by Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR (RIA)
What would you do if you found an unauthorized Web site about your company’s “family jewels”? I recently bumped into a site that highlights the Association’s International Robots & Vision Show, our biggest and most elaborate event, and was delighted to see it was done in such an interesting manner. Nelson Bridwell came to the 2007 Show and (with permission) shot footage and interviews on the floor.
It turns out that Mr. Bridwell, 55, used to work for Intel and is now running a startup business called Mirage Robotics in Beaverton, Oregon. After a brief search, I was able to find his number and have a quick conversation to see what makes him tick.
Nelson Bridwell foresees a day when robotic applications are incorporated into the transportation industry, specifically in ways that are now being explored in DARPA’s Grand Challenge which is a competition for developing autonomous vehicles. He hopes this leads to spin-off technology in the automotive market for the elderly or in the delivery sector.
An admirer of Joseph F. Engelberger, the “Father of Robotics,” Nelson sites a sentiment he credits to Joe that there is little merit in creating humanoid robots for the sake of an emotional reaction. (This certainly is the kind of thing I’ve heard Joe talk about.) Mr. Bridwell hopes to see more practical applications for non-industrial robots, and feels the biggest bottleneck for progress is software, not hardware.
It was an interesting few minutes with Nelson. His site is not sanctioned by the Association, but if you want to see it and all the videos and other commentary, go to http://www.mobilerobot.org/RobotsVisionShow/2007.htm.