Trevor Blackwell is the founder and CEO of Anybots Inc., a Silicon Valley startup developing next-generation teleoperated robots for use in dangerous industrial jobs. Recently they announced what they believe is the world’s first humanoid robot that walks and balances in a truly dynamic way. He’s also a partner in Y Combinator, a new kind of venture firm specializing in early stage startups. They were recently named the 42nd most important person on the web by PC World magazine.
Previously (1995-2001) he was a principal at Viaweb, which made easy end-user e-commerce software. They were acquired by Yahoo, and their product became Yahoo Store. As a grad student at Harvard (1993-1998) Trevor worked on randomized network protocols, randomized compiler optimizations, and other random things. He published in the proceedings of ACM SIGCOMM, IEEE Infocom, and Usenix. He’s also done a number of recreational hacking projects and published the results on the web, such as the balancing scooter, improved keyboard, and ultra-realistic Apple ][ mode for xscreensaver.
The Anybots QB personal avatar represents you in the office when you can’t be there. Controlled from your web browser, the robot gives you full mobility around your office and lets you interact with people just like being there.
Steve Hoefer is a technologist and writer from San Francisco. His work attempts to remove the boundaries, both physical and mental, between people and technology, and encourages people to engage positively with technology. His creations have been featured everywhere from the New York Times to European TV and Asian design magazines.
Tacit, a Haptic Feedback Glove
The Tacit project is designed to provide versatile, unobtrusive sonar sensing to the blind. Ultrasonic sensors mounted on the back of the hand transfer object distance information as gentle pressure to different parts of the wrist allowing the wearer to get comprehensive sense of space with the wave of a hand.
Secret Knock Gumball Machine
The Secret Knock Gumball Machine holds on to its tasty treats until the correct rhythm is knocked on the front panel. Knocking can be fast or slow, but it only gives up its goodies to the correct sequence. An experiment in natural interfaces, this project is a sweeter and more crowd pleasing version of the Secret Knock Lock.
Colleen Paz is an interdisciplinary artist/designer/builder with a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and a M.Arch from the University of California Berkeley. She currently lives and works in sunny Oakland, California.
Kinetic Bug Jars
The natural world is mysteriously mimicked in this series of kinetic sculptures. Simple electronic components animate paper insects trapped inside of bottles and jars.
Ilya’s first word was “drrrr” (as in the car engine sound) and he got his first soldering iron at age six. Spending early childhood in the former USSR – a non-litigious society where kludges and hacks were a fact of life – proved invaluable in germinating the tinkerer spirit. Growing up in a family of architects, artists and engineers may have also helped. Immigrating to the US at age 10, this evolution continued as broken electronics found on Brooklyn sidewalks became experiments, material sources, and inspiration. RC models naturally progressed from cars to helicopters and into robotics. Hearing about combat robotics at San Franciso’s Robot Wars on TV, the virus was planted. Ilya built his first combat robot for Robot Wars while in high school as one of the youngest competitors in the emerging sport. The building then continued through college for all episodes of the TV show BattleBots with Ilya’s team being one of the first to get a mainstream commercial sponsor. After the show’s finale, the fighting continued on a smaller scale as Ilya wrapped up a BS in mechanical engineering at SUNY Buffalo. Having been to the Bay Area for countless robot competitions, moving out here was a no brainer. Working in various industries and on many different projects – from industrial automation to high voltage electronics – Ilya has never stopped learning as many random things as possible, never getting away from the original inspiration of the Russian keep-it-simple mentality and functional design. He is currently working on developing and commercializing electro-active polymer actuators at Bayer Materials Science and dabbles in electronic sculpture, DJing and breaking bones snowboarding and mountain biking.
Mr. Shadow (like the villain form 5th Element)
Mr. Shadow is a veteran combat robot in the 12lb weight class. This little robot is quite an old timer having begun his fighting career in 2002 and racking up over 40 fights until his retirement in 2007. He has fought valiantly all across the US and even Canada having won 3 championships and one 2nd place. His ¼ inch Kevlar armor has never been penetrated and he has never lost due to a breakdown. He is retired due to overall wear and technology obsolescence.
Alan Rorie is an artist, a designer, a researcher and an educator – he is Almost Scientific. Using digital and physical tools he explores the intersections and boundaries between art and science. He communicates scientific phenomena aesthetically and employs scientific methods to generate art. He’s interested in the relationship between the abstract and the concrete, and the consequences of moving phenomena between these two worlds.
His early years were spent taking apart machines and cutting colored paper into little bits. He graduated from New York University with a BS in Neuroscience, and became a pre-doctoral researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health. He completed his Ph.D in Neurobiology at Stanford University, where he studied how monkey neurons make economic decisions. Since then he’s been a postdoctoral fellowship at The Exploratorium. Today he works as an independent designer and fabricator, and design research consultant. He currently lives in San Francisco with a little brown dog named Piper. His studio is in West Oakland.
The Simple Act of Making a Mark
The Simple Act of Making a Mark is a recursive drawing machine that abstracts and automates the creative process. The machine begins by looking at what is placed before it, for example, a pile of salt, and detects patterns within it. Then the machine traces those subtle patterns, amplifying and solidifying them. Then, again it looks at what is before it, and detects a new set of patterns. Again, then machine traces those patterns. As this recursive process unfolds, subtle patterns are strengthened, interference emerges and complex, generative patterns emerge autonomously.
Michael Shiloh has a BSc in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley. After many years designing hardware and software for the high tech industry, he became a consultant to artists, inventors, designers, hobbyists, and students, often creating unusual devices and contraptions.
Shiloh joined Survival Research Labs in 1990, designing and installing control systems for the groups’ large industrial performance machines, and started teaching electronics and animatronics to the artists working in the fields of machine art, kinetic sculpture, physical computing, and robotics.
Working with artists and other non-technical designers, it became apparent that there was a need for inexpensive, easy-to-use tools for prototyping and developing interactive projects. In 2002 Michael co-founded MakingThings, helping develop the Teleo line of rapid prototyping building blocks, allowing designers to build complex projects that combined software with electronics and devices such as sensors and motors.
In 2005 he founded Teach Me To Make, an educational organization dedicated to the principle that technology, and construction techniques, should be open, public, and accessible to all. In 2008 Judy Castro, artist and designer, became a partner at Teach Me To Make. Together and individually they have taught classes and workshops around the world in rapid prototyping, tinkering, electronics, robotics, computer control, and Arduino.
Your robot is served
A small (1′ * 1′ * 3′) autonomous Arduino-based robot that does whatever the viewer wants it to do. However, the viewer must program it. The robot contains the necessary development system and helps the viewer to write a program to control the robot on the robot.
Michael Winter founded Crazy Research in November 2009. Crazy Research developed a new ‘relaxed’ interface to web TV, an Android based bicycle safety device, an Android powered toy robot that squirts water, and a smartphone controller of architectural and consumer (Christmas tree lights) LED lighting.
Previously Michael, along with famous game designer Will Wright (Sims™, Spore™) co-founded Stupid Fun Club, LLC in 2001. SFC created Bar Karma, a successful crowd-sourced TV series, along with toy and game concepts. Their upcoming Ant Farm toy was ranked high at the New York Toy show and will be sold by Uncle Milton this holiday season.
Before that, Michael founded a series of software startup companies, all successful. In addition he has pursued his interest in making robots and gadgets: Robot Wars combat – won first place; ABC Master of Champions show – won first place. Discovery Channel Modern Marvels – featured on gadgets episode. Two films accepted into the first Robot Film Festival in New York in July of 2011.
Squirt is an water gun totting autonomous robot which communicates via Android phones. It explores human-machine cooperation by giving operators feedback on their robot driving techniques. Humor and emotion are used to foster relationships.
Squirt can either be in guard mode or phone control mode. In guard mode it searches for moving objects and squirts them. In phone control mode it is driven like a RC car. Steering can be by software joystick or by tilting the phone in the direction the robot should go. It can communicate with the cloud.
It was created as a technology demonstration to prove the feasibility of using a smartphone to control small irrigation and well systems. Squirt also may be developed as a toy.
MELONEE WISE & TULLY FOOTE
Melonee Wise and Tully Foote are engineers at Willow Garage, a California based robotics company focused on developing hardware and open source
software for personal robotics applications. They are the co-developers of the open source hardware and software project TurtleBot, a personal robot for everyone.
The TurtleBot is a low-cost, personal robot kit with open-source software. With TurtleBot, you’ll be able to build a robot that can drive around your house, see in 3D, and have enough horsepower to create exciting applications.