Download here: Episode 15 - Robot Toys
In the spirit of the holiday season, today's episode is all about
robots as toys. We speak to Mark Tilden, robot designer at WowWee
Robotics, about designing robots for children, and what he thinks that
scientists and researchers can learn from the toy industry. We are
also holding a contest to give away his latest creation, the
Femisapien, to one of our listeners, so read all about it below.
Mark Tilden is a true robotics lover, having built thousands of robots
of all shapes and sizes in the last few decades. During the first part
of his career he pioneered BEAM robotics (which stands for Biology,
Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics), a philosophy of building
robots based on simple analog circuits and control instead of highly-
complex systems, leading to low-cost and efficient systems. His bio-
inspired bots manage to walk, crawl, roll or shake in complex
environments using only a few transistors and basic sensors.
After working at the University of Waterloo in Canada and subsequently
at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, Tilden's research
eventually evolved into toy design when he was hired as a consultant
for WowWee robotics in Hong Kong. His RoboSapien humanoid robot was
controlled using only 28 transistors, and has sold in the millions. In
our interview Tilden tells us about the difference between robotics in
scientific research and in the toy industry. He also speaks about his
latest creation, the Femisapien, and how he hopes to interest young
girls in the field of robotics.
Christmas Contest: Win a WowWee FemiSapien!
Guess what our Femisapien did on her first weekend in Switzerland for
a chance to win one! Answers can be posted on our forum as a
description, video, drawing or picture until Thursday the 1st of
January noon (GMT). The closest guess wins and the most creative posts
will be encouraged. A short video will be posted on the 2nd of January
to reveal the winner and the correct answer.