20 Jul 2007 Daniel Casner   » (Journeyer)


Anybots will be one of the main exhibitors at the Robot Development Conference in San Jose this October. We will be showing both Dexter and Monty with demos ongoing over the course of the two day event. This will be the first time Dexter and Monty will appear in public and we're doing a great deal to prepare so I'm anticipating a good presentation.

Another robotics event I've been meaning to post about for a while was the Homebrew Robotics Club meeting I attended last month. People brought a wide variety of robots, the most advanced of which were two RoboMagellancontestants from the San Francisco robotics contest. The most interesting thing for me, however, was the kids. A lot of the club members brought their children with them and I was interesting to see these 5-10 year olds who had clearly grown up with robots and enjoyed torturing them by waving sweaters in front of their cameras, running circles around them etc. I was also impressed by a couple of kids who showed a really good level of understanding of how the robots they'd build (presumably with parental help) worked and what they were capable of. Going along with that, there were a good number of parents who were thinking about how to teach their young children about robotics and programming. Doing a little searching, I found a tutorial on Python programming for elementary school aged children which is an awesome thing to have.

The other thing I saw at meeting was the difference between hobby and professional robotics and how lucky I am in my current job. Not to disparage any of the robots there, most of which were built for only tens to hundreds of dollars, but after my robotics projects in college and graduate school and a month working on Dexter and Monty, I was a little nonplused. Once you've gone pro, I guess you can't go back. Daily exposure to the cutting edge is a great inspiration. Right now I'm starting the design work for a new hobby robot of my own but it is going to be quite a cut above what I've done before. It'll be interesting to see how far I actually get and how quickly.

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