I agree, Chuck. This was my first time at MD&M West and I was amazed at the size of the show. It's true that there were several other shows co-located there, but even so, they filled all the halls of the entire convention center.
Yes, Liz, Baxter is another example of the "cool or creepy" question, also known as the "uncanny valley." To me, Baxter doesn't appear creepy, but I know many people who would feel uncomfortable working next to it (or him or her). Still, robots with human features aren't going away. We can expect more of them in the coming years. Here's a story that touches on the issue of the uncanny valley:
Baxter is pretty impressive...I remember when that news came out and wrote about it. It would have been super-cool to see up close. Was it (he?) cool or creepy? Can you imagine Baxter working alongside you in a factory? Just curious...
I agree, Rich. MD&M is the polar opposite of an auto show, where 25 big companies have mammoth "booths" that take up the entire show floor. MD&M has countless small booths. You could walk every aisle for a week and not to talk to everyone.
I interviewed Rethink Robotics' Eric Foellmer about Baxter at the booth. This robot has some revolutionary technology for making itself safer to be around humans, especially the materials and the non-pinching design.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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