Robots are high-tech toys with real-world applications

Robots are high-tech toys with real-world applications

Robo-snakes, robo-taxis, robo-hotels — last Tuesday’s Iowa Maker Tweet-Up featured all of the above and more in the spirit of our “Robots and Hacking” theme in the Makers Studio. We explored the future of robotics as a cool toy and technology with real-world applications. Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

First, we discussed our favorite futuristic robots… And how we can make them a little less freaky.

What’s the most exciting piece of robotics news you’ve heard in the past couple months? #iamakerchat -@SCIOWA

The robot hotel in Japan sounds really interesting - and creepy at the same time! -@MichaelELandon

We agree! A cool application of tech, for sure! Would you visit that hotel? -@SCIOWA

Not sure! The videos I’ve seen show the movements to be awkward - what I tried to avoid programming animatronics! #iamakerchat -@MichaelELandon

Naturally, we had to take a virtual tour of the “Henn’na Hotel” (it translates to “strange hotel” in Japanese, appropriately enough). Almost entirely staffed by robots, the hotel is high-tech but booking your stay is surprisingly cheap, as the robo-staff cuts labor costs by about 70 percent.

Need a ride to the robot hotel? Take one of Japan’s robot taxis.

Whether you’re building the ultimate robo-taxi or a DIY replica of R2-D2, robotics is all about problem-solving.  

What’s one lesson you’ve learned working with robotics/mechanics as a Maker? #iamakerchat -@SCIOWA

How to press bearings. SMT soldering. Controlling a stepper motor. How do you pick one? #iamakerchat -@Area515DSM

More as a user than a Maker, understanding robotics’ role in increased access made it not just a toy. #iamakerchat -@AAMers, American Alliance of Museums

Great point! How do you keep that concept in mind with every step of the Making process? #iamakerchat

Maybe by trying to see the world through others’ eyes; approaching #Making as a way to solve problems/create solutions. #iamakerchat -@AAMers

Next #iamakerchat: Join us Tuesday, August 11, from 7:00-8:00 pm for the final Iowa Maker Tweet-Up of the summer. We’ll discuss the upcoming Des Moines Mini Maker Faire, the future of Maker culture and more. Tweet #iamakerchat to join the conversation!