Humans and robots alike came out in droves to celebrate the robot-themed installment of the California Academy of Sciences’ weekly Nightlife event. In addition to the Academy’s regular aquarium, planetarium, and rainforest exhibits, attendees enjoyed the chance to interact with a variety of robots.
Game of Drones had a large presence at the event, using an outdoor netted enclosure as a battle zone for pitting drones against each other. Smaller FPV drones flitted above the cheering crowds and lit up with LED lights as the sky darkened. Bot Bash gave attendees the opportunity to compete against each other using the adorable 150-gram models Scoopsie Daisy and Forkenstein, made with medical grade titanium and carbon fiber, respectively.
My favorite demos were bots that had educational, entertaining, and communicative applications. Anki Overdrive is a modular racetrack with infrared code that talks to sensors in small race cars; they can drive themselves around the track or be driven with bluetooth via phone or tablet. The Beam Pro stands about five feet tall and allowed for nonlocal guests to have a telepresence at the event. Wonder Workshop had several Dash robots — designed to help kids code — colorfully buzzing underfoot.
Other notable exhibits included Pneobotics, Snickerdoodle, and Relay.