Thank you for all your replies. Sorry for the delay in my replies (now and in future). Free time is not something I get a lot of (hence my request).
Replies in order received:
Rob: What is it about your concept that makes it cool? Or new? Is there nanotechnology involved somehow?
You're right - "cool" is subjective. Nothing fancy like nano technology - it's just vanilla engineering and electronics, and math.
The project itself is a new type robotic tentacle/elephant-trunk. Existing implementations have many drawbacks. (I started writing out a long paragraph about them but realized I could go on for hours about the various existing options - something more suitable to be discussed over beer or coffee)
Jarrett: (on VHS members being in the same boat)
Good point. And thank you for your honest feedback. I guess I had imagined/stereotyped the typical hacker/maker as someone with a lot more free time than me (and thus able to spend that time making things).
Jarrett: on doing a "someone should" post
Interesting idea. Don't really want to go that route just yet, esp if I'm purchasing all the hardware/machine time. I'd like to actually be involved in the process at some level, vs just donating the idea to the world without first testing it. My ideal idea of the project being finished/ready-for-the-world would be having a video of the final working mechanism, along with open source plans/code so others could then get up and running very quickly. It's not something I intend to hide from anyone, esp if being done at VHS (obviously).
Jarrett: Another option is to offer up a job position, with pay
Maybe if I can't find anyone interested I'll start looking at this option, though that has it's own set of complications (esp if using random gig economy people/services).
I was kinda hoping getting to keep $1000+ of hardware would be reward enough, but I suppose I could pay for time/effort and then keep the hardware myself.
The final, third option is to chip away at when you have time
If I could buy time I would in a heartbeat.
Rob: Otoh since he lacks time he doesn't want to do a lot of writeup.
Correct. Ideally would be meet in person /w diagrams and talk it through, then just advise as needed. But as you say, might be forced to do a writeup anyways.
Rob: what scale of robot is this?
First iteration would likely be human leg sized.
I be able to carry the learning experience to my own motorized projects
Proof of concept would likely be 9g servos, USB controller board, 3D printed parts and some other hardware. After concept proved, then we'd very quickly need a good understanding of robot kinematics (even if to use pre-made software libraries, as 12+ DoF get's tricky fast).
Art: Depending on the project would be interested to participate.
Do you like robot snakes/tentacles?
JDMc: Happy to facilitate opening the space for a face-to-face meeting of those interested.
Thanks! I'm actually on the island for a week and then in Toronto for a week, but come August I'll be back on the mainland.
If at all interested please do ask more questions. It might be a few days before I reply, but I'll eventually get time for them.