Robot Block Party in Palo Alto

Rover at Silicon Valley Block Party

Rover will be at the Silicon Valley Block Party.

It is National Robotics Week and Silicon Valley Robotics is hosting the Robot Block Party at WilmerHale in Palo Alto this Wednesday, March 9 from 1pm-4pm. The event is open to the public. Guess who’s coming to the Silicon Valley Robot Block Party – correct: Rover! We are very excited to showcase our little companion among NASA, Bosch RTC, Suitable Technologies, and many other stellar companies and organizations from the Valley. Looking forward to meeting you on Wednesday!

Rover at California Academy of Sciences

Devy, Rover and I had the great pleasure to be invited as presenters for Robot Nightlife at the California Academy Of Sciences – a special event dedicated to robotics. Among stellar robot companies such as Bot & Dolly and Suitable Technologies out of San Francisco and Silicon Valley was our little Rover – the award-winning, autonomous, gesture controlled robot. As Rover moved around and talked up to people passing by, he sure got everybody’s attention. Please see the pictures below for a few impressions of our eventful evening at the California Academy of Sciences.

Party like a Rover at California Academy of Sciences

After several weeks of very exciting trade fair shows around the world, Rover asked for a relaxed robot party with his robotic friends and bros. Rover was invited as a special guest by the California Academy of Sciences in the heart of San Francisco’s beautiful Golden Gate park for their weekly nightlife event. This Thursday March, 27th nightlife is a big robot party and Devy and I are excited to join our little friend to this event. :)

Come and say hi to Rover and his big brothers from the Silicon Valley Robotics group and enjoy an evening at the beautiful California Academy of Sciences with its exciting permanent exhibits, large aquarium, astonishing green house, and impressive planetarium.

Wrap-up: Rover at Game Developers Conference

Game Developers Conference (GDC) is the annual event “to inform and educate game industry professionals on online multiplayer games, mobile and next generation game technologies”. After its world trip to Mobile World Congress with Intel in Barcelona and to CeBIT in Hanover, Rover arrived back home in San Francisco to show the interested crowds in or around Intel’s booth our vision of smart, next generation technologies for both – work and play.

If you are interested in this project and the technologies underneath, we would love to hear from you in this short survey.
Feel free to leave your email in the end of the survey and we will follow up with you. Below please see for yourself Rover’s impressions of GDC.

Rover at Game Developers Conference

After two busy weeks at MWC and CeBIT we are back in the Bay Area at work with Intel at this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. If you are attending GDC and want to see Rover in action, please stop by the Intel Perceptual Computing Challenge Winners booth inside the Moscone South Expo hall at the following times:

  • Wednesday, March 19th, 10:00 AM to 12 Noon
  • Thursday, March 20th, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
  • Friday, March 21st, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Outside of these slots you may still be lucky seeing Rover explore the Expo floor :)

Rover at Game Developer Conference

Rover at Game Developer Conference

Rover at CeBIT

CeBIT is the world’s largest annual IT fair in Hanover, Germany. Being my first CeBIT, I was happy to bring something to show. Once again Rover impressed me, how easily he drew peoples’ attention – young or old, IT pro or consumer. We had plenty of contact with the press, were interviewed by MobileGeeks’ Nicole Scott at Intel’s Bloghütte (watch interview here), by Region Hannover TV, and another european TV station. We talked with authors and editors of several print magazines and made incredibly helpful new friends at Microsoft and SAP. But see for yourself our week at CeBIT 2014 in pictures below.

CeBIT TechLounge Livestream Interview Featuring Rover

Cebit TechLounge Livestream Interview What an exciting week at CeBIT 2014 in Hanover! Rover and I had the pleasure to be interviewed by MobileGeeks‘ Nicole Scott for the CeBIT TechLounge livestream hosted in Intel’s Bloghütte. Rover was happy as always and performed well during the interview, but see for yourself in the video below:

Wrap-up: Rover at Mobile World Congress

What a week! Rover and I happily presented every single day at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona and traveled between both locations: WIPJam at Fira Montjuïc next to the beautiful Magic Fountain, and App Planet at Fira Gran Via – the spacious, new conference center. No matter if on Intel’s GeekBench, during the Intel Innovators Panel, on exhibit at App Planet, or on the carpet – Rover was always surrounded by an amazed crowd of people. See yourself in the picture album below.

Thank you, Intel and developer relations team, for giving me plenty of opportunities to present and network!

Do you want your own conference spectacle or are interested in this project? Leave your honest feedback and your email – if you like – in this short, single-page survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SXLWQF8

Rover – LEGO self driving car at Mobile World Congress

Rover

Intel has generously invited us to showcase our award-winning autonomous intelligent sensing robot at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Join us for a presentation in the session: “Innovator Talks: Emerging Tech from the Intel Developer Community” on Monday 3pm – 4pm in Hall M5 at Fira Montjuic, Room 6 – Level 3 (see also: http://sched.co/1gnrrKR).

For a brief overview of the platform you can check out the video below and our contest entry for the Intel Perceptual Computing Challenge 2013.

Rover is an interactive, autonomous mobile robot platform, capable of exploring and mapping unknown environments. The platform consists of a LEGO EV3 motorized base, a Core i7 laptop for its compute power and the Intel Interactive Gesture camera with a depth sensor.

Utilizing the depth-camera, the platform is able to sense its environment and navigate autonomously and collision-free in unknown surroundings like a self-driving car. Furthermore the robot detects people, recognizes voice and gestures and interacts via speech with the user in front of the robot.

Further opportunities to see the robot in action:

  • Monday 9:00-12:00 at Intel’s WIPJam GeekBench in Hall M5 at Fira Montjuic
  • Monday 12:00-18:00 at the WIPJam IoT Hackathon
  • Tuesday 9:00-12:00 at Intel’s WIPJam GeekBench
  • Tuesday 12:00-18:00 at the WIPJam IoT Hackathon
  • Wednesday 15:00-16:00 at Intel’s WIPJam GeekBench
  • Thursday 13:30-15:00 at the Hackathon Awards in the Auditorium in Hall 8.0 Gran Via

Outside of these slots you might also encounter the robot exploring the show floor at MWC. :)

We appreciate this opportunity. Thank you, Intel!

Dear Visitor:

If you can spare a minute, we would greatly appreciate your honest feedback about this project in this single-page survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SXLWQF8

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Fear Not the Friendly Robot

As I read about the first robot that rang the Nasdaq bell to kick off the robotics industry stock index, I instantly remembered a man who spoke up after Dale’s presentation during Q&A at the first-ever East Bay Mini Maker Faire.

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Standing awkwardly near the door, he identified himself as a warehouse union worker speaking on behalf of his many colleagues who were fearful about the increasing use of robots. “They’re going to take away our jobs. What do you do when you have to raise a family and pay your mortgage? And it’s not like the technology is easy to understand. I’ve tried to read up on it but it’s hard to pick up as a new skill. You have all this new technology coming in but there are people who don’t understand it and they’re losing their jobs because of it. The technology is new but you have the same family, the same mortgage. What do you have to say about that?”

I empathized with the fear of losing one’s job yet I found the increasing use of robots in everyday life to some degree comforting. My aunt was a union worker who toiled under intense work conditions.  After several years, like many of her colleagues, she had to go on disability as a result of slowly deteriorating her joints on the job.  She had to undergo painful surgery, her employer had to pay expensive worker’s comp costs in addition to spending the time and money required to replace a good employee. Everyone lost.

Robots are being built and tested to execute jobs that are too dangerous, injurious, inconvenient, or nearly impossible for humans.  Like any well-designed technology, robots are meant to make life better in some way, whether it’s safer, more convenient, or more enhanced.

Meet Leonardo1 Robot, created by Martin Wojtczyk, in partnership with Bayer Healthcare, Institut für Klinische Chemie und Pathobiochemie am Klinikum rechts der Isar der TU München, and Festo Didactic.
Meet Leonardo1 Robot, created by Martin Wojtczyk, in partnership with Bayer Healthcare and TU München.

When a company replaces humans with robots, workers can take up more advanced or fulfilling jobs given the proper training, companies can see increased production, and consumers may experience lower prices as a result of operating efficiency.  Workers are no longer bound to a job that can cause permanent injuries, freeing them to explore whatever it is they were placed on this earth to be. Not just to be “two legs and two hands” to labor but to create and express.

The Maker Movement, an uprising of individual ideas and expression, would welcome anyone with open arms. It is not exclusively technology oriented but includes anyone and everyone from all walks of life.  David T. Lang, once unemployed then became co-founder of OpenROV, wrote a book about his journey and how to join the maker movement.

David Lang and Eric Stackpole explain the inner dynamics of their underwater robot, OpenROV, at this year's East Bay Mini Maker Faire in Oakland, California.
David Lang and Eric Stackpole explain the inner dynamics of their underwater robot, OpenROV, at this year’s East Bay Mini Maker Faire in Oakland, California.
OpenROV made its humble beginnings on Kickstarter.com, a crowdsourcing platform.
OpenROV made its humble beginnings on Kickstarter.com, a crowdsourcing platform.

As software continues to enhance all facets of everyday life, the new economy will be one driven not by labor itself but by the powerful minds and creativity of humankind. Thank goodness the tech industry is arguably the most democratic and progressive. With more and more tech events offering free passes to anyone interested, Maker Faires sprouting to more and more cities all over the world, and free high-quality classes offered online through sites like UdemyCodecademyUdacity, and Coursera, anyone can be anything they want to.

Find the Maker in You.
Find the Maker in You.