Over the years my hobby interests have changed in effort to discover something that really plucks my twanger. (Really old reference from my Dad) I find that I become obsessed over something or another for a while, lose interest, then return revisiting old obsessions or integrating old with new. The history of my Hobbies progressed like this:
Legos, Robotics, D&D, Metal Sculpture, photography, Robotics, Armor making, Sword making, Robotics, Metal Sculpture, model trains, robotics, rocketry, robotics, shooting, pyrotechnics, robotics…. You can see a trend. I am not sure what the future holds for me, but it seems that I always fall back to my first love, robotics/electronics. Maybe I am unintentionally working on building the knowledge and experience to someday build giant sword fighting armored robots with guns and rockets. Nothing beats real world experience when the call to help prevent the world domination of Decepticons.
My first exposure to robotics was, like most people in my generation, with Star Wars. Back then, I thought the movie was about two robots and their adventures, with some other stuff going on. One of my favorite scenes was inside the Jawa transport and when Uncle Owen and Luke were inspecting the robots. I also loved the idea that Luke would be working on and conversing with R2D2 and C3PO with the same casual manor as I used to work on a bicycle. But the conversations were kind of one way with the bike.
Of course in the late 70s the technology for hobby robotics was not quite within the realm of a teenager’s budget or skill. However I did manage to make a robot looking device that ran off of an old windshield wiper motor that my Dad helped me get out of a junked VW. Years later I managed to interface two rechargeable drill motors with a Commodore 64. High tech indeed.
Over the years my skills have improved and the amount of disposable income has increased. The ironic thing is that the technology has increased faster than my skills, and the price has dropped in proportion the amount of disposable income I have. I feel like I have arrived late to a party that has an incredibly cheap entry fee, but a really strict dress code.
It sometimes gets frustrating trying to keep up. Many people probably feel the same way when they reach my age. Keeping up with technology is not for the faint of heart. Discouragement and frustration come with the hobby. This is something that doesn’t happen with Stamp or coin collectors.
Oh, well. Like my lovely and wise wife told me the other day, it’s just a hobby. I will just enjoy myself and not stress over how far behind the curve I am. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with being a kid trapped inside an old guy body, especially when it comes to hobbies.
All I can say is that this is a great time to be a robot obsessed kid. If you have a little boy or girl, show them the first Star Wars movie (without the added in extras) then buy them an Arduino motor party kit. If there is an interest in robotics, the rest should take care of itself.