July 02, 2010
Zaragoza Spain the Hub for Latest in Robotics This WeekThe 2010 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference is taking place this week at the University of Zaragoza Spain. Research and development leader Willow Garage is there showing off PR2, which TMC News refers to as the most advanced personal robot in the world, PR2 is demonstrating how it can help people with their domestic chores, including folding a pile of clothes, sorting them and storing them.
PR2 is not alone. The presentations at this highly regarded conference are submitted months in advance by researchers working on algorithmic or mathematical foundations of robotics, robotics applications, and analysis of robotic systems. The final program which attendees are participating in this week, highlights the best work of its kind in every category.
300 robotics researchers from 25 countries show up and include companies like Google and Microsoft as well as universities and institutions like NASA. Displayed and demoed this week are robots outfitted with sensors that allow them to see, hear, touch and move, which will make the daily life of humans easier, help people with reduced mobility or perform dangerous tasks.
Another robot - Nao, a 58-centimeter (22-inch) tall creation of French firm Aldebaran Robotics, demonstrated that it could dance like in Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video, get up from the ground and even tell stories. And, among other demos, Spanish-based Robotnik showed off a highly sophisticated and mobile robot with the ability to deactivate explosives.
June 28, 2010
PR2 Impresses GuestsAt Willow Garage today with European visitors. From my Twitter stream today, PR2 plugs himself in to recharge in front of his guests. PR2 also picks up a drink to impress.
June 17, 2010
PR2 Robots Now Play PoolThe Willow Garage team programmed one of their PR2 robots to play pool and PR2 not only has a blast doing so, but its accuracy seems to be remarkably better than the Willow Garage's engineering team. Go PR2! Go ROS! (an open-source system for robots)
May 28, 2010
Wall Street Journal (Digits) - It's Graduation Season for Robots tooLauren Goode reports on the Willow Garage PR2 graduation ceremony and celebration this past week in Menlo Park, CA.
KGO News on Robots GraduationABC's KGO Channel 7 News covered the news of Willow Garage's robot graduation and party this week.
May 27, 2010
First Robots Graduation in HistoryWillow Garage hosted the first robots graduation in history last night in their Menlo Park offices on Willow Road, the same road where Google was birthed.
CEO Steve Cousins and founder Scott Hassan gave an emotional speech about how Willow Garage got started, the vision behind it and everything that led up to this historical moment.
Hundreds of people gathered together for the celebration: friends, fans, employees, a couple of local mayors, press, bloggers and universities. Among the university attendees were the 11 recipients of the PR2 beta program, who flew in from around the world to get trained on their robots this week and to celebrate the honor.
Together with the visionaries at Willow Garage and the Directors of the Personal Robotics Program Keenan Wryobek and Eric Berger, the recipients will work hard in the coming two years to accelerate the growth of robotics research and development and yes, change the world.
Below, Keenan and Eric thanked the open source community, the recipients, other Willow Garagers and of course, the PR2 robots. As the winners were announced, the PR2s decided it was time for them to celebrate too, with a little flag waving and dance for the crowd. I think they were starting to realize that they now have fans.
Later on, the PR2s danced with the attendees and zipped around the floor to show off their abilities. And why not, last night was about celebration and giving thanks to a community who accomplished this great achievement. As Scott so rightfully put it at the beginning of the event - "we can't do it alone, we don't want to do it alone." With more effort, resources, passion and talent behind robotics, advancement can happen that much faster.
A few shots of the event, the speeches, the party and the dancing below. A thumbs up to ROS and the efforts of the Willow Garage team and recipients who are going to work together to make magical things happen in the next two years.
Eric Berger demonstrates PR2 in front of a group of bloggers and press
Eric Berger, Scott Hassan, Steve Cousins and Keenan Wyrobek
The Singularity Hub guys Keith Kleiner and Aaron Saenz
Googlers and friends showed up to celebrate
Yes, that's John Markoff in the Texai robot
The PR2 robot graduation ceremony, the first in history
Steve Cousins and Scott Hassan
Photo credit: Steve Brehaut
PR2 claps as his audience claps for him
Photo credit: Steve Brehaut
Jonathan Knowles, Renee Blodgett
Photo credit: Steve Brehaut
Photo credit: Steve Brehaut
Kamal Shah and Janet Rae Dupree
The deserving 11 recipients are:
• Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
• Georgia Institute of Technology
• Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
• MIT CSAIL
• Stanford University
• Technische Universität München
• University of California, Berkeley
• University of Pennsylvania, GRASP Laboratory
• University of Southern California
• University of Tokyo, JSK Robotics Laboratory
May 27, 2010 in America The Free, Client Announcements, Client Media Kudos, On Innovation, On Robotics, On Science, On Technology, On the Future, Social Gigs & Parties, Videos | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Oh PR2, Shall We Dance?Last night, I had the pleasure (and it was a pleasure) of dancing with a PR2 robot at Willow Garage, the same PR2 that will go off to UPENN next week with the UPENN recipient winners of the PR2 beta program. Until we meet again.
May 27, 2010 in America The Free, Client Announcements, Client Media Kudos, Magic Sauce Media, On Dance, On Innovation, On Robotics, On Technology, On the Future | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 20, 2010
Google IO: 5,000 Developers & Geek Toys Under One RoofLast night, thousands of people gathered to see the latest and greatest apps at the Google Developer Conference (Google IO) in San Francisco. As the day turned into night, the lights of the Moscone West Hall were lowered, purple and blue lights spanned the ceilings and music videos played on a massive overhead screen.
The two previous days featured 80 sessions of deep technical content featuring Android, Google Chrome, Google APIs, GWT, App Engine, open web technologies, and more. The event attracted more than 5,000 developers who showed up to present 100 showcasing their technologies. Al Seckel, the illusion genius was also there doing demonstrations.
While they do include their Twitter hashtag on the front page of their website, I had to ask 9 people on-site before I could find out what it. The previous 8 had no idea what a hashtag was -- a hash what? asked a thirty something video producer who was walking the floor. Another said, I'm a coder, why would I care about Twitter? The official hastag btw was apparently #io2010 although many were using #googleio, including myself.
Below are a few shots I took of the show floor, which included the intriguing and fun heavy pedal cyclecide bike rodeo, which you can try at the Maker Faire event this weekend in San Mateo if you're in the Bay Area.
Washington Post's Rob Pegoraro with a PR2 robot
May 20, 2010 in America The Free, Arts & Creative Stuff, Events, On Innovation, On Robotics, On Science, On Technology, On the Future, San Francisco, Social Gigs & Parties, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Dancing with Robots at Google Developer EventAt the Google Developers conference yesterday in San Francisco, developers and attendees had a 'go' at dancing with a PR2 robot, brought to the event by the guys from Willow Garage.
May 17, 2010
Robots Attend This Year's X Prize Benefit for HumanityThe X Prize Foundation's annual event was held at San Francisco's Letterman Digital Arts Center this past weekend.
Coined as a radical event for humanity, X Prize Foundation's Chairman & CEO Peter Diamandis gathered some of the brightest visionaries in the areas of science, sustainability, entertainment, technology and medicine together under one roof.
Jaykumar Menon, Susan Celia Swan
Robin Williams, Renee Blodgett
Bruce Katz on the right
Jaykumar Menon and John Hagel meet a PR2
On the left, Keenan Wyrobek
Committee members who add their knowledge and time to the foundation include the likes of Sir Richard Branson, John Doerr, Scott Hassan, Reid Hoffman, Arianna Huffington, Chad Hurley, Steve Jurveton, Dean Kamen, Vinod Khosla, Eric Schmidt, Craig Vender and a host of others. In addition to Peter Diamandis, Sergey Brin and Larry Page co-chair and Larry gave a short speech.
The live auction included Taj Jaguar and Airship Ventures packages, Chihuly Glass Art, a Harry Winston Ocean timepiece, a Genome 100, a SpaceShipOne Full Size Replica, an ICON A5 Amphibious Aircraft, a Zero G with James Cameron and a Virgin Galactic Flight.
They announced a new prize platform called "X CHALLENGEs," which unlike an X Prize which focuses on a global paradigm change over a 3 to 8 year period, concentrates on a near-term technology advancement over a one to two year window. The amount raised is also smaller, ranging from $250K to $2.5 million. The hope is that when these contributions are properly used, the money raised can serve as a powerful economic tool for solving difficult challenges and bringing about authentic breakthroughs.
Bobby Yang & His Unrivaled Players performed during a cocktail reception while Willow Garage robots zipped around the floor. The PR2 robots 'played' with attendees and Robin Williams even managed to do the cha cha with a PR2 named "007."
Tony Robbins, Esther Dyson, Autodesk's Jonathan Knowles and a few others navigated Texai robots remotely from southern California and elsewhere in the Bay Area and as far away as Prague and Argentina. Below Tony says hello to Peter and laughs with some of the attendees.
Below is a video of Google's Sergey Brin who addressed the crowd from Utah via the screen of a Willow Garage Texai robot. He says hello and waves to Esther Dyson who was hanging out in another Texai propped in the front of the room. What an incredibly innovative and cool way to experience an event you cannot attend in real-time.
Listen to Ray Kurzweil talk about how far computers have come, and the power of a system that combines doctors with artificial intelligence which can bring high quality medical care to the vast number of humans. A short video clip below.
X Prize competitions provide the opportunity for individuals and companies to make philanthropic investments that are low-risk leveraged grants (teams typically spend in aggregate, 10 to 40 times the purse in research and development) that yield unprecedented returns in innovation, public awareness and support for radical breakthroughs that benefit humanity as a whole.
More shots taken throughout the evening.
Scott Hassan, Peter Farrell
Steve Cousins and Adeo Ressi
Peter Farrell, Renee Blodgett
Eric Berger on the right
Peter Diamandis and Sergey Brin
And, for those wondering what else was on the menu, they served green garlic pistou, fresh favas, white truffle mashed yukon gold potatoes, crispy roti, skywalker ranch herb zucchini cakes, porcini mushrooms, avocado and basil creme fraiche as well as a killer organic TCHO dark chocolate dome to die for with strawberry reduction. I had two. Ouch!!
May 17, 2010 in America The Free, Client Announcements, Client Media Kudos, Events, On Innovation, On Robotics, On Science, On Technology, On the Future, San Francisco, Social Gigs & Parties, Videos | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack