In September last year the commercial robotics project I was working on ended and the follow up projects were moved over to Europe, this left myself unexpectedly at a loose end financially. I immediately took advantage of this and was able to pursue a commercial machine Learning project for the first time, practising what I had been researching for the last few years. It also meant that I could not dedicate more time on the Folknology Club as this new project required a great deal of attention and focus. However I did manage to dedicate enough time to develop initial bootstrap hardware (Ice Board) for the Folknology Club (FC) during this time.
This also gave me a chance to review the plans for FC and go through in my mind how it would operate. I was also concerned about making the FC fully inclusive for as many folks as possible. There were a couple of important issues I needed to resolve:
- What happens if someone wishes to join later on say half way through, The original subscription blocks/modules lead on sequentially from each other, it is difficult to start in the middle! We need to allow for participation in a non-linear manner.
- What happens to many of the myStorm folks who have already invested in myStorm (or other boards) but want to be part of Folknology Club Pioneers. Here we need to allow for their existing hardware and provide required add-ons (via Pmods) that allow them to take part just like native Folknology Club Pioneering members.
These issues mean that the original subscription only model would not work as it assumes linear monthly access to build parts in a sequence one after the other. What we need is non-linear access and to cater for a more varied starting point for participants. It is up to us to deliver all of the parts/modules (including on-ramps) in a fashion that enables this to happen. It also has some other benefits in that it increases participation flexibility, avoids hardware duplication and furthermore avoids the need to know up front all of the constituent modules 12 months in advance, something which was giving me personal nightmares!
In order to overcome the cost and investment problems upfront (The initial reason for a subscription model) we will need to be creative and crowd funding looks to be one of the ways of delivering key quantity stages of hardware without a subscription commitment, this greatly helps de-risk the next 12 months of Folknology Club and enables us to move forward quickly on each stage.
The main aim of the Folknology Club is to create by making, testing and developing a complete robotics/automation system. This 12 month journey (and beyond) will incorporate; Electro-mechanical, optical, electronics, FPGA, software and neural networks to create a unique joined up economical modular system for creating robotic solutions for makers, subscribe to folknology.club now if you want to get involved an update is going out this evening..