Trying to explain what the First NAO Robot Developer Program Tokyo Meeting was like just can't convey the actual experience adequately, so we've tried a totally different medium to give you a feel for it:
Full comic after the break:
’Robot Development Can Be Fun (Comic)’ continues
It's been a great and very informative day at the first NAO Developer Program meeting here in Tokyo, with lots of surprises and new things to learn. The first delightful surprise was a new charging station developed for the NAO robot that incorporates some neat features.
The robot uses the special marks on the charging station mat and post to align itself, then backs up, wiggles a bit to match up the connector on its back with the plug, then connects it self. It then takes a few steps forward and sits down while recharging. This makes it completely available for its own to continue interacting with it.
Once the charging cycle finishes, NAO stands up and with a very human like back swipe of its hand it disconnects the plug and is ready to trot off to work.
Stay tuned for more news from the NAO Developer Program meeting. There's a lot to share.
Although in his YouTube upload he refers to it as a "guided missile" we're pretty sure that Paxshikai's latest i-SOBOT hack doesn't actually have any electronics onboard - but who knows? He's managed to coax his robot into doing some pretty amazing things over the past few years. Anything is possible.
Normally the Wonderful Robot Carnival competition is limited to humanoid robots walking on two legs, but this robot dog turned out to be so cute, playful, and realistic in it's movements that the organizers just had to let it enter and compete as best it could.
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The Japanese robot builders are definitely World-Class, even at the hobby level. Their intense focus on the technology, craftsmanship, and quality makes them tough competitors in almost every sector of robotics, except for military/defense applications where the US holds a unique position.
So, if you were an American robot builder who happened to be living here and had the opportunity to compete head to head with the local talent, what could you possibly do to impress them and improve your odds of winning one of the top positions?
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KQED in San Francisco put together an excellent 5 minute mini-documentary on the hackerspace movement featuring Mitch Altman, one of the founders of the Noisebridge hackerspace:
Search out a hackerspace in your community. They are popping up all over the world. Over here, Tokyo Hackerspace is well over a year old and has established a real presence in the community along with serving as a nucleus and gathering point for crafter's, experimenters, and robot geeks. If there isn't a local hackerspace near you already, then seriously consider starting one.