The Globe and Mail is running a series of articles on Canadian innovation, ideas, and excellence. Article number 8 focuses on Canadarm - a robot arm used on the space shuttle, and Robosapien. Canadarm, at one extreme of the spectrum was built in very small quantities, and was extremely pricey, while Robosapien sold in the millions for less than USD$100. For us dyed in the wool Robosapien fans, the article gives some interesting insight into the world of Mark Tilden:
"Ninety-eight per cent of all species don't have a brain to speak of, and I'm not even talking about NFL linebackers," he says with a laugh.
So Mr. Tilden started building robots as an after-hours hobby in Waterloo. Like J..F. Sebastian, a character in Blade Runner who surrounds himself with robot creatures, Mr. Tilden built dozens of small, insect-like robots that cleaned his apartment (and a vacuum-cleaner robot that failed because it kept choking on toilet paper). He recalls seeing one female acquaintance flee his apartment in shock after a small, snake-like robot slithered out from behind a couch cushion and into her lap.