Grand Idea Studio

Prototype This

Prototype This, an engineering entertainment program on Discovery Channel, offered a view into the real-life process of designing and building unique prototypes. In this thirteen episode series, the team set out to tackle the problems of today by creating crazy, one-of-a-kind inventions of tomorrow.

Joe Grand of Grand Idea Studio was the team's electrical engineer and hardware hacker, and shared the screen with Zoz, a roboticist and software designer specializing in human-machine interaction, Mike North, a material scientist and mechanical engineer, and Terry Sandin, a special effects veteran.

The following sections contain Joe's technical documentation, including schematics, source code, and development notes, that he personally contributed to each build. The information is for educational purposes only, cannot be used for any commercial endeavor without prior approval from Grand Idea Studio, and is unsupported.

Episode 4: Six-Legged All Terrain Vehicle

Wednesday, Nov 5th, 2008

Inspired by the “legs” of an innovative robot called RHex, the prototypers decide to use this basic design with its synchronized alternating tripod gait and build it BIG! What first appears as a simple upscaling project becomes a real challenge when the team discovers that size can change everything. [ continue ]

Episode 3: Traffic Busting Truck

Wednesday, Oct 29th, 2008

The boys take on the challenge of building a car that will beat traffic by rising up — and driving over it. And as an added bonus, the lift allows the vehicle to find parking like nothing else on wheels. The key to this build is a set of amazing wheels that can move in all directions without actually turning. [ continue ]

Episode 2: Boxing Robots

Wednesday, Oct 22nd, 2008

The prototype team looks into the future of gaming — and giant, boxing robots are what they see. Joe and Zoz utilize a technology called optical glyph tracking to allow the robots to register and mimic their human counterparts’ boxing movements while Mike is charged with dressing the metallic skeletons and Terry with building the metal beasts themselves. And then it’s into the boxing ring for a metallic monster slugfest! [ continue ]

Episode 1: Mind Controlled Car

Wednesday, Oct 15th, 2008

Our team of inventors attempts to prototype a car that utilizes biofeedback sensors to restrict a cars performance as its driver’s agitation level increases. Joe and Zoz will use cutting edge biofeedback and mind control technologies as the brains of the prototypes while Terry and Mike retrofit the test cars for an extreme test to prove the concept: a demolition derby where road rage is inevitable. [ continue ]



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