Saturday, September 16, 2006

No RoboNexus this year?

I'm starting to become reasonably sure there isn't going to be a RoboNexus this year. Normally it happens the first week of October. The RoboNexus web-site has yet to be updated, and that seems weird for an event of its size.

Lately I've noticed a rivalry between the commercial robotics market (i.e. those making rolling robots), and the hobbyist robot underground (i.e. those who make mainly walking robots).

Clearly there is some rift between iRobot and the hobbyist culture that made up half of RoboNexus.

From The Register.
"During his keynote presentation, the angular Angle noted that the "robot demo industry is doing just fine." Groups focusing on making walking robots and the like "have substantially slowed the industry."

He goes on to say.

"The industry does not need hype," Angle told The Register in an interview. "It needs good business and good products. I want the industry to be taken seriously. Saying walking robots are a distraction is about saying the industry doesn't need smoke and mirrors to be a fantastic industry."

I also experienced this first hand when I went to the Robogames in June.

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 niceties and scuttle away.

I'm curious if the robotic industry is going through some kind of identity crisis. Like Lollapalloza did. All of a sudden making money pushes you out of the art-for-arts-sake fringe, and your peers start complaining you're selling out. (Those capitalist bastards!)

Even though the two groups seem to be splintering, I think they need each other. The hobbyists need the commercial side for exposure and funds to put on shows. The commercial side needs the hobbyists for the wow factor. I hope these two groups kiss and make up soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment