Track Robot on the tread motors. The ESC’s are rated for 150 amps @ 24VDC on the made in china scale so cut that in half. They seem ok for regular duty. However, I determined that if you operate at full throttle, forward /reverse as fast as you can move the stick about 30 times, they will literally explode! At SRL this is a feature, not a bug, and a great way to get around Pyro limitations!


OC Robotics Snake vs SRL Spine Robot?

BoingBoing’s David Pescovitz wonders what would happen in an encounter of OC Robotics Snake Robot vs SRL Spine Robot. What would SRL come up with with a few million $ – investors should find out!

SRL debuted the Spine Robot at the Explosion of Ungovernable Rage show in 2010.



New Wheels for the Spine Robot

Mark finished making new hard tires for the Spine Robot Mobile Platform. The originals were made using small Jet Aircraft tires. While these tires are almost 2″ thick and 16 ply, there was too much flex when making tight turns, leading to the tires folding inwards and stalling the turn.

The roller bearings were removed from the original hubs and installed in new aluminum hubs. Steel rings were rolled, machined, and press fitted to solid rubber forklift style tires after bolt circles were welded inside.

Three point turns are now a snap, and no further risk of flat tires during a show.

More images of the new wheels here


Jet Powered Whistle at The Lab

Here’s a video of the short but sweet kick off to The Lab’s 24 Hour Telethon to raise funds for their renovation and continued operations. It took about 5 minutes for SFPD to end it all but the telethon was a success and SF gets to keep The Lab and all the art, culture, music events it hosts!

More info, images, and video on this event here