The Blue Cube
Frontier Machine Control kindly donated a bare-bones PC Rover (sans PC) to the Tech in early 1996. The robot had been on display for several months in 1995 configured as a remote controlled camera platform. Visitors to the museum could pilot the rover from a video game-like control cockpit while watching the video from the Rover's camera via a wireless link. After the remote-camera had finished it's display time, Eric Schwartz and myself met with two of the founders of Frontier Machine Control: Stuart Davis, Carlo Bertocchini and their software developer Frank Jenkins to develop a long-term web-based interactive exhibit using the PC Rover. After several months of meetings, the team had developed a truly unique, engaging exhibit concept. We began work on fabricating the necessary hardware, and software components to make the exhibit a reality. We lost contact with Frontier Machine Control, for about a month, and heard the unfortunate news that the companies' founders had a 'parting of the ways', and Frontier Machine Control had been dissolved. This unfortunate incident put a halt on further development on this exhibit. We were given back the PC Rover, and other hardware being used for this project, and the robot was shelved at our warehouse collecting dust until January 1 1998. The PC Rover's design, and machine work is a tribute to Carlo's solid, precision ME skills, that have lead him to victory in the 96, and 97 Robot Wars Competition, and the SFRSA robot sumo competition for the last few years at the Exploratorium.

Update: 6/16/1999
The Blue Cube has a sibling! Carlo recently contacted me via e-mail ad mentioned he has a new business,, and that he and Stewart had not spoken in some time. He also had another PC Rover for sale, which I purchased this past weekend. The original PC Rover contained a 'Baby-AT' size 386 motherboard, with 4M RAM, a 120M 2.5" HD, a SoundBlaster card, custom 6 channel ISA LM629 servo controller board, H-bridge driver circuit, custom power supply, 12V 7AH lead-acid battery, and two gear-reduced 10V ECM motors with hall-effect shaft encoders.  Some of the units were equipped with an LCD panel, a sonar ranging system, and a capacitor-discharge based A/D converter attached to the game port for monitoring the battery level.

Carlo (In blue striped shirt, standing)
Stuart (Seated)
Carlo is now runs Check it out!


Last Updated: 1/21/2001 Brian Rudy