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Cycler Presentation Robot - designed and constructed by David Buckley 26 March 2003

Cycler launch at the Houses of Parliament
Geoff, Dave, Vicky, Richard, me, Ben, Wendy, Martin Smith
All of WasteWatch other than Martin and myself
Dave, Vicky, Ben
Baroness Hooper in yellow Vicky giving presentation Michael Meacher MP with children Lisa, Martin, Barbara, Meecher, ?, Wendy

The Beginnings
Waste Watch was founded in 1987 by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and became a charity in 1991. They acquired three old entertainment robots made in about 1979 by Barbara Herridge (Executive Director) started a programme taking the robots into schools and giving a presentation where the robot played an 8-Track tape telling the children about recycling. The programme was later brought to the UK.

By the early 2000s it was obvious the robots were not going to last much longer plus the robots and their trolleys were very heavy and cars seemed to be getting smaller. The 8-track players were wearing out and every time the tape had to be started or stopped the handler had to reach into the back of the robots to press the 8-track buttons. These early Cyclers, were a three year old or adult's idea of a robot with tin cans for arms and squashed drinks cans for ears

In 2002 Waste Watch contacted Professor Martin Smith at the Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) Birmingham, who at that time was also a presenter on the TV shows Robot-Wars and Techno-Games, with an invitation to tender a bid for three new Cycler robots. Martin asked me (David Buckley) to help him cost a proposal and that proposal won the bid. Having won the bid it was up to me to design and build the robots.
At that time Waste Watch consisted of -
Barbara Herridge - Executive Director
Peter Robinson - Business Manager
Richard Newsom, Waste Watch Marketing Officer
Lisa Cockerton Education Manager
Wendy Jenkinson Cycler Education Co-ordinator
plus Cycler handlers
Vicki Stevens - Cycler Education Officer for the South
Dave Taggart - Cycler Education Officer for the North
Ben Gill - Cycler Education Officer for the Midlands

The New Cyclers
Waste Watch wanted the new robot to be all made out of recycled parts like some kind of 'found art' assembled from parts off a rubbish dump (making things from found parts may work in films and story books but generally in real life things are thrown way because they no longer work). I said times had changed and the new robots needed to be believable by the children who had been brought up on Star Wars droids such as R2-D2.

I agreed with Waste Watch to reuse the old base shape also to make the new robots come apart at the waist so they could be transported on car seats and make the hands so they could grip things.
I started cutting steel on Thursday 11th July 2002.

Friday 27-9-02
Waste Watch AGM at the Institute of Directors, I took the first part completed Cycler where the most heard comments were 'WOW', and 'isn't he cute, I want one'.
I had only a tiny lathe and was still waiting for wheel hubs to be made so Cycler didn't have any wheels.

Techno-Games 2003 - Wednesday 18th December 2002
The first Cycler - Shakespeare - was ready and I took it to Hangar 2, RAF Newton, Bingham, nr Nottingham where Wendy of Waste Watch was interviewed with Cycler.
After Wendy's interview a young lad, maybe 15 or 16 years old came and asked about Cycler, I spent perhaps 20 minutes explaining how Cycler worked, how it was controlled from a small radio transmitter, how it had three micro-controllers and how the main controller ran a personality program so Cycler looked alive, he seemed to take it all in. About half an hour later he came back, stood in front of Cycler, nodded his head slightly as he said "Goodbye Cycler" then walked away again. He didn't say goodbye nor even acknowledge me, he had to say goodbye to Cycler even though he knew it was just a machine. - Cycler was believable.

Waste Watch Education Team Meeting - Tuesday 4th March 2003
At The Earth Centre, Conisbrough (Nr Doncaster), a useless modern building with internal Gabion walls which will harbour all the dust and do nothing to stop the noise from one room being heard in the next room.
Vicky demonstrated Cycler Shakespeare to the Waste Watch team and I had to remind myself that it really was Vicky who was controlling Cycler because she was so good at slipping her hand into a pocket and pressing buttons on the transmitter that I am sure nobody noticed.

Techno-Games 2003 transmission - 11th March 2003
Cycler appeared on Techno Games, the second show of the series, and Wendy was interviewed by Liz Bennin one of the presenters. Professor Martin Smith from TIC was also interviewed by Philipa Forrester about the development. Cycler was also on the opening and closing credits.

Official launch of Cycler at the Hous of Commons with Michael Meacher MP, Baroness Hooper - Wednesday 26 March 2003
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