Fear of public speaking is usually one of the highest ranking fears when public surveys are taken. People are really nervous about getting up in front of an audience. Robots must suffer from the same phobia, because when two robots appeared on a major Danish television program recently one of them collapsed from what was apparently nervous exhaustion, while the other couldn't stand the stress and took a headlong dive off the table top.
One of the robots was a Kondo KHR-1 and the other robot sharing the tiny table top stage was a Hitec Robonova-1. As you can see from the video clip of the program below, it looks like the Robonova wanted to show off and hog all the attention.
The stress mounted, the lights had to be hot, and there were an estimated 500,000 people watching. Under all the stress, and being frustrated at being ignored by the the people talking, the Robonova ran over and kicked the KHR-1, then started to run through it's repertoire of tricks, trying desperately to get some attention..
And, as kids sometimes do, it tried the wrong trick, at just the wrong moment, and went sailing through the air. . .
A few minutes before show time, and everything looks very cool.
If only they knew what lies ahead, especially for the two robots. . .
Here’s how it all evolved -
The damage seemed to be isolated to the robots head. A little bit
of super glue combined with love and attention had the robot up
and running a few minutes later.
So, what’s the “real story”?
Here’s what Limor, the driving force behind the popular RoboSavvy website, had to say:
“I was invited yesterday to speak at a conference in Copenhagen/Denmark called Customermade.org (see also http://www.customermade.org/2006/04/11/robosavvy-at-customermade/ ). The theme of the conference was about companies that their products are directly influenced by the customers. A great example was a company run by 3 very young guys from Chicago called threadless.com who have a weekly online contest for t-shirts picture submissions and the winner (chosen by their 200k audience) gets 2000$. the winning creation gets printed on t-shirts and they sell them to the audience that chose the winner... they sell 60k t-shirts a month.
I presented KHR-1 and Robonova under the premise of how Kondo discovered that their customers are using their high-end servos to make humanoid servos and reacted quickly by making the KHR-1 kit and a line of robot-specific servos. After that i was put at a panel together with Soren Lund, Lego Mindstorm's director. Soren presented the way in which Lego chose to develop the final stages of their new NXT kit. They selected 100 lucky Lego fans out of 10000 that volunteered to do the first alpha testing of the kit and see what kind of inventions people would come out with. that feedback was taken backand final tweaks were done to the kit which is due September.
At 7AM on the morning of the conference, i went with Preben Mejer from innovationlab.dk who organized the conference to TV2's "morning show" http://gomorgen.tv2.dk/article.php?id=4002482 This program is watched by over 0.5 million people in Denmark. Preben was to talk about the conference and show off the robots. My job was to stand between the 3 studio live cameras and make the robot do some funky stuff on the table during the interview. I programmed the Robonova to react to various keys on my infra-red remote control and just pressed random keys to make the robot do stuff. Inadvertently, i pressed the wrong key at the wrong time and got my robonova to do a somersault from the table into the oblivion.”