I get tired of people automatically assuming that robots fall into two basic categories - "industrial" (like automobile factory welding robots), or "toys" like Lego Mindstorms or the Robosapien. Robots can be so much more than those very limiting classifications.
Robots as Art
I must not be the only one on the planet that feels that way, because back in May of 2002, the First Annual ArtBots show premiered. The first show exhibited robot works by ten artists and groups, and attracted almost 600 attendees during its one day run.
Since then the show has grown significantly every year and attracted thousands of visitors to the 2004 show. The basic charter is to be aan art exhibition that features robotic art and art making robots. They even have a Robot Talent Show. Participation is limited to 20 entries, and the lucky participating artists and groups recieve an artist's fee of 1000 Euro.
Why did they start ArtBots? In their own words, "We started ArtBots because we wanted to have fun and to celebrate some of the creative, non-violent, and not-so-competitive aspects of robotics."
So, the next time your mate starts hassling you about how much time and money you spend on your robotic "toys", you can explain to them with a straight face that you are really studying art.