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Farmer Builds Robot Army

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the nobody-panic dept.

Robotics 106

46-year-old Wu Yulu has only a basic school education but has managed to build himself 26 robots from scrap materials over the past 30 years. At first his creations were simple and could barely shuffle along by themselves. The robots got more complex as time passed, and eventually he built ones capable of climbing walls, serving water, lighting cigarettes, playing musical instruments and writing calligraphy. "When I was 11, one day I was sitting on the doorstep, and while watching villagers passing by I suddenly came up with the idea of building a machine that walks like a man," he told the Beijing Times.

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Greetings (2, Funny)

DSmith1974 (987812) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907835)

I for one welcome our new barely walking, cigarette lighting, handwriting robotic overlords!

Re:Greetings (2, Funny)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908019)

In China, robotic overlords welcome you.

Re:Greetings (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25908133)

In the US, welcomed overlords robotize you.

Re:Greetings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25909965)

AWESOME!

yikes! (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907847)

perhaps next time he could attempt to build a reliable web server?

Re:yikes! (2, Funny)

rel4x (783238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908651)

As soon as someone new throws out their mechanical toothbrush.

lol (5, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907851)

"Wu, who lives near Beijing, sees all the robots as his sons, "

and later on in the article

"Wu says he has to sell off some of his robot collection after plunging his family into debt "

Re:lol (2, Insightful)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907907)

Maybe selling your sons isn't that bad after all.

Re:lol (2, Funny)

Chrisje (471362) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908413)

Hey, if it's good enough for Joseph, it's good enough for Wu12.

Re:lol (3, Insightful)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908999)

One would think that a large company would hire this man to build robots even if those robots are only for advertising purposes. The fellow has talent and deserves to make a decent living and the world of robotics just might learn a few things from him as well.

Re:lol (1)

UltraAyla (828879) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910805)

I agree. A smart company might consider offering to pay for him to go through university and support his family while he's there with some sort of contract agreement from him afterward. The risk-reward payoff is huge for what he could do with more knowledge of all of these things.

NO university (2, Informative)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910913)

modern scholastic education is more bent on making the student a clerk than provoking creativity.

throughout history, youll find that a pathetically small percentage of great inventors have been through scholastic education.

this person should be given a lab, and a few good technical assistants. just like 19th century inventors had.

Re:NO university (1)

UltraAyla (828879) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911881)

maybe - I want to think that such a situation would allow him to achieve, I feel that the base level of understanding to make advances in robotics these days might require some serious background in what is available right now and how it is being done so he can understand flaws in current systems and find new ways. Who knows though - maybe he does just need a lab.

Re:NO university (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25912279)

'serious background' also hampers.

scientific method makes even the most eager mind more and more conformist, because it itself is an algorithm that can be almost automated, with little creative input. propose, test, theorize propose test theorize.

great discoveries however are done in times of great muse. a farmer in a barn can access muse more easily than a mind cooked in a methodist, scholastic university.

Re:NO university (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25916921)

"throughout history, youll find that a pathetically small percentage of great inventors have been through scholastic education. "

that's not true. For every 1 you can think of, I can name 2.

Is that the meaning of life? (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25913577)

Father: The mill's closed. There's no more work. We're destitute.
Children: Ohhhhh.
Father: I'm afraid I have no choice but to sell you all for scientific experiments.

Oh the synergy! (1)

dgr73 (1055610) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907903)

What happens when some marketing guy at Cyberd.. err.. IBM reads this article and then remembers that they're building a "cognitive computer" with DARPA cash and decides to create some wonderful synergy.

Woo woo (5, Informative)

leighfwarren901 (1377125) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907905)

Paul Merton met this guy earlier this year http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4LIThTB8Ww [youtube.com]

Re:Woo woo (4, Insightful)

thePig (964303) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908337)

This is amongst the greatest things that I have seen till now.
Unbelievable - woo no 25 and the water carrying robots - are really unbelievable.
I am really sad for his wasted talent - an amazing talent born at the wrong place and time.
Is it possible for us to help him out someway?

P.S : This shouldnt be posted in idle.

Re:Woo woo (1)

creepynut (933825) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910389)

I know this is offtopic, but isn't it incredible that there have been articles showing up in Idle that really shouldn't be in Idle?
Perhaps this is /.'s way of trying to make sure we don't disable Idle from showing up on the front page.

Re:Woo woo (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910507)

Perhaps this is /.'s way of trying to make sure we don't disable Idle from showing up on the front page.

Actually, I think this might be targeted at people who feel Slashdot no longer occupies a legit place between hardcore tech sites and fluffy news aggregation sites (Digg?).

By moving the interesting but tabloidesque stories to Idle the rest of the site can get more tech without depriving readers of their light coffee break reading.

Like it or not, this story is something that readers are likely to see in the weird news section of the nightly tabloid news shows.

Now if this article was a summary of what other robot building geeks should learn from the efforts of the individual profiled in this story.. then it would not belong in Idle. Either way, Idle does not seem to be the total failure that many readers claim it is.

SHOULDNT HAVE BEEN POSTED IN IDLE (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910969)

Parent is right. this story is WAY more geek/nerd than a goodly percentage of stories we had in the last few weeks.

move this to main from idle.

Re:SHOULDNT HAVE BEEN POSTED IN IDLE (1)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911551)

Yeah, when I got here, I couldn't believe that this article was in Idle. This is way more relevant than "WoW has another million players and another raid dungeon."

Re:Woo woo (1)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910451)

Aww. Poor guy. His wife is a total bitch.

Silly (3, Funny)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907911)

In every other country he would have been arrested for obstructing traffic or scaring the shit out of the neighbor's kids. Only in China can one rise from a dishwasher to a robotic overlord ... oh wait. Something has changed here...

Re:Silly (0, Flamebait)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907927)

In every other country he would have been arrested for obstructing traffic or scaring the shit out of the neighbor's kids.

The police is too busy arresting dissidents and Falun Gong followers.

Re:Silly (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907989)

If only they would arrest you for all your link jacked, copyrighted images and text be damned, submissions.

Re:Silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25908233)

He is not Roland Piquepaille. The real one is here [slashdot.org] .

Hats off (5, Insightful)

djm300 (1411753) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907919)

I take my hat of for somebody with no study in the field whatsoever who builds a robot that can walk and pull a rickshaw. I'm not a robotics expert, but for me this means at least that he knows to: - Create the right circuitry - Program some microcontroller - Control motors - Calculate mechanical forces and equations to keep the robot in balance - Use the right sensors to ensure that closed-loop feedback & steering is possible to keep the robot in balance Is anybody else here wondering whether this is even possible for him to learn all that stuff without guidance (given that he's a farmer who must provide for his family and presumably doesn't have the time to fiddle with robots _and_ study) ?

Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908053)

Look at the picture. His Rickshaw-bot is mechanical and he has a steering wheel.

It's not a complex task he has solved there. Stability is already present (2 wheels at the back, two legs at the front),

Sensors? Closed-loop feedback?

Lol. more like a few electric motors and some gears.

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (4, Insightful)

JerryQ (923802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908075)

Somewhere along the line I think you may have lost your soul.

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (-1, Troll)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908353)

I think it was after I read /b/ a little while back.

BTW, I think this guy is cool and I love his robots, it's just that I also think the post I replied to is from a moron.

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (1)

Oqnet (159295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910331)

But his designs became more and more sophisticated, and he has built robots capable of climbing walls, serving water, lighting cigarettes, playing musical instruments and writing calligraphy.

So climing a wall, doing calligraphy and playing a musical instrument doesn't take some any computer parts? I would be even more impressed.

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25914793)

Not necessarily, no. Look up the automata that were made in the victorian period, for instance.

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (4, Insightful)

Ploum (632141) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908255)

Building a walking robot, the western way :

1) Think it would be cool to have a walking robot 2) Thinking about a method to build a walking robot 3) Studying the physics behind the mechanism of a walking robot. 4) Call this a new field of science : "Walking mechanics". 5) Publish some papers about "Walking mechanics" 6) Make a conference with the experts of "Walking mechanics". 7) Try to make it popular to the public so you get fund. It's called vulgarisation. 8) Discover that, in order to further develop "Walking mechanics", you have to develop "Walking automation". 9) Repeat steps 4 t 8 for Walking automation 10) Repeat step 4 to 8 for "Walking sensors" 11) Try to generalize 12) Repeat step 4 to 8 for "Automation of movable devices" 13) repeat step 4 to 8 for "Transfer mathematics" 14) Abstract all your classes and use design patterns 15) Wait... forget 14, it's part of something else 16) Forget about robots and develop science for the sake of science 17) Get asked by a young child about a walking robot 18) Explain to the public/young child how the development of your "Field quantum mathematic" theory could allow us to have walking robots as soon as 2045

No building a walking robot, the Wu's way :

1) Think it would be cool to have a walking robot 2) Put together a few electric motors and some gears 3) Paint your walking robot according to your preference 4) Enjoy ...

So obviously, his robot sucks, the guy doesn't know nothing about sensors, feedback loop.

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (2, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908349)

No, this guy's robot collection is damn cool, sorry if I gave the impression I wasn't impressed!

What I wasn't impressed by was the lack of insight of the post I replied to. He's not some sort of robotics Professor, he's a guy that's built some ace robots out of scrap.

I love these sorts of crackpots, but let's not pretend he's done any cutting edge engineering here, 'kay?

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908465)

He has an important characteristic of a great inventor though. He sees an invention shaped hole in the universe, and cannot resist the compulsion to twist metal into a shape that will fill it.

In other circumstances, he'd be an engineer or an artist. He is an artist. I won't be surprised if collectors and museums don't end up spending big bucks for a genuine "Wu".

you are a TOTAL moron. or a fool. or ignorant. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910947)

pick whichever you like. why ? for this :

What I wasn't impressed by was the lack of insight of the post I replied to. He's not some sort of robotics Professor, he's a guy that's built some ace robots out of scrap.

I love these sorts of crackpots, but let's not pretend he's done any cutting edge engineering here, 'kay?

dear moron,

if you had ANY knowledge of history of science, you would have known that with a few exceptions, ALL of the biggest scientists and inventors of the past are the sort of person THAT guy is.

you just called a lot of people ranging from faraday to tesla crackpots.

are you sure slashdot is the right place for you ?

Re:you are a TOTAL moron. or a fool. or ignorant. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25913179)

Awesome. Someone named "Unity" is trying to kick someone else out.

Re:you are a TOTAL moron. or a fool. or ignorant. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25913257)

'unity' is not a stupid concept. in unity there is coherence and harmony. and action triggers reaction.

Re:you are a TOTAL moron. or a fool. or ignorant. (0, Flamebait)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25914779)

"if you had ANY knowledge of history of science, you would have known that with a few exceptions, ALL of the biggest scientists and inventors of the past are the sort of person THAT guy is."

BULLSHIT.

"you just called a lot of people ranging from faraday to tesla crackpots."

No, they didn't build electric automata out of scrap on a farm, they dabbled in mathematical and theoretical understanding of physical phenomena and made practical use of it. Whole different kettle of fish.

I could make his automata, I don't have the inclination (which is what makes him special), but he did nothing like the original post said - make advances in robotics based on feedback controllers, balance, cybernetics etc.

He built walking machines, which people have been doing since victorian times.

You are the moron, not only for having no ability to read what I've said in previous posts, but also for thinking that everyone that can weld two things together in a shed is the next tesla.

Re:you are a TOTAL moron. or a fool. or ignorant. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25916243)

No, they didn't build electric automata out of scrap on a farm, they dabbled in mathematical and theoretical understanding of physical phenomena and made practical use of it. Whole different kettle of fish.

you dont know shit about science history. most of the inventors and pioneers didnt have any mathematical or theoretical tools or methods to ever use or to understand or even imagine physical phenomenon. not only that, some of them didnt have even any kind of school education.

from the way you talk its clear that you are probably a youngster who is fresh into college. your talk reeks of stupid scientific/scholastic elitism. dont worry, you will get over it by the time you get to 30s.

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (3, Funny)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908899)

"If you give me "Ceremonial Burial" I can give you this "Walking automation" you need!"

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909537)

No building a walking robot, the Wu's way :

1) Think it would be cool to have a walking robot 2) Put together a few electric motors and some gears 3) Paint your walking robot according to your preference 4) Enjoy ...

You left out the step where he burns down the house and gets his surprisingly attractive (relatively so) wife super-pissed at him.

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911059)

So true. Hit citeseer and you will find thousands of papers on robot walking, including many PhD theses. For some reason, the academic way seems to be to carry out almost identical research again, and again, and again, rather than actually trying to build the damn thing. Let's be clear, Wu's walking robot isn't going to set the world on fire, but just by building a real robot that can actually walk he's already got further than the robotics departments of many of the world's leading universities.

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (1)

piltdownman84 (853358) | more than 5 years ago | (#25912145)

Forget "walking robot", "Robot for lighting cigarettes" is where American science is falling behind

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (1)

electrons_are_brave (1344423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25913381)

You need to patent that process quick smart before McDonalds does.

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (2, Funny)

payo2000 (884381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25914215)

IANAL, but his cigarette lighting robot appears to break the first rule of robotics.

Re:Clearly you are not a robotics expert! (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908493)

Sure, but mechanical ingenuity is what makes robotics fun. The really technologically advanced aspects of robotics, like machine vision, could be done entirely in simulation.

It'd be cool to have him working for a year as a visiting scholar or artist in residence at an engineering school.

Re:Hats off (2, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908209)

...whether this is even possible for him to learn all that stuff without guidance (given that he's a farmer who must provide for his family and presumably doesn't have the time to fiddle with robots _and_ study) ?

Just because he's a farmer doesn't mean he's an idiot. Some farmers are quite good at fixing machinery/farm equipment. Plus, it's not like he's a farmer in the middle of nowhere. He can and probably did ask someone for help. Most hobbyists will ask for help if they get stuck somewhere. That being said, I don't mean to take anything away from his achievements. This is clearly a guy who should be given some kind of technical job.

Re:Hats off (0)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908367)

Dude, nothing so complex is going on. It's pretty much just like a kid playing with LEGO. You see how something behaves, build something as close as possible, tinker until it works.

There's no science behind these robots, it's just trial and error plus some basic logic and dedication. Anybody with any sort of love for mechanics could build something like this. No matter how awesome it is.

Think about it, we've had toys that could walk for at least thirty years now, but robots that can walk walk (dynamic fall control etc.) we still don't have. Because it's one thing to build a mechanism that walks around on a flat surface and a completely other thing to build a robot that walks like a natural organism.

Re:Hats off (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910015)

Take a look at this website [bostondynamics.com] . Very creepy, cool and a bit OT.

And more OT, WTF is this 40 x 25 character text box in Idle? Did slashcode just jump back in time to 1970?

Re:Hats off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25910641)

Your rant does not take a bit of merit from his work.. you're just jealous as any other western guy who thinks anything outside west is shit compared to "rome" Grow up

No, something IS going on but you have no idea (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910985)

its called creativity, muse, curiousity. these 3 have been and are the driving force behind all technical achievements and innovations and inventions since the dawn of time.

but clearly, you dont have either, and dont understand shit about them when you see them.

Re:Hats off (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25916949)

Dude, nothing so complex is going on. It's pretty much just like a kid playing with LEGO. You see how something behaves, build something as close as possible, tinker until it works.

There's no science behind these robots, it's just trial and error plus some basic logic and dedication. Anybody with any sort of love for mechanics could build something like this. No matter how awesome it is.

And mathematical proofs are just moving symbols around and following a set of simple rules. Anybody with any sort of love for mathematics could prove Fermat's Last Theorem.

Just a piece of anecdote. During WWII, the designers of the Mustang, which arguably gave the Allied forces air superiority over Europe, were having a helluva time with the engine's cooling system. The aft located radiator intake was ingesting boundary layer air off the airplane's belly. The resultant turbulance was shielding much of the radiator. The simple solution was to move the intake away from the belly, and out of the boundary layer. As the story goes, a team of engineers were attempting to create various sorts of mechanisms to re-energize or smooth the air just ahead of the intake. Weeks and weeks went by without a workable solution, with German fighters still dominating and Allied bombers taking a heavy beating for lack of air support. Finally one of the old, crusty, and very respected mechanics working on the project spoke up and told them, "Just move the damn intake away from the belly and be done with it."

The point being, thinking about how something should be built and actually producing a working solution are two very different skills. Both are very important and both deserve our applause. You say that Wu just built a clockwork mechanism, but the fact remains that he built a clockwork mechanism. You say anyone can do it, but the fact remains that very few do. So few, in fact, that someone building such a clockwork mechanism attracts a lot of attention.

Re:Hats off (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908771)

Well, I'll give it to him, he's done a lot of fiddling. It is a shame, with a little study he might have done a lot more.

It is obvious from his work that this man is skilled in basic metal work, but most of his robots are enlarged versions of their child toy equivalents. For example, the rickshaw "robot" doesn't balance, because it is rigidly welded to the rickshaw, meaning that it is more of a four wheeled vehicle where the front two wheels have been replaced by legs. So during its most unstable moments, there are always three points of contact with the ground. To make it even easier, the batteries (car batteries I'd guess from the size of the torso) are obviously stored next to the motor driving the legs in the "robot's" torso.

With a little bit of knowledge about mechanical linkages, you could build one too. The steering is what you would call "rear wheel" (you can barely see the linkages, so the robot is only used for forward propulsion. I've seen movies of this thing in motion, and I can assure you that the legs are in a fixed stride path which really jars the passengers as they cruise along at slower than walking speed.

Someone else mentioned a lot of BS about how we would do it in the "western" world, which mostly illustrated his bias that westerners will overdesign, are overeducated, and will underproduce. The truth is that this guy would fit in pretty well over here in the west, but we wouldn't call him a robot maker. He's be an artist building automatrons, just like we already have in various places in the U.S. of A. Take a look at the burning man videos, and various "performances" on the west coast and other places. Road side attractions used to highlight people like him, with their tree museums, junk sculpture, and other oddities of interest.

Perhaps someone will want to call them robots anyway. That lowers the bar to where any wind up walking toy enlarged to human size outfitted with an electric motor and battery back is a robot. I prefer robots that at least sense their environment and alter their behaviour based on the environment. You turn on this rickshaw and it will run straight into a brick wall or step straight down an open manhole. Its lack of ability to react to the environment at all makes me view it as a leg equipped human shaped motor. Even attaching a giant leaf spring bumper switch that changed the rickshaw's direction would give this thing tons of robot credibility.

ALL that talk and excuse me, (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911023)

how many 'shitty' simple robots you have made in your entire life, yourself ?

please enlighten us.

Re:ALL that talk and excuse me, (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 5 years ago | (#25912865)

Six, so go shove off. Most of them are kits or attempts to cobble two kits together. The simplest ones can follow lines drawn on paper, some are just bump and turn jobs. One had a microcontroller which was programmable. One use a cassette player to "play back" the program code which wasn't much more than tones on a tape.

This guy does good metal work, but without his machines accepting input, it's about as much of a robot as the lighted casino cowyboy featured in Las Vegas. Perhaps you view your car as a robot, that's fine, just don't bother me about it. I can't do decent metal work so now your world view that a guy in China is somehow better than everyone else is restored.

More to the point, how many robots did you build, or are you just trying to bolster your opinion by calling everyone a boobie?

Re:ALL that talk and excuse me, (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25913289)

his machines climb walls, not follow lines on paper.

Re:ALL that talk and excuse me, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25914853)

That does not negate the fact that you've failed at life, and will never produce anything of wide interest. Whereas this Chinese guy has really achieved something. Really, you're just jealous of his success as it reminds you of your own mediocrity.

Old joke (4, Funny)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907961)

-Who is building the robots?

-Wu is.

-That's what I asked.

-Wu is building the robots.

-Yeah, who is building the robots?

Re:Old joke (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908313)

How much power does it consume?

Re:Old joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25908331)

Actually, I think the joke was on the name "Hu", instead of "Wu".

"Wu" should sound like "wool" without the ending "L" sound.

(You do know that "who" has a silent w... right?)

Re:Old joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25908627)

Who has a silent "w"? Mine screams all night. I'd hardly call that silent.

Re:Old joke (1)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908735)

Yeah, but... er... you do know that would ruin the joke... right?

Re:Old joke (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909953)

You missed the part where his neighbor Yu ordered one.

"Wu is building the robot Yu asked him to."

"I didn't ask him."

"No, Yu did."

I for one welcome our new .... (1)

Yacoby (1295064) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907987)

Well, you know the rest

Old news is good news (1)

yelvington (8169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908001)

China Daily's report is dated 2006.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2006-07/07/content_636244.htm [chinadaily.com.cn]

Re:Old news is good news (2, Insightful)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908107)

So, what's up with Wu? Did he stop working after building a robot-building robot?

If he considers them to be like sons ... (5, Funny)

krou (1027572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908175)

.. he could start a hip-hop group could Wu Clang Clan.

See, it's funny, because his robots go clang, and .... oh, never mind. I'm groaning, too.

Re:If he considers them to be like sons ... (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908283)

GTFO raising the standard of humour here in Idle with your post-modern puns!

Re:If he considers them to be like sons ... (2, Funny)

Syrente (990349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908505)

"Groaning, too."?

Oh ho ho, that makes it sound as if we're groaning with you. I, for one, am sharpening my pitchfork.

I need some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25908359)

My moisture farms can use two droids.

WHY?!! (1)

Hierophant7 (962972) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908403)

For the love of god, robots are going to be the death of us all. Good thing this guy built 26 of them, he'll be the first to die in the massacre.

Re:WHY?!! (0)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908497)

Yea for sure, all his robots require human control given that they are mechanical devices, so if he ever gets depressed and wants to commit suicide, he can make it look like the robots killed him. It's scare the crap out of everyone else. That's one hell of a practical joke.

On another note, are you from YouTube?

Re:WHY?!! (1)

Hierophant7 (962972) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909045)

lol... what a strange question. Yes, I've got an account on youtube, but I've never posted any videos and I don't use this nickname there, so you're probably thinking of someone else.

Not Robots (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908421)

Okay, ten out of ten for ingenuity, but these are not robots. They do not sense their environment and make decisions based on their sensor input. (For example [tedlarson.com] They do not have the capacity to be reprogrammed, or re-tasked. They are merely clockwork mechanisms.

just like machines of (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910999)

babbage ?

Re:Not Robots (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911905)

Okay, ten out of ten for ingenuity, but these are not robots. They do not sense their environment and make decisions based on their sensor input.

We don't know that for sure. But, I agree that the biggest usage for his robots would be for entertainment and art, not wash the dishes and repair cars.

It's not likely he can devise mechanics smarter than software control, I hate to break it to him. But, he could focus on the mechanical aspects of it. Perhaps co-author a book that shows how it's done via used stuff as a teaching tool for mechanical engineers and hobbyists.

Re:Not Robots (1)

otenaidy (1418889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25913315)

Actually some of the newer ones do have sensors and can do certain actions based on what they sense. His son is studying comp sci at university and he has plans to join forces with his son to make programmable robots. He came to Hong Kong for a new media arts festival and had a sharing session there. There's a video of an interview with him with Eng subtitles at www.microwavefest.net, under "Sharing". Not as hilarious as the Paul Merton one, but interesting info about him. His sketches are also incredibly awesome, for someone with no design/art background...

Edumacation (2, Insightful)

dr_strang (32799) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908447)

Imagine what this guy could have done if he had a decent education.

Re:Edumacation (2, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911795)

Imagine what this guy could have done if he had a decent education.

There is a possibility that it would have stifled his creativity and desire. They would have told him that he's using the "wrong" technique and the "wrong" tools and materials.

Re:Edumacation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25916579)

He could have ruled the world from his cubicle. As long as he filled out his TPS report appropriately.

Re:Edumacation (1)

misterooga (1172837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25917039)

Perhaps those 'decent' education would have ruined his creativity and his pursuit in this 'hobby.' May be it would have made go get a job as a stock broker or what not. Sometimes education is not all it's cracked out to be.

Obligatory? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25908703)

I, for one, welcome our new chinese robotic overlords... and their organic overlord.

Luckily (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909039)

He hasn't built himself any beautifful robot daughters...

Farmer:... You can sleep in the barn. Just don't be a-touchin' my three beautiful robot daughters. Y'hear?

Fry: Robot daughters?

[He points to his robot daughters outside the house.]

Farmer: This here is Lulabelle 7.

Lulabelle 7: Yoo-hoo!

Farmer: Daisy-Mae 128K.

Daisy-Mae 128K: Yoo-hoo!

Farmer: And the Crushinator.

[The Crushinator is a huge pink thing with tracks instead of legs.]

Crushinator: (mechanical voice) Yoo-hoo.

Fry: Whoa!

Racist Roboticist (2, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909139)

If an American farmer made a robot slave dressed in clearly traditional Chinese farmer clothes to pull them on a rickshaw, they'd be denounced as a racist.

I therefore denounce this Chinese farmer as a racist for doing exactly that with a White American looking robot.

Re:Racist Roboticist (1)

MobileC (83699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910223)

If an American farmer made a robot slave dressed in clearly traditional Chinese farmer clothes to pull them on a rickshaw, they'd be denounced as a racist.

I therefore denounce this Chinese farmer as a racist for doing exactly that with a White American looking robot.

White Americans look like that?

Re:Racist Roboticist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25913617)

Except it is not a White American looking robot... It may look like it to you, but it is not. That's a typical Chinese farmer image, especially with the towel around his neck.

Re:Racist Roboticist (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25915819)

That's a cowboy hat. Chinese hats are squat cones.

I... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25909329)

...for one, welcome our rickshaw toting, cigarette lighting robotic underlords!

Wikipedia page (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25910087)

This guy deserves some recognition. I just made this Wikipedia page for him:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_yulu

Please help build up the info there if you know more. I especially need help getting some Chinese (Mandarin) characters for his name, village name, etc.

Thanks!

Sorry I had to... (1, Flamebait)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910487)

LUKE: Uncle Owen...

OWEN: Yeah?

LUKE: This R-Wu unit has a bad motivator. Look!

OWEN: Hey, what're you trying to push on us?

What is a "robot" anyway? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911427)

While these are impressive and nifty machines, what exactly constitutes a "robot" anyway? When I was a kid I built a machine out of Meccano that was able to climb up some stairs. Had I built a robot?

At car plants there are machines that pick up windshields with suction cups and then put them in the front of cars. Are these robots?
To my mind, the 'self-driving cars' you see in events like the DARPA Grand Challenge are robots, but a mechanical gadget, while cool and clever bits of engineering are NOT robots. Am I wrong?

More Links and Pics (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911629)

More links and pics about this guy:

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Sky-News-Archive/Article/200806413251033 [sky.com]

http://www.china.org.cn/english/NM-e/96084.htm [china.org.cn]

http://rashmanly.wordpress.com/2008/11/27/wu-yulu-of-china-builds-his-own-wu-clang-clan-of-robot-sons/ [wordpress.com]

Some semi-random quotes:

"[Wife] When we got married, everyone warned me he would care more about his robots than about me," she said, "but on the other hand, at least he doesn't drink or chase other women."

"So far, though, the farmer has encountered little success.

Five years ago, one of his inventions short-circuited, burning the family house to the ground.

Then in 2000 a salvaged battery exploded, leaving Mr Wu with serious burns on his hands and torso, requiring several weeks of hospital treatment.

Rebuilding the family home, paying his medical bills, and taking out extra loans to finance his new creations have left him staggering under almost £5,000 of debt. "

"Nor was that fire the first time his obsession hurt his loved ones. Wu grew up in a family where sometimes there was "no oil for cooking," Dong said. Once, the family scraped all its money together and bought him a remote-control car. He broke their hearts, she said, when he immediately took it apart to see how it worked."

""I got a rechargeable battery-like tube for a very low price from a recycling shop, thinking I could save money," Wu said. But he did not understand the English warning on the tube, and "when I tested the tube, it exploded in my hands. I remember a big fireball suddenly burst out, and I lost my memory." Luckily, neighbours rushed him to hospital. His memory returned, but the scars on his hands and arms and the pain he frequently feels in his wrists will last forever."

"Wu's perseverance finally began to pay off. Feature stories on the "farmer inventor" began appearing in various media. After one report on China Central Television (CCTV), its science channel hired Wu as a prop-maker, paying more than 3,000 yuan (US$375) a month. Each week he goes to CCTV for orders and makes them at home. Selling robot Wu Laowu helped speed the repayment of his loan."

Thus, it may not end so badly after all. Obsessed Geeks *can* break even. Maybe my SQL replacement language has a chance after all ;-)

Re:More Links and Pics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25913369)

Interview video with him at www.microwavefest.net/festival2008/video.html His wife made him go to Disneyland in HK and he wasn't very happy until he saw the mechanical extravaganza in there. Think he might start building a space mountain next...

This does NOT belong in Idle. (1)

sinserve (455889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25911921)

Put our boy on the front page. Long live Wu, women de pongo!

Since this farmer builds impressive robots (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25912321)

Perhaps the agriculture ministry should be in charge of Gundam.

Re:Since this farmer builds impressive robots (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25916951)

Awesome. simply Awesome.

Amrican Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25914055)

Me: I have built a robot.

America:

Do you have the patient?

I looked and the patent for building robots was filed in 1992 and you cannot build it without paying the license fee for $400.000

Me: I have built it though.

America: So you are violation of copyright, that a 5000 doollar fine.

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