Cycler runs his own inbuilt personality program which makes him look around, move his head and arms, move and illuminate his eyes in various sequences and generally look alive. This personality program enables his handler to have both hands free and in view.Cycler has five microcontrollers for his brain, six electric motors, an MP3 sound file player and an amplifier and speakers which allow him to talk to an audience of around 200 children at a time. Cycler’s lips illuminate in synchronism with the speaking and singing voice which is stored on an MP3 player.
Cycler can carry out a question and answer session with his audience indicating “Yes”, “No”, “Maybe”, “Correct” and so on. Using the palm sized transmitter the handler can override the computer control sequences by controlling Cycler’s wheels, arms, head or MP3 player. His handler can start and stop the MP3 player and skip sections of his speech and singing at will. Cycler’s handler can make him drive around, move his arms and head and has full control over the MP3 player enabling Cycler to sing, and speak interactively with the audience.Cycler’s arms can move up and down individually and his head can nod up and down and move left and right. Using his head and arm movements together with his mouth expressions
If the transmitter is not used for several minutes it will switch off to prolong battery life. Cycler then stays still to prolong his battery life. For public safety reasons Cycler cannot drive about unless specifically made to do so by his handler. One transmitter can control all three robots so that they can dance together.
Wastewatch asked me and several other professional robot builders and universities if we could build them three robots to go into schools. I asked one of my former students and robot maker David Buckley to help create a design specification and cost estimate. We submited this to Wastewatch and won the bid. Currently the Cycler robots we designed and built have been into hundereds of schools and seen by thousands of school children. For a more detailed and technical description of what Cycler can do, and more design information see the paper “An Educational and Presentation Robot” Martin Smith and David Buckley, Proceedings of the Society for Artificial Intelligenge and Simulation of Behaviour Workshop AISB 2005 University of Hertfordshire, April 2005.
When the Cyclers were completed Waste Watch organised a launch party at the House of Commons with the Rt Hon. Michael Meacher Secretary of State for the Environment. The people from left to right are:- Lisa Cockerton, Martin Smith, Barbara Herridge, Michael Meacher, ?? and Wendy Jenkinson.