Stack-chan got the 2nd place of HackadayPrize!

A project log for Stack-chan - JavaScript driven super-kawaii robot

An easy-to-build and companion robot for everyone

Shinya IshikawaShinya Ishikawa 11/22/2021 at 14:140 Comments

I'm so excited to tell you that Stack-chan got the 2nd place of HackadayPrize!!

Since I am not a native English speaker, I had prepared a script of greetings in case I needed to use it. But that is much longer than what I read out in the video. I'm posting it in its entirety as a memorial.

Thank you HackadayPrize for giving me the honorable 2nd place.

First of all, I would like to thank all members of the worldwide Stack-chan community. Without your passion and creativity, I wouldn't be standing here.
Next, I'd like to thank Jimmy Lai and the M5Stack team. And thanks to Peter Hoddie and the ModdableSDK team.
I couldn't have achieved the concept of a "cute robot that runs in JavaScript" without the help of their excellent devices and frameworks.
Thank you SupplyFrame, Digikey and all HackadayPrize staffs for giving me the opportunity to share Stack-chan with the world.
Finally, I would like to thank my wife and three children for their patience. I have dedicated almost all of my non-work time to Stack-chan. The kids have been Stack-chan's best playmates and also the most strict reviewers of new features. They can easily detect "childish tricks". They get bored so easily. I put a lot of effort into how to keep them happy.

I am very lucky. In fact, I only started developing robots last year. Let me tell you a little about my story.

I was doing research on human-robot interaction systems at university.
However, for me, robots were something that I could buy and use, not something that I could build myself. Robot development and hardware hacking were things that I longed for, but also things that were far away.

After a few setbacks, I joined a systems vendor and run into web development, forgetting about robots for a while. No, actually, I had many opportunities to recall them: Jibo, Vector, Robi or the new AIBO, LOVOT. As I watched the rise and fall of household robots, they remained distant to me, despite my growing longing for them.

The trigger was the M5Stack. When I first got my hands on the M5Stack, I came up with the idea. "If I had a robot this size, it would be so cute!" The first thing I did was to write a library to display a simple face in M5Stack. Then the world changed. Makers from Japan and all over the world used the library to make various things. My maker spirit was sparked.

Things accelerated from there. I moved to a robotics venture company, learned circuit design, CAD and ROS, got a 3D printer in my house. When I found out about ModdableSDK, my soul trembled because I realized that I might be able to put my JavaScript skills and web background to use in robotics development. Then it didn't take long for me to come up with the idea of "an open robot that anyone (even a web engineer like me, for example) can easily assemble and program.

Looking back on my activities and its chain reaction, I am once again amazed at how simple the beginning was. I think I was "over-prepared" in the past when I gave up on robots. If I wanted to make a robot, the first thing I had to do was not to do research on robots at university. All I had to do was buy a motor and get it running.

So again thank you to everyone who helped me realize this and encouraged to continue making.
And I hope that Stack-chan can be a first step for people like me who are interested in robot development and for those who have once given up on robots.

In recent years, robots have been playing an important role in many areas of society. An ever greater amount of money is being spent on robot development. I am afraid that this will lead to robot development being regarded as something privileged.

We all know, essentially, we do not need a license or permission to develop robots except high voltage ones. I hope that Stack-chan will encourage as many people as possible to become interested in robot development and start creating robots. This is my dream.

I will continue to develop Stack-chan so that it does not end up being a movement.

That's all for now. Thank you!