Send R2-D2 to the Moon?

September 13, 2007

According to a recent post on Wired News:

Google will award $20 million to the first private team to put a robot on the moon, the company and the X Prize Foundation announced at Wired NextFest in Los Angeles Thursday. Members of the public will also get the chance to send digital mementos to the moon. In this advance from the October issue of Wired magazine, contributing editor Spencer Reiss explains what’s behind the Google Lunar X Prize, and what it will take to win it.

Read all about it here:
Google Sponsors Lunar X PRIZE to Create a Space Race for a New Generation

I’m looking at you R2 Builders! HINT HINT

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SOURCES:
Wired News, CNN.com, BoingBoing.net

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More Scenes from Comic-Con

July 26, 2007

While many fans can’t make it to San Diego Comic-Con International, the Official Starwars.com Blog is there to put you right where the action is. Whether it’s seeing the behind-the-scenes images of set-up, or sneak peeks at Indiana Jones displays, we’re there.

Today as even more fans filter into the convention center, it’s obvious which droid is getting the most love — R2-KT (named “KT” after Katie Johnson, a very special Star Wars fan who tragically passed away from brain cancer in 2005 at the age of seven).

Other popular displays getting plenty of traffic today include Hasbro’s Star Wars Transformers mashup toys, The Vader Project, the impressive LEGO Death Star display, Wii fun at the LucasArts booth and so much more.

So stay tuned for daily coverage on this blog, as well as exciting Comic-Con snapshots here.


Creating R2-S2 (Steampunk R2-D2)

July 5, 2007

When artist and animator I-Wei Huang builds robots he likes to mix his curiosity for electronics with his appreciation for the burgeoning genre of Steampunk. So when he recently unveiled his Steampunk R2-D2 known as R2-S2 (R2 Steam Too), fans and droid builders wanted to know more. Starwars.com’s own Bonnie Burton tracked him down and picked his brain on how to turn everyone’s favorite astromech into a Victorian-inspired machine.

How do your skills as an animator help when you make these cool creations?

Being an animator, you tend to see things in a different way, and can’t help but notice subtle details of how things move and work, especially in motion of humans and animals. To be an animator these days, you sort of have to have a balance between being artsy-fartsy and techy-geeky. I like seeing mechanical things work, because it’s visual. You can watch and study the transfer of power, and figure out how one thing drives another. When it comes to non-visual things, like electronics, I have a hard time grasping concepts of how everything work together.

Being an artist also makes you want to do something different and unusual. I just enjoy coming up with silly ideas that no one is dumb enough to try. I try to make steam contraptions that perform well mechanically, but are also aesthetic pleasing to the eye. Part of the draw of the Victorian steam technology for me is the attention given to making machines beautiful. Just because it has to serve a function, doesn’t mean that it has to be ugly. I also gravitate towards making steam machines that resemble things in nature, in particular arthropods, or things with carapaces, shells or armor.

Read the rest of this entry »


DIY Teeny Tiny Solar Insect Robots

June 20, 2007

You don’t have to droid making skills like Anakin Skywalker to create your own tiny droid. It’s easy with tips and tricks from Make magazine’s Bre Pettis, host of the “Weekend Projects” series.  In his regular DIY video podcast, he explains the science behind all kinds of cool projects, making it fun for you to learn while crafting! Recently, Pettis gave viewers the lowdown on how to construct solar-powered insect robots.

“One of the great things about these little bots is that you can make them from scavenged materials,” Pettis says. “Use parts from broken electronics and bring them back to life as little robots!”

These tiny robots fall under the category of BEAM (Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, Mechanics) robots and are powered by the sun. Using his own robot-building expertise and pointers from the book JunkBots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels: Building Simple Robots With BEAM Technology by David Hrynkiw and Mark Tilden, Pettis offers a step-by-step guide on making your own little mechanical friend.

Watch his video podcast here.

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SIDE NOTE: There’s a cool remix to music of his BEAMbots podcast here.


Astromechs in Action

June 12, 2007

A showcase of some of the amazing astromech droids crafted by the R2 Builders, including clips from the Extreme Droid Challenge and proof that R5-D4 should have been a daycare supervisor. Kids love him.

[splashcast GOGL3239PC]


Hitting the Ground Running: R2-C4 Print

May 23, 2007

We’re now in Los Angeles, and sitting in our inbox is a missive from Don Bies, Droid Supervisor for the prequel trilogy and generally recognized as the guy who keeps R2-D2 ticking. He sends us a rather cool looking print that should look familiar to those of who have DK’s Star Wars: Complete Visual Dictionary. Here’s the description:

“Another C-IV exclusive! Don Bies and CG Artist Mike Verta have teamed together to produce this digital high quality print of an expanded view of R2-D2. Limited to only three, it is printed on canvas and measures 27″ X 42″ and is signed by the artists. It will be on display in the R2 Builders room and will be auctioned off for charity via silent auction on Sunday. For more details, stop by the R2 builders room.”

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