This past weekend I went to RoboGames. There were many squee moments (PLEN was there! so cute! etc.), many pictures taken (which are trapped on my phone for the moment), and many things learned while wandering around among the room full of dads and their kids.
Maybe the most important lesson was that although some robots are designed with nice goals like helping the elderly, mixing cocktails or enabling the paralysed to walk, what the crowd was most interested in was watching robots tear each other apart in combat. I'm not sure what this says about humanity - or me, since I admit to cheering when they crashed into each other and parts went flying. At least I had a conversation with an engineer about cognitive robotics as well (he wasn't applying it though). And observed that a good way for artists to make money nowadays is to make their creations coin-operated.
More later, when I get my photos, but here's a pic from the web site of the superheavyweights (300 lbs or so) in combat. Yay robots!
x-posted to Omni Brain