We have to confess. We've unintentionally been holding out on you. There's an absolutely wonderful online resource, regularly refreshed with great robotic content, that we've been enjoying for quite a while but somehow totally forgot to share with all of our readers.
Every two weeks Markus Waibel, with the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, EPFL, Switzerland, interviews some of the leading researchers and professionals involved in robotics and artificial intelligence world wide and distributes the audio interviews via the Talking Robots Podcast.
Waibel's choice of people to interview is excellent. The content is always relevant and on target.
Drawing on his experience as a researcher, he's a PhD student at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Waibel's questions are always knowledgeable and respectful yet very direct and to the point - often exactly the type of questions we would ask if we had the opportunity.
He is honestly interested in the topics being discussed, and it shows in the quality of the programs. He even goes to the extra effort of including sets of related topic links for each of the podcast episodes to point you in the right direction.
Over the past few months, the Talking Robots Podcast has featured interviews with:
Rolf Pfeifer - professor of computer science at the University of Zurich - discussing the last 50 years in AI, the "New AI", and the central role of embodiment for intelligence.
Owen Holland - professor at the University of Essex, UK - talking about the rediscovery of the first autonomous robot ever built, research in artificial consciousness, and the design of a life-size anthropomimetic humanoid.
Olivier Michel - founder of Cyberbotics Ltd. (Webots) - exploring the business opportunity and market for robot simulation software.
Okay - now we have another small confession to make. We listen to the Talking Robots podcast on our iPod while taking our dog "Ken" for his late evening walk. It's turned what used to be a boring 'chore' into a real pleasure and welcome learning experience. A couple decades ago, who would have imagined that an American robotics fanatic would be absorbing leading edge robotics and AI via a European podcast while exercising his dog along the edge of Tokyo Bay. It almost sounds like something out of a 1950's Science Fiction novel....
Check out the Talking Robots Website for a complete podcast episode list along with downloadable mp3 files. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast RSS feed while you're there.