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Strange Company

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Brushless Motor Controller for Robotics

See what it does:
The NearZero (NZ) controller allows fine, slow motion, or positioning control of all brushless motors for direct drive applications. For controlling hub motors for domestic robots, self-balancing devices, actuators for manipulators and robotic arms, and motorized or stabilized gimbals and mounts. Any brushless motor requiring between 0 and 3A and between 7 and 36V will work with this controller.

Rotary Cellphone Kit

Open Source Portable Wireless Electronic Digital Rotary Telephone

The rotary cellphone described here is now available in kit form. Builders will still need to find the right rotary dial and order a handful of other bits, but the "hard part" (the mainboard and the 3D printed casing with threaded inserts and buttons) is available for sale. A less "makery" version of this is also in the works.

Coming in 2021:

Full-Scale Domestic Robot

Open & Pre-Loaded with ROS Goodies for Real-World Functionality

[concept image coming soon]

Codename Gonzo.
Open Source Robot Pre-Loaded with ROS Goodies for Real-World Functionality

Parallel Elastic Actuated Arm

Open Source Robotic Arm

[concept image coming soon]

A manipulator arm for mobile robots that's both very lightweight and doesn't jerk around like a an overconstrained toy. Works using elastic parallel actuation with continuously-variable spring rate and high frequence position feedback for oscillation damping.

Ideas for future projects:

This is a record of intended future projects. I would love to be working on these now but there are only so many hours in a day.

Electric VTOL Aircraft "Standard Form"

There's a lot of interest in electric aircraft now with the expectation that a breakthrough in battery energy density is forthcoming. Almost every aerospace company is working on scaling up "quadcopter technology" to produce human-flight capable electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft. Like the early days of aviation, there are as many airframe architectures as their are aircraft designers, but just as fixed wing aircraft (and helicopters) eventually fell into standard forms, I feel that in 50 years we'll look back and wonder how anyone could have imagined an EVTOL looking like anything but what it will look like in 50 years.

It should be safe (beyond simply having redundant systems, because powered lift is a scary thing). It should attain to the speeds of conventional fixed-wing aircraft. And it needs to be quiet. External active noise cancellation needs to become a "thing" soon if we don't want local governments to regulate EVTOLs out of existance before they get off the ground. And finally, it should look natural... it should make people say "of course, that's what it should look like".

I hope to have a ~1/4 scale (unmanned) demonstrator in the next couple years and eventually a full-scale prototype for my own use.

Open air volumetric projection

That is, "Star Wars style" holographic projection. Yes, it's possible. I'm beginning to see hints that other folks have guessed the secret, especially in China. I put together an apparatus to prove to myself the principle a few years ago but this will take a lot of developement to turn into a system that someone would want to use.

Artificial skylight for windowless offices

A ceiling- or wall-mounted fixture that makes it appear as though sun is streaming into the room through a window. The projection tracks across the room over the course of the day and fades from daytime-white to the colors of sunset at the appropraite time. Having worked in a windowless office for over 10 years now, I've been craving this.


A "real burning" lightsaber that forms a believable blade by ignighting multiple thin streams of ejected fuel. Sounds safe right? This will be open source plans only, no product or kit.

Beautiful water caustic projector

Part of a series on creative lighting. You know when sunlight reflects off the surface of a glass water? Or when a ceiling light is focused through a wine glass and projects onto a table? These highly-aberrated semi-focused projections are called caustics, and they're quite beautiful. Who wouldn't want to have them floating around one's home?

Beautiful spot and rainbow projectors

There's so much that can be done with lighting. Photographers and cinematographers know that to truly create beautiful images, one needs to paint with the light, and yet the options one has for creatively lighting one's living space are almost non-existant. To witness what good lighting can do for an environment, go to any of the demonstration living spaces in an Ikea. But one can go much farther than that. Much further.

Sky's Edge is a subsidiary of Lightsmith Scientific LLC. Wait, why? Because when I first decided to start a company I decided on the name Lightsmith Scientific and formed it as an LLC. A few years later I thought of Sky's Edge, which comes from an Alastair Reynolds book, and liked it much better. So on paper Lightsmith Scientific has a "DBA" in NY state for doing business as Sky's Edge.
~Justine Haupt