Just a quick reminder to all the robo-geeks and electro-nuts out there, this Thursday, January 13th, is SparkFun FREE DAY. This year they have increased the give away pool of money from $100,000 to $150,000 and have gotten a lot more creative about the ways you can grab a piece of the action. It's open to anyone, even if you have never ordered from SparkFun before. But, you'll have a definite advantage if you are a long term customer, or are good at answering basic electronics questions.
In any case, you're going to have to be very quick. During the 2010 event, which was originally scheduled to last all day, all of the budget was given away in just one hour and 44 minutes. This time around it may go even faster, assuming that the SparkFun servers are up to managing the tsunami of users frothing at the mouth to get in, place their orders, and gorge themselves on an electronic SparkFun feast.
One of the most surprising and delightful aspects of hobby level robotics in Japan is the wealth of different competitions and styles. On any given weekend you can find humanoid robots battling it out in the ring, micromouse robots solving and racing through mazes, line followers blazing around the track, underwater robots plunging to new depths, and flying robots soaring skyward autonomously.
Last weekend was no exception. We spend a delightful afternoon with the gang at Robot Japan enjoying humanoid robot fights, including some that were orchestrated as well as professional wrestling matches, and a robot dance contest:
Oddly enough, the competition was held in an auditorium that is a part of the Tsukiji Hongan-ji Buddhist temple in Tokyo. The temple traces its history back to 1657 and is a major pilgrimage destination. After last Sunday's competition, it may become a favorite pilgrimage destination for the robot faithful as well.
Response to the Aldebaran NAO Robot Developer Program has been quite strong, much stronger actually than anyone predicted. And, we have to say that the caliber of the applicants is extremely high. We're definitely impressed.
As of earlier today, the program is still accepting qualified participants. If you're interested, and think you're up to the most exciting robot initiative we've seen in years, then review the requirements and put in for a possible invitation to join the program.
Here's the Nao Developer Program video created by the guru's at Aldebaran:
Morgan Webb, with G4TV, takes us around the VStone Robot Center store in Akihabara, then zooms out to the FURO center in Chiba to get a close look a massive humanoid robot platform:
What could be better than a whole store dedicated to shirts for kids who like robots?
Steven Skollar, one of the top contemporary robot artists, and our favorite robot themed painters, will be kicking off the Planetary Premiere of his latest creations at the Arcadia Gallery in Manhattan tomorrow. The opening reception is scheduled from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm on Saturday, November 13th, and the exhibition will continue through November 26th. We highly recommend it.
The Arcadia Fine Arts Gallery is located at 51 Green Street, New York City, just a few minutes walk from Canal Street.