Bots in Boston

I headed to Boston last weekend for TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics at MIT and to take in the sights and seafood of Boston.

Boston has a great public transit system making getting around cheap and easy. Sunday I went museum hopping starting off at The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. The museum is right on the waterfront making it worth a trip just for the view. Sadly many of the galleries were closed during my visit while the museum is transitioning between shows but still had a selection from their permeant collection on display.

Stop 2 was the Museum of Science. Standouts for me were the Theater of Electricity with their 30 foot tall Van de Graaff Generators and the traveling Popnology exhibit with a bunch of “Back To The Future” props and my favorite a lego model of “The House of the Future” that used to stand in Disneyland.

Final stop for the day was the MIT Museum which is fairly small but a highlight for me because the whole trip was about robotics and the MIT Museum has a large selection of well known MIT built robots on display. Kismet is a robot I remember seeing on countless PBS specials growing up so it was neat to see it in person.

Monday came the whole reason that I was in Boston, TechCrunch’s Robotics Session, a day full of panels, workshops and demos of robot technology and the future of machine learning and artificial intelligence. It was interesting to see a wider array of robots where I have seen many tailored to warehousing and manufacturing earlier in the year at ProMat in Chicago. Personal highlight for me was seeing the Disney Imagineering session where they showed off their latest audio animatronic technology. Some of what they showed we weren’t allowed to photograph but they did have an animatronic head used in the Na’vi River Journey ride in Pandora that opened 2 months ago that drew a crowd every-time it came to life. It was also really cool to spend a day walking around the MIT campus which was a college that I dreamed of attending.

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