Doug Jones passed away at the end of 2006. A great robot designer will be missed. I was lucky enought to get to know Doug for a short time. To get to know more about Doug you can visit his websites.
Not only did Doug design the Androbot robots we all love, but he also was working on a vacuum cleaner design as the last employee of Androbot. I have those protoypes and hope to put up a web page soon explaining the design. Too bad this did not become the Roomba in the eighties. They reflect the nice neat designs that Doug did all his life.
This is a letter from Doug's sister:
Hi Rick,Doug finally got his greatest desire and crossed over to the other side on Tuesday, Nov. 14th at 6:15 a.m. I was with him when he drew his last breath and was really at great peace to see him go. He had such a hard struggle in his final phase of emphysema. A truly ugly disease. While I will miss him greatly, I am so happy for him to be in the Light he longed for.See the following email below. John thought you might have Nolan Bushnell's email. If so, could you let him know about Doug? Mr. Bushnell has such a profound affect on Doug that I'd like to thank him on Doug's behalf.Sincerely, Mariruth, Doug's Sister
And Nolan did take time to reply:
Subject: RE: Message for Nolan Bushnell
I am so sorry to lose a passionate robot lover like myself. I hope that Doug will be at peace and will know that we all will miss him.
And my response to hearing Doug had passed away:
I met Doug through the internet. Something we never dreamed of in 1983 when Doug was designing products for Androbot. Sadly, I did not meet Doug until his illness had become severe. With the short time that we got to know each other, he gave me the feeling that he really enjoyed designing things people use. Every time we talked or exchanged emails about something new about robots he always seemed to have a spark or excitement and never acted like he was ill. His on line diary gave me some insight to his daily life, but it also showed his desire to build things. Everyone that I have contacted that worked at Androbot has nothing but good memories about Doug. Many ex Androbot employees were bitter about the way Androbot closed, but Doug never said anything bad about the company, just very disappointed it did not work out. Now every time I look at a robot, computer case, or even an alarm clock I wonder if there was a person like Doug Jones who designed it. Doug states on his web page, "I feel like I have 500 children or so". His design work on TOPO will remind people for years to come who Doug Jones is as they try to discover who TOPO's father was. Doug will be missed worldwide as his children are all over the world now.
This was the last thing Doug did on explaining his Androbot design. He did this to show me how the edge detector was to have worked.