Robots have arrived. They are emerging in growing numbers in many different arenas that profoundly affect our lives. Robots are becoming a powerful force in home entertainment, as a hobby pursuit, in education and in science and industry. This is the dawn of a new era in which robots will make all of our lives more enjoyable and productive.
WHAT ROBOT OFFERS YOU
ROBOT Magazine’s coverage is multi-tiered. We will focus on hobby robots that come readyto- run and on complete robot kits such as the emerging Robo-One humanoid robots. We will also feature the most impressive robots being built using robust robot kits such as the LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ Invention System and Radio Shack’s VEX™ Robotics Design System. We will cover homebuilt robot projects, techno hacks and the latest plug & play accessories and gear. Our “EDU BOTS” section is dedicated to the fascinating robot projects and initiatives that are mushrooming in schools and universities.
Technical expansions of articles in each issue will be posted on our website at www.botmag.com. There you will find sample code, schematics, videos and other multi-media robotics coverage.
But that’s not all—ROBOT also offers compelling tech news from around the world in our Leading Edge Robotics News (LERN) and News Bytes sections. Any who wish to discuss and debate emerging robotics technologies, or ROBOT’s treatment of them, can visit our robot discussion forums at www.botmag.com/bulletin.
THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA
A convergence of technologies is accelerating this trend. Voice synthesis in cell phones and GPS car systems represents an early form of “robot talk.” A number of groups are hard at work to create virtual robot minds that can speak with a human in common sense ways. Toy robots can be driven from a PC using wireless internet connectivity, see “Hack It! Drive a Tank Bot from your PC,” page 30. Incredibly, Robotics technology is already so mature you can buy a $100 robot dog that can see, hear and, in its own unique way, learn; see WowWee’s Robopet, page 28. And iRobot’s Roomba robot vacuum cleaner, reviewed on page 17, has sold 1.2 million units in three years.
But the rise of robotics has a deeper significance than the flurry of technological milestones coming at us. The National Science Foundation, NASA, and educators everywhere are supporting robotics because it is the key to making future generations competitive in an ever more challenging world. Numerous organizations are supporting this cause, ranging from FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), www.usfirst.org, to RoboEducators, www.roboteducators.org, to name just two. The great universities are also onboard, both advancing the development of school curricula and spearheading the development of ever more intelligent robots on the forefront of science.
Some estimate the school robot marketplace is growing at 20% to 30% a year. FIRST’s 2005 robot competitions alone (including FIRST LEGO and FIRST VEX) involved over 70,000 students. Educational robots can be viewed as advanced hobby robots, but they tend to be built by teams and often have more sophistication. The explosive growth of robotics activities in schools is a powerful force that is simultaneously expanding the growth of the hobby robot marketplace—great news for all.
ROBOT’s editorial board includes Discovery Channel’s popular “MythBusters,” Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage and Grant Imahara. All three are broadly skilled robotics professionals employed by animatronics powerhouse, M5 Industries. Check out their review of Radio Shack’s VEX Robotics Design System, page 20.
Also on our editorial board are Brian Nave, cohost of “Robot Rivals” on the DIY Network and senior industrial robotics design engineer at Contemporary Machinery, and Jonathan Klein, Director of Robotics R&D, Vecna Technologies, Inc. Contributors to our first issue also include David Calkins, President, Robotics Society of America, founder of RoboGames and Robotics Professor at San Francisco State University, and Dr. Ken Berry, our “Team Robotics” columnist, founder of RoboEducators and Assistant Professor, California State University. For further background on our contributors, please visit www.botmag.com.
This is your magazine and we would like your input. Tell us what you would like to see us cover by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and share your ideas on our bulletin board at www.botmag.com/bulletin. We look forward to hearing from you!