In my opinion, one of the most important parts of a robot is the ability to reach out and do something. Sure, that could be done with a robotic arm, but I think that would seriously over complicate an otherwise fairly simple task. I want to learn how to cheaply make a pole that extends straight out. All the linear actuators I see online cost around $100 and are capable of much more powerful feats than most people need. I want to find a way to create an extending pole (I wouldn't call it an arm) with a stroke of about 1 foot and material cost of about $15. Does anyone have any idea how to get started? Am I being too optimistic with my goals?