The Wednesday Update: Mission Accomplished

Welcome to another Wednesday update, again a rare edition that’s actually on Wednesday! A bit less on content this week due to it being my kid’s half term!

GWiz Update

The mission was always to make it to my Partner’s house in Sandhurst, and guess what it did it! No issues at all, max out about 45mph but I think it has more in it!

I have 1 small issue to sort with the GWiz, when breaking the re-gen system causes a burst of over 70v to the controller which causes the car to shut down. It’s a simple setting to change but needs a special cable.

Vex Tank

So on Tuesday, I wanted to start prototyping a simple tank to use as a platform for outside. It took about 2 hours to build and works pretty well until it got to the brick test. I think I am going to make a slightly larger more powerful one. At the same time, I want to test it again on a similar platform with different types of wheels (e.g Omni) which will hopefully give me some evidence on what works best out on the pavements.

ROS Lidar Robot

So I managed to get part of my old VEX ROS lidar robot working, I had missed out on some key bits of information in the readme but managed to get parts of it working. This was a great learning platform for ROS as it was purely built from the ground up by myself. The teleops control worked to control it, the Lidar also worked, the only issue was a lot of Errors were generated


On a short holiday with my dad to Welles and Cheddar, I managed to get an Anki Overdrive set from a charity shop, this was awesome in its day and uses AI to drive the cars.

The Wednesday Update: Gwiz Edition

Welcome to another Wednesday update, this one is full of achievements!! Hold on to your pants!!!

The Gwiz in all its glory!

The Gwiz did a hill!

To make sure I can drive the Gwiz to my partners’ house I needed to check it would get up a rather steep hill. It’s not very long but is quite steep. I took a run-up and managed to get to the top of it at just under 30mph.

The Gwiz hit 45mph!

Erm, I would not recommend this, it’s rather scary, imagine being in a cardboard box and thinking you may crash into a wall at high speed. It’s very noisy and very bouncy.

The Giwz overtook a skateboarder

Well, he wasn’t going very fast but made me laugh!

The Gwiz did a shopping trip!!!

Yup the car has now done something actually useful, I mean it has cost me hundreds of pounds to get to this point but I can now make it to Morrisons.

I feel that the Gwiz has achieved a lot and only had one issue which I think is an overvoltage issue

VEX Robotics

So I had a bit of spare time during the week and managed to fire up my VEX V5 and VEX IQ robotics kit and get them set up to be useful. My aim is to use VEX EDR or V5 to control the Gwiz.

VEX V5 is pretty cool and even features a camera for tracking objects

ROS and Turtlebot

I also managed to fire up my old ROS (Robotics Operating System) Turlebot robot which is super cool. It has all sorts of sensors like a Kinetic type sensor for camera and depth detection, bumper sensors, and ultrasonics. This is the perfect robot to learn ROS on. It’s powered by a Nvidia TK1 so can do a lot of machine learning.

This is a point cloud of the back of me

MakeBlock CyberPi Go Kit

Electronics Course

And to make the evenings on the sofa even more exciting I have started the electronics course on Udemy that’s is on my to-do list.

The Wednesday Update: Cleaning Edition

Welcome to another Wednesday update, this one is a little light on robotics content due to me spending most of the time organizing and cleaning my robotics areas. Due to the kindness of companies like LEGO, VEX Robotics Meccano, and MakeBlock, who in the past have supported my creations and sent me free products (Thank you), this has ended up with me having a lot of stuff. Knowing this and adding 3 epic kids to the mix, and the fact I buy a lot of random stuff means I am really struggling for useful space.

The Plan (A different plan from the educational plan)

Based on all the stuff I have (and not wanting to buy more), the plan I came up with for building robotics (prototyping) was to use VEX Robotics EDR range which is a metal-based robotics platform that I have used a lot in the past. Because it is metal and the motors are generally very powerful it makes a great platform for building bigger stuff. The main goal of this Wednesday’s timeslot was to locate the EDR stuff and get it out of the garage! This turned quickly into a tidying up job (and a trip down memory lane) which now allows me to get into my work area in the garage!

This was the sorted VEX EDR stuff I had, in nice colorful draws. This is around 1/3 of the EDR stuff I have due to me usually building large projects.
This is my old robotic area in the garage, this used to be where I built a lot of things, I even have a mannequin to hold my cables lol. This was primarily set up for LEGO building.
These are some of the larger robots I have built, from the one of the first (George) all the way up to a prototype Vex V5 one.
Back in 2018, this was going to be my main test platform, running the latest Vex V5 stuff that wasn’t even out. However, due to work/family/divorce, I massively failed to deliver 🙁

It’s an odd feeling to go over some of the cool things that I have built in the past. I look back and wonder if the 2010-2017 crazy LEGO/VEX years I had were my finest work (Except for my kids). I do miss the inspirational competitions and events that I got the chance to go to. Not to showcase my work but to meet the next generation of scientists and engineers. The kids I met blow my mind with what someone so young could do. I truly hope I get a chance to get involved in that space again!

Check out the film on Disney for an inside look 🙂


This afternoon kicked started the old grey matter, the brain started going 4000 miles an hour. Which in turn gave me a rather horrible headache. At one point I realised I wasn’t driving to my partner’s house but had randomly followed a car off into Farnborough (don’t worry I was safe)

What do I do next?, Gwiz, Inmoov robot, MakeBlock, wheelchair robot, Robot head, courses, Vex EDR, VEX IQ …..
To this, I really don’t have an answer. This is where I am right now. I want to learn about robots, I want to build robots, I am fortunate to have a lot of options but at the same point boy, it blows your mind.

At the moment I am going to try and stick to the plan unless there are any quick wins.


I turned 41 and feel old!

The Wednesday Update: The Wellness Edition

Welcome to another Wednesday update, due to Compsoft having a Wellness day (bloody epic if you ask me) I have had the whole day to do stuff…..

Gwiz update

So the new 100AH deep cycle Hankook DC31 batteries turned up and I would class it as a success, instead of being able to do about 2 miles on my second-hand batteries, I managed 10 miles without any issues or slowdowns. Everything seemed to work well, got up to 40mph (quite scary in a paper-thin car). I have also wired the car chargers into the original charging port of the car. Next really is to focus on making it drive itself.

Inmoov Robot update

So one of the main things I wanted to do today was fit the arms to my Inmoov humanoid. It still needs a lot of work, repairs, and some restoration however I would see this as a big step forward. One of the hardest bits to get right is setting up the biceps as they have a habit of going crazy and ripping the arm apart (I have 2 3D printers currently on printing replacement parts). I did manage to fit the left arm and part of the right arm however the right arm did break some parts. I hope to do a video soon.

Before I fired up the right arm
After I fired up the right arm


I am currently trying to work out how to control my electric wheelchair remotely, as mentioned this would be a great platform for an outdoors robot. I have also managed to fire up a 36v mobility scooter motor which could be quite good fun.

The Wednesday Update: Bicep Edition!

So welcome to another Wednesday update, this one is rather special as I have actually managed to publish it on a Wednesday!

Robots Everywhere

I saw a video online of a Ukrainian kid who was learning robotics and had made a cool robot called Markobot. In the background of the video was an Inmoov robot, it wasn’t complete but it reminded me that I had one upstairs that I hadn’t finished yet and though I had been learning cool stuff and building epic things the last few months, nothing really compares to the Inmoov robot. For anyone interested in humanoid 3D printed robots, nothing comes near to the Inmmov Robot

Link to the article

Inmoov Robot Progress Update

So I decided that the majority of today I should get back into fixing up this robot. One of the main bits that had not been assembled were the biceps, these are quite hard to configure and usually end up with broken parts. However, I had a rather successful day

I also had time to test out the hand

Wheelchair Fun

In other news, I managed to also get a broken wheelchair to kick back into life! I believe a great base for a mobile robot that needs to be used outside is an old wheelchair. I paid £50 for this and it’s fantastic (I really enjoyed driving it around the garden). I plan to wire in a Raspberry Pi to allow me to remote control it! Then add some sensors, Lidar etc, and see if I can make it drive itself!


I am now on module 6 of my Robotics diploma! It’s getting pretty hard now (Inverse Kinematics was this module’s topic) but I hope to finish it!

The Wednesday Update: The quiet edition


Welcome to another Wednesday update, that’s not on a Wednesday! This time round I am live at a Compsoft Devcon. This is a small event where all the devs from Compsoft over the many years meet up after work to discuss and try out new technology. It’s a good laugh and always has free food and drink! There was a good turnout, lots of discussions, and knowledge shared! I took along my Inmoov robotic head.

The quiet Wednesday

Due to a family emergency with my mum going to the hospital, not much was done on the techie front. My mum is ok and in great hands.

Introducing Robotics 

This course has now been finished, well to the best of my ability, what I didn’t realise is that I started it in 2017 and it got archived in 2021. This meant I could go back over the course (which I did) however I could not submit the final quiz. I had already completed over 90% of the course which is classed as complete by Future Learn anyway. I did learn a lot from the maths and the Matlab stuff however it was still very hard work and I am not sure

Introduction to Robotics Diploma

So I am now on module 4 of this, again this started off super basic and then went full on mathematics within 1 page! I will give it a go and see where it takes me.

ROS Robot

ROS (Robotics Operating System) is the standard for Robots, a few years a go I built some cool robots with Lidar systems in them for a VEX Robotics show. I am resurrencting them as they are super useful to learn with.

The Wednesday Update: It’s alive!

Hello and welcome to another Wednesday update on a different day than Wednesday. This afternoon I tried to focus on 1 task, get my Inmoov robotic head talking. Short version, I DID IT!

As you can see there is plenty of room for improvement however it does work. I want to get the lipsync working a bit better (this is usually down to tweaking the volume output) and the voice is pretty terrible. I need to cure the speaker interference too.

However, there is something else going on here that’s pretty cool. It is wired up to the Chat API which makes it a perfect testbed for the website. The API at the moment is just a standard implementation of an AIML library however this opens the doors to do some pretty cool stuff

Check out Wikipedia for more info on AIML

The code is written in Python and is fairly simple stuff, there are lots of examples to make your own Jarvis on the web. The pain was getting the Speech Recogniser working on the Pi. The LipSync purely works by the audio level coming from the headphone jack.


I also finished a course on Matlab to help me finish Introducing Robotics.

The Wednesday Update: Reviewing the plan

Hello and welcome to another Wednesday update, after the Speed Edition last week, this one is a little more academic.

Introduction to Machine Learning

So this Wednesday I focused on trying to complete the 4-week course on Machine Learning. I have done ML courses in the past but fancied a refresher. What I was most impressed with is how far the tools have come along to lower the bar to entry for people to use them.
Machine Learning For Kids was a great way for kids to start thinking about ML and it was super easy to use, had templates to get you going and you could even see how the ML had built its model

I also enjoyed using Teachable Machines by Google. This allowed me to make a vision-based model really quickly to play the game Paper, Scissors Rock.


As mentioned 2 weeks ago I had a great call with MakeBlock, this has resulted in me being sent 3 of their latest products to have a play with. It’s really interesting to see how far they have come since their original Kickstarter back in 2012.

So at the weekend, I started working on making a bit more useful. I have now added back the chatbot based on AIML which I hope to develop further. I have also cleaned up the code and added a Web Directory. I can now easily deploy it and have fixed a few proxy issues.

Reviewing the Plan

Below are the items I wanted to achieve, I am now 5-6 weeks in so it’s a good opportunity to see how I have done

  • Begin Robotics : Done
  • Math : Not really started
  • Python course : Done
  • Introducing Robotics : Awaiting Maths
  • Do some practical : Ongoing via Robot head and Gwiz project
  • : Started

Redefining the plan

So I think I did alright, I think I have achieved more than is above but at the same point, that shows that I have maybe missed the point in having a plan and not sticking to it. I want to raise the bar a bit and set some harder goals to help me focus. These are part of the end-of-year goals.

I think that’s a rather challenging list but this is for the end of the year.

The Wednesday Update: On Saturday!

Even though it’s Saturday night, I wanted to do a weekly update. It’s important to me to at least show progress or benefits of taking time off from work to progress my hobbies/education in one way or another. In the last update, I said I had a rough plan. Now, how well have I progressed with that plan!

Begin Robotics by Reading University

This is now complete and I really enjoyed doing it even though I have completed it before. The simulations tasks really get you thinking and I now even understand the maths in the motor controller example. I did have to take a little time out to get my head around it however this is all part of that plan.


So I have started relearning Algebra using Khan Academy, I have also been asking friends and family who know maths a lot better than me. This has really helped and I am starting to get the brain working again. At school, maths was my strongest subject by far.

Gwiz electric car

The Gwiz is back from the welder, I have done a few jobs on it and it is booked in for an MOT next Wednesday :). It did come back with an odd beep sound but that was just the door sensor being a pain


Taking a step back from trying to jump before I can walk, as mentioned I did really enjoy the simulations on the Begin Robotics course. So much so that I plan to set up a hardware (e.g using actual robots) version of it. I have a VEX Robotics competition area that I plan to put in the conservatory. This should allow me to do ultrasonics wall detection, light following, line following and even sending data between robots.


All in all, I do think I am making good progress so far!

The Wednesday Update: Progress so far = I need a plan

So I have had my first Wednesday afternoon off and I did do some useful things (clear space for working, sell some stuff, do some online learning). However, it has become apparent I really need to focus on a subset of things and get them done. Already I have signed up for lots of online courses, and have a billion ideas. Usually, this would be good thing but context switching wastes time and I don’t have a lot of time!

So, initially here are the high-level objectives I want to achieve over the next couple of months from my Wednesdays afternoons.

Finish Begin Robotics by a Reading university.

To be fair I have completed this 4-week course before but I really enjoyed it and have nearly finished it already again. This is a great introduction to robotics. (ETA 1 week)


Next I think I need to improve my Maths, mainly Algebra and surrounding topics that are useful for robotics. Robotics can contain quite a lot of formulas from PID controllers to working out the position of things (kinematic) and this is usually the area I really struggle on. Khan Academy is my go-to place for this. (2-3 weeks)

Re-intro into Python and Kinematics
there are 2 other Future Learn courses I want to finish, another robotics one (again nearly finished but paused on the maths) and a really simple Python course which I should smash through. I have done a bit of Python in the past but it’s been a while. Python is the go-to language for AI & Robotics (2 weeks)

Do some practical
Once I reach here I hope to take a short pause from education and put into practice some of the stuff I have learned. I would like to get my Inmoov head talking with lip sync (Arduino wired up to a sound level meter) and I want to add some sensors to the GWiz car and see if we can get a picture of the outside. (2-3 weeks)

On a slight diversion, I would also like to update to be a bit more useful/themed around my learning. Everything is a bit static and rather boring. (1-2 weeks)

End of year goals

Once I hit these, I think it’s then time to review and see what I want to do next.
By the end of the year, I would like to be more comfortable with Maths, general robotics and have a semi-complete Inmoov robot. I would also love to finish the Udacity Self Driving course I attempted years ago.