Dear Santa Claus,
I have been a relatively good boy this year and I would like a shiny new Hitachi TM-100 Tabletop Scanning Electron Microscope. I know what you're going to say, "Dave, you already have a microscope and it can easily fit on a tabletop." Yes, that is true, but I have an old optical microscope and if I had an electron microscope just think of the photos I could take! They would by much cooler than these I took last year.
The TM-100 will be on display (hopefully a hands on display!) at the 2007 WIRED Nextfest.
The WIRED Nextfest is coming up next week here in Downtown Los Angeles. I am really excited about many of the exhibitions. It's one thing to read about a cool robot online, but to actually see one in real life is even better, as long as it doesn't try and chop off your arm with its sword. I have compiled a list of what I think will be some of the more interesting robots at Nextfest:
- Keepon: This cute, yellow, dancing robot is currently my favorite robot. His little eyes are two cameras and his nose is a microphone. His mastery of expressive head bobbing is quite impressive. I want to get a close-up shot of his insides which are actually quite complex. He will also be making an appearance with Spoon on the 10th
- Chroino: This little robot is totally bad-ass. Check out his strut and watch him stand up, like a person would, unlike a Robosapien 2. This will be one of my next robot purchases!
- Kiyomori[Warning Flash + Music]: Personally I've always thought that the world needed more robots wearing traditional samurai armor replete with swords. I hope that nobody pisses off Kyomori and loses an arm.
- Hubo FX-1: Holy smokes, the alpa stages of mech warriors are upon us! In Korea, "human-riding robot" doesn't ride you, you ride robot.
- HumanKind: Hanson Robotics has endeavored to create expressive robot heads that appear to be human. I don't know if I'm the only person who is creeped out by this, but I'm guessing that I'm not. Their new head, Joey Chaos, is a "one of a kind humanoid rock star is known for his attitude and smart remarks," I guess that could be fairly entertaining.
- Zou Ren Ti: What's creepier than an expressive robotic head? How about creating your twin in robot form. Yep, Xi'an wins.
- Takanishi Bots: There is something really retro about the assorted robots from Takanishi. The WL-16RIII looks pretty original though and the WABIAN-2R looks more modern than their other offerings.
- REEM-A: Pal Technology's REEM-A robot has a sense of equilibrium and if you try and push him over he will regain his balance. I wonder what happens if you push him too hard?
- Juke Bots: My German isn't so great, but from what I can tell from the pictures, the Juke Bots are a pair of what look like industrial welding robots that dance to music. Dancing robots are always crowd pleasers, and oddly enough dancing is a common robot design feature.
- Shadow Hand: This robotic hand is supposedly "the most advanced Dexterous Hand in the world." It looks pretty complicated, containing 40 air muscles.
- BodyBug: I'm not really sure what the point of this robot is, and the demo video, which was clearly inspired by, if not blatantly stolen from, Apple, confuses me even more. I guess it's a robot for playing a dancing game with your friends? I have no idea, but I suppose I'll find out more at Nextfest.
- Salamandra robotica: Ok so this isn't the most interesting robot ever, but the page has some neat motion graphs.
- The LEMUR Robots: NASA's multi-limbed bots look like a cross between robotic insects and big-eyed lemurs. Apparently they can climb walls.
- Outerspace: This robot looks like your average desk lamp, but comes alive and responds to your input as you can see in this video.
- Recon Scout - Reconnaissance Robot: This little dumbbell shaped robot is remote controlled and made for military work. You can toss the Recon Scout into a battle zone and drive it around to get an idea of what lies ahead.
- SRR: Sample-Return Rover: These venerable robots created in 1997 and 2000 may be old, but they're still useful. They can even work together to retrieve samples in hazardous environments.
- Glowbots: These intercommunicating, interactive, LED-encrusted robots remind me of a physical version of Conway's Game of Life. You can watch some videos of the Glowbots here.
Wired Nextfest takes place September 13th through the 16th in the South Hall of the LA Convention Center. Tickets will run you $20 if you're and adult, $15 with a student ID, and kids 2-12 are $5.