It is the ‘80s. A young boy sits in a dimly lit room, glued to the TV screen as ordinary vehicles transform into giant robots saving human lives right before his eyes. Someday, he seems to think, I’ll be able to build one just like that. Three decades later, that same boy is now the founder of a real estate business called TRT Investment Group that buys, rehabs, and rents houses in North Texas, USA. Despite grown up concerns, Tony Cunningham remains a kid at heart—he designs and builds humanoid robots for a hobby. Not too shabby for a kid who once dreamt of building his own Transformer.
“I’ve always loved robots, especially the Transfomers, back in the’80s,” Tony reveals. “I’m fascinated with the mix of mechanical and human movement.”
Bringing his enthusiasm to the younger set, he volunteered as a robotics teacher in a private middle school in Sandpoint, Idaho, from 2008-2010. In the first year, he guided his students in designing and building a full-scale humanoid bot. The following year, using RoboPhilo kits, they competed in the Robo Olympics held in San Francisco, CA. “That was a lot of fun,” he says.
While he may be already adept at robotics, he still gets stumped once in a while. “I can make or buy most of my parts, but this idea, a gear motor for a robotics application, was a little more complex for me to design,” he explains. “I wanted a prototype to get some idea of how practical it would be, but I needed a good working CAD design first.”
He found the solution in Freelancer.com, the world’s most preferred outsourcing site. “This has been a wonderful experience for me! It’s like getting the monkey off my back on an idea I’ve had for years,” he enthuses. Compared to a similar site recommended by his friend, he found “Freelancer® to be more organized, professional and easy to move around.”
Largely due to this characteristic, Tony was able to find the freelancer best equipped to do the job. He particularly looked for a CAD designer that specializes in mechanical and manufacture designs as opposed to artistic renderings, and extensive experience. “The freelancer I hired was older and had experience in designing for Volvo,” he explains. “In general, freelancers on the site are hungry and ready to work! I like that!”
While information about the motor itself is still hush-hush, he believes that it will drastically improve robotic efficiency. He is so confident in his pet project enough to say that “this will propel consumer robotics.”
He has already planned to use the platform for his next projects. “I like the way everybody is held accountable for their projects. Other sites don’t come anywhere close to the ease and professionalism of Freelancer.com.”