Riverside Robotics Expo

(See pics here.)

The Riverside Robotics Expo, organized by the Riverside Robotics Club, took place on November 2 at the Woodcrest Library in Riverside, CA.

3D printing was a major theme at the expo. In one example, the 3D printing company Airwolf (Costa Mesa, CA) showed its 3D printer, which can use 12 different materials including several types of thermoplastics and a wood composite. Arxterra (Huntington Beach, CA) is developing telerobotics communities featuring robots made entirely from printed parts, which can be printed from open source files. These robots, for example the Robot Scout “ROSCO”, can be controlled by Android to explore parks and recreation areas. Arxterra is designing robots to explore remote areas such as the Mojave Desert, the Redwoods in Northern California, the Amazon Rain Forest—or even the moon or Mars. There was a demonstration of virtual telepresence, in which a person could control a robot’s motions by wearing and controlling a glove wired up with sensors. While the exhibit involved the controller being next to the controlled robot, such systems can be used to control robots in more remote locations, possibly the Moon or Mars.

The expo also featured soccer-playing robots, and even a robot battle: the “Robot Throwdown”, which featured Antweight (1 lb) and Beetleweight (3 lb) robots fighting “to the death” (or the robotic equivalent)! Visitors even had the change to fight with a boxing robot. Visitors also got to admire an actual-size brightly blinking replica of Robby the Robot from Lost In Space, and even a steampunk R2D2 (as well as the more traditional version, along with a talking bust of C3PO). A terrifying Terminator was present, riding a motorcycle! Magic and Technology showed their talking animatronic skull. Kids could create and test their own robots at Robotis KidsLab.

There was even the first-ever 3D printed humanoid robot: Inmoov, designed by the French sculptor Gael Langevin, who taught himself to design and build the robot despite having no robotics experience. The robot can respond to voice commands. The computer files for printing Inmoov’s parts are all downloadable for free.

The expo also featured more artistic exhibits: a 3D printed Venetian carnival mask, and fanciful sculptures put together from antique components such as old baking powder tins, cameras, power supply units, binoculars and candlesticks. Robots even made music – a robot Elvis; Singing Betty9; and RoboDevo, a Devo tribute band, entertained visitors.

The Riverside Robotics Society, organizers of the Expo, is a group that promotes robotics in every way. They host monthly meetings that include classes on robotics, tips and pointers, contests, and show and tell. Their members create everything from miniature “bug bots” to full-scale human-size robots. To find out more, you can find them on http://www.meetup.com/The-Riverside-Robotics-Society/ or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RRoboticsSociety?ref=br_tf

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