Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Robots At Play in Denmark

Robots at Play Festival in Odense, Denmark 14-16 September 2006

The Robots at Play Festival of 2006 will be the first of what the sponsors hope is an annual international event. Roboteers, artists, companies and anyone who is interested in robots is invited to participate.
The festival will include events like sports and performances, camps for learning and building robots, and all kinds of robot public events.

Most Playful Robot
There will also be judging for a 10,000 Euro prize for the “most playful and/or interactive robotic system.” (Prize pdf)

The prize sounds like a wonderful idea to me. They want to encourage broad integration of disciplines into robot design and increase “societal understanding in robotics.”

However, in their literature they seem to have a very academic or engineering view of what is play, or at least of what is fun. I think shooting flames and crushing cars is rather playful but this judging committee may have a different idea.

They give as an example of excellence in Robots at play, Playware tactile tiles. Well, first, these are not robots, they are tiles with sensors and blinking lights. Secondly, they do not even look fun.
In a paper describing the design and test of the tiles the authors describe playware:

We suggest the term “playware” as this use of technology to create the kind of leisure activities we normally label play, i.e. intelligent hard- and software that aims at producing play and playful experiences among users and of which e.g. computer games are a sub-genre.

Is this supposed to be fun? I may suggest that you are taking the subject too seriously, i.e. your head is way up inside a bodily orifice e.g. your ass.
I sure wish we had playware when I was a kid. All we had was krummy toys and games, e.g. sticks and ball games as a sub-genre.

Anyway, the festival does look like it would be alot of fun. Only the lack of funds is preventing me from going.

Robotsatplay, Robo[cluster],Robot, Festival


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