Ignite LA Recap and Socializing Robots

Ignite has been spreading across the world. I’ve been helping out some cities with their first event. Last week I worked with Dan Gould, Matthew Forrest and Heathervescent to kick-off the first Ignite in Los Angeles. It went great.

LA definitely showed up with several great geek talks. Jackie Morie of the ICT, a DoD funded lab designed to being Hollywood/entertainment tech to the defense industry. We learned about their virtual therapy for treatment of soldiers with PTSD and virtual training for combat operations. Ron Evans spoke on his hacking with open-source UAVs (such as the Blimpduino) and his Ruby work to support others. There were many other great talks and we will be releasing videos of all of them in the coming week.

There was also an excellent talk on socializing robots and it’s featured in this week’s Ignite Show:

Robots have come a long way. They walk and they talk . They also have advantages over humans: they are stronger, they have a computer for a brain. This makes them well-suited for many tasks — especially space travel.

We need robots and they wouldn’t exist without us. To work together we need to find some way to be able to socialize with them. We’ll eventually want them to keep us company. For that job robots have a long way to go, but this talk will share some of the experiments, research and thinking about this new area.


Heather Knight is a social roboticist at NASA’s JPL labratory. She is constantly thinking about new ways to make robots smarter and give them personality. She was filmed giving this talk last week at the inaugural Ignite LA.