Fight! Robot, Fight! The Amateur Robotics Movement in the United States

Dr. John P. Sullins
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The study of Robotics was once the exclusive realm of elite research universities and corporations. The costs and logistics of building, programming and maintaining a robotics platform in past generations were too high for the hobbyist or independent researcher. Over the last decade this has radically changed. Amateur robotics clubs are thriving and knowledge generated by robotics and AI research of the past is now converging with the home and amateur robotics movement through inexpensive robotics platforms such as the Lego Mindstorms kits. In addition to this, robot-fighting leagues have also become very popular with participants building ingenious machines of destruction that they operate via telerobotics in mock gladiatorial combat. The convergence of high-tech expertise with the home and amateur user represents an example of the successful introduction of AI technology into society. We will look at how successful the knowledge transfer between AI researchers and home users has been and see if any thing can be taught by the home robotics builders to AI researchers. In this paper I will review some of the recent developments in the home robotics movement that point towards greater collaborative research in robotics across cultures, and between professional and hobbyist.

Keywords: Robotics, Lego Mindstorms, Technology Transfer
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Fight! Robot, Fight!

Dr. John P. Sullins

Assistant Professor, Philosophy Department, Sonoma State University

Ref: T05P0171