Sunday, June 18, 2006

Robogames 2006 Review

One of the things the Robogames people do really well is marketing. It was one of the most photographed events I have ever been to. So I am mostly going to point you to their sites.

(A few days ago when I started this entry, that was my plan. Shockingly , or maybe not so - Few sites seem to be admitting they were ever there.) So here goes my rant.

As a member of the "paying public", it was obvious we were not the people the Robogames were catering to. Honestly, there was no reason to attend unless you were competing in the battlebot competition. If you were interested in other robotic technology, there was really nothing to see. Battlebots are super cool. But also, super 5 years ago.

As you can see from the picture above, the venue was cavernous and twice the size as they needed. ( As I understand it the space isn't cheap) Thankfully they suckered a few people like me to pay 20 bucks for an event that could have been held in a school auditorium.

Behind the wall of flags were one set of viewing stands. Here. Apparently last year there were two sets. Here. And here. I didn't expect a RoboNexus size event, but one naturally thinks it might be the same size or slightly larger than last years event.

In front of that was the combat pit where teams are queuing up to compete.

Next to that was an area where teams were working on their robots, and completely blocked off to "the paying public". Here. Unless you wanted to pay $750.00. Pretty steep in my estimation. It was however the most densely populated area in the place.

Here was a very lonely guy from the Space Elevator Challenge. He didn't really have anything to show except a video demonstration that if I recall correctly came from CNN. This picture also shows how much space was really being utilized.

I was really astounded when I started reading nothing but favorable coverage.

I apparently am the only one saying the emperor has no clothes. It made me wonder if I was just being a super bitch. If that is the case, then why are there so few sites posting pictures and reviews?

There are more pictures of the t-shirts. Here, (which was more interesting than the event).

Non Battlebot robots this year Here. Last years robots here. The HItec representative is smiling here, but when I saw him, he look bored out of his gourd. He had one bot that looked functional. I even asked if he was going to get the bots up and working. I had seen their show at RoboNexus. Here, and it was a crowd pleaser. He claimed he was going to get them up for robosoccer, but I left early, and have yet to see anyone post pictures.

I have been trying to think how to write this entry since Saturday. I have really been struggling because I love the hell out of robotics. I want to think that I didn't have my expectations way out of whack. This isn't like the year 2000. (The robot dark ages). In 6 years robot forums are popping up like pimples on a teenagers face. Screw space camp, now robot camps are becoming popular. Target for christ sakes is selling Robonova kits. HT Robots-Dreams. I am sorry if I expect a little more innovation that what can be found at Target.

The funniest thing about the show I have to admit, was a guy I talked to briefly who was working on this bot. (Sorry, this is the best picture I could find) He asked what had brought me to the show. I replied I had been watching IRobot for a few years now. Which he seems to scoff at. Alright fine... I see his lack of fondness for them. I say well... "they do sponsor a lot of events that feature robot technology". "Those are rolling robots" he says" not walking robots. True. I say that walking robots are a much more complicated creature. Make some niceities and scuttle away.

I recall this story to my husband later who thought I was imbelishing my own snarkyness on the conversation. I tell him "no - that is what he said". My husband asks "Well all the bots in the combat pit are rolling bots". Come to think about it, I think there were 3 total walking robot there... ok 4 if you count Aibo.

My husband says that if I think I can do better, I should plan an event. And on some level I agree with that. On another level I think that isn't realistic. There is just a certain rhythem of the world. A certain yin and yang. I don't love making movies, but I love paying to watch them. If every time someone was not entertained by a movie they decided to make one themselves, there would be infinitely more crap in the world. By paying for an event, you hope you are funding people to do what they love to do, and what they do well.

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