It the Probably Friday/Saturday but started on Tuesday Update: The Review

Hello and welcome to another Burf Update. This one is going to be more of a year in review, of what went well, what didn’t, and what the future hold (is it orange). Warning, it’s a long one!

December: RIP Mum

Sadly December has not been my month, nothing techie was done, at the start of the month my mum got ill, then died, and the week after that most of my family got the Flu (proper Flu) with 3 of them ending up in Hospital. I and my father are still recovering from the Flu now with my Sister getting worse. I have honestly never been so ill and known so many people be off sick. It really makes you wonder what Covid was all about as that for me was a breeze in the park compared to this. It’s sad, due to the Flu I haven’t even had a chance to process the passing of my mum.

Reviewing the Plan 1.0

So what was the plan, what did I achieve? Now I did start the first half of the year having Wednesday afternoons off work which greatly helped me. I did achieve a lot, however, due to work and the climate going Pete Tong, I decided to go back to full-time. The aim was not to take time away from the family.

The original plan from the start of Jan:

  • Begin Robotics Course by a Reading university: Done
  • Improve my Maths: Has improved but not as much as hoped, I first focused on doing school levels when actually I just need to focus on Algebra and Geometry
  • Re-intro into Python and Kinematics: Python, done and forgotten, Kinematics done and forgotten
  • Inmoov head that you can have a conversation with: Done (The red robotic Inmoov head)
  • Get the Gwiz car working and add some sensors: Got the car working, MOT’d it, made it better/faster, and then sold it as insurance was quite expensive
  •, make it do some AI: I did an image prediction tool but never used it, the site did get updated a little and now has a Swagger API
  • Complete Inmoov humanoid robot: Printing is done but no electronics
  • Udacity Self-Driving course: Failed to start

Looking at the above, it looks like a bit of a mixed bag, however, a lot of other things did get done as the plan changed over the year. So what else did I do this year, and what was the value of it?

  • Built a robot test arena, never used it, taw it down: Lesson learned
  • Lost about 10kg of weight: Positive and important, time was taken out of tech time to get fitter and healthier.
  • Decorated Alfies Bedroom: Something I have not done before, learning DIY
  • Did some MakeBlock product reviews as they sent me cool stuff: A bit of a diversion but fun
  • Robotics Diploma: Proud I did this, have I used it? No. I feel it was useful in some sort of way
  • Motorbike issues also took up some Wednesday time: Lesson learned, have one good bike!( Harley)
  • Electronics course, and learning about electronics via the Gwiz: Valuable! I do feel I am not into the raw low-level electronics as I am Arduino’s and Pi’s but the course helped me understand electronics a lot more and I would probably revisit it again.
  • Introduction to ML Course, basic but fun. Useful in that refreshed me on what’s possible via cloud services knowing very little.
  • Introducing Robotics: A very hard course using Matlab which I really put in the effort to do. Not sure it was worth it though.
  • Refresh my ROS (Robotic Operating System) knowledge: Sadly it’s moved on a lot and I need to move to ROS 2.
  • Hacked an electric wheelchair, and learned 3D design/printing skills to create my own solution: This feels like one of the most valuable items for the year/
  • The house electrics got updated: Safety for the kids
  • Fired up VEX EDR/IQ and V5 for fun after restructuring the conservatory to be focused on building VEX robots: Never really went anywhere and is now home to my previous big robots.
  • The Garage also got changed around a bit and is now more useful than it was. Still needs a tidy.
  • Got a new Kitchen! Much better use of the space
  • Got a mobility scooter to hack, a hoverboard to hack (and did), and an electric bike wheel to hack (and did)
  • Started a self-driving Python course, but not finished: This could be quite useful in the future.
  • Finished Introduction to Application of Robotic Tools course: CRAP
  • Finished Introduction to Tools for Robotics course: CRAP
  • Hosted a few DevCons at work: Always great fun
  • Put flooring down in the loft: Another example of DIY which I have never really done before.
  • Had brief fun with Project Lancelot: I think I will use this to learn about engines
  • Gained my Neighbor’s Nissan Micra: Is this the new Gwiz?
  • Did a fair amount of Maths in the last few months.

So, let’s be honest that is an impressive list of achievements (Remember I only had 20-ish Wednesday afternoons) but a lot of it is noise, and a lot of it is distracting me from the goal. I didn’t get a finished Inmoov robot (printed yes, electronics no), I don’t have a self-driving car and I haven’t completed the Udacity self-driving course I really wanted to do. I have learned a lot, I have achieved a lot, and I had a lot of fun. I have forgotten a lot, especially about some of the courses I did. I also got sidetracked a lot.

Top things I achieved and why

Taking a car that hasn’t been on the road for 7 years that’s completely broken and getting it to the point where it actually works and people want to buy it is a bit of an achievement. Part of me thinks I shouldn’t have sold it but it funded other things and the insurance was expensive. This project helped me learn about electronics and was always great fun.

Talking Inmoov Robotic Head
So I built my own mashup from the Inmoov robot to make a Talking and listening robotic head that runs off No other head exists like it, it was my own hack-and-slash creation and I really should do more with it.

Inmoov Robot
This robot has been a slow burner but a lot of parts have been repaired and it’s the first time it’s had 2 arms since I have owned it. Yes, I didn’t get the electronics going, not sure why that didn’t float my boat as much as it should, but it was good fun and I love showing people it. Notice the theme of repairing things?

Wheelchair hacking
This was just fun, because I didn’t have the ability to hack the electronics, so I 3D printed my own workaround. I really enjoyed designing and building something simple and unique. I feel this was super useful for the future. I still suck at Fusion 360 however least I know how to start

I am not where I want to be but I am feeling a bit more confident with Maths now, my abilities are probably comparable to a 10-year-old. It’s a struggle but academically I need maths if I want to do robotics.


So what dawned on me from the list above is that no educational courses were on it. I nearly added the electronics course which was super useful (first few chapters) but became dull after that, I was going to add the robotics diploma which I am proud of completing, but I never actually used anything from it since. I think this goes to prove that building things is more fun and useful to me than doing a course on a subject. I know this may seem obvious but until you review a period of time you have no evidence.

The Future

So I am actually rather excited about the future because I am going to make the jump to something I wanted to do 10 years ago and that is, work 4 days a week. It’s a bit scary due to the current climate however if I don’t do it now, I never will. So, the aim is to do 1 whole year doing 4 days a week, 1 day to do the crazy Burf projects. At the same time, my work is also putting me on a leadership course for a year!

Governor Burf

I have also become a Governor of my kid’s local schools, it’s a new development(e.g happened recently) so I do not know what it involves yet, however, I hope it will be a way for me to give back and try and be useful.

Future Projects

So I am not sure what future projects I am going to do next year yet, however they need to be more in-depth. I would like to give the self-driving Udacity course a go, I will continue to improve my Maths and I may do the Python self-driving course to aid my future projects. However, I am going to try and avoid all the small courses that are basically a diversion. I want to build 1 proper project that really helps me learn new things.


  • Finish Inmoov Robot. I do like the idea of finishing the electronics and software for the humanoid however, after that, where do I take it? Maybe I write my own software? Do my own electronics?
  • Build my own Robot. Something fairly simple that can navigate outside, etc, so more of a wheeled explorer robot than a humanoid. The Electric wheelchair is perfect for this.
  • Self-driving Vehicle. This would be super cool, but depending if I use a real car, mobility scooter or something smaller offers different challenges. I would really like to do this.

The off-the-top-of-my-head list

  • Keep working on Maths (Algebra and Geometry)
  • Either do the electronics for Inmoov Robot, build your own robot or a self-driving vehicle
  • Complete a self-driving course (Udacity or Python)

Final Words

Merry Christmas everyone and please stay safe, the Flu is nasty this year!!!

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