Archive for the 'New Media' Category


Wonderful shows from the Demonstration Stream Group

From 13:15 until 15.45, six groups from the Demonstration stream have given wonderful shows in the large public rooms of At-Bristol. Wonderful, but insanely chaotic and hectic! There were many people walking around, visiting the mini-exhibitions — as we like to call them — from the Demonstration team. The New Media stream group was responsible for recording everything from the exhibitions. Photos and videos can be viewed in this blog entry, so that the reader can get an impression of what exactly has been done in the past few days in the Walking with Robots workshop and what the results are.

The New Media group was split into teams and each team member has their own role: photographer, cameraman, storywriter and supervisor. This team was responsible for recording various exhibitions, activities and presentations, each of which will be described below.

Robots are designed to do one thing well

This exhibition shows that robots are often made for the purpose of doing things that they are good at; or, in other words, doing things they have been designed for. In this exhibition, there is a video shown on a laptop of a robot that uses a tennis racket to keep a tennis ball up in the air by constantly softly and swiftly hitting it from the bottom. A large difference can be seen when humans are asked to do the same task. The participants are not as good as the robot itself, as illustrated in the video given below. This is the reason why some tasks can be better left to robots, as they are capable of performing extremely precise tasks with high accuracy, something that humans are not always capable of.

Robots will only do what you tell them to do

During this exhibition, visitors were asked to command a “robot” to do things, such as eating food or walking around. The idea behind this exhibition is that a robot cannot do anything else but whatever it is told to do. It is designed for that purpose, to serve the humans. That is what robotics will be like for the upcoming long time: doing things exactly as they are told, with some exceptions aside (e.g., NASA robots, Sony’s Aibo robots and Honda’s Asimo robots). However, things are surely to change when robots become so advanced that they can think on their own and are capable of performing autonomous tasks without getting humans involved. The Three Laws of Robotics will need to be programmed when technology gets that far (see also Wikipedia). Until then, there is no need to worry about such things.

that's interesting...
She finds it interesting.

A simple change in what a robot needs to do can change the design totally

The idea behind this exhibition is that a small change in the task of a robot can require a large change in the robot’s design. In order to illustrate that, three kinds of terrains of the planet Mars have been designed, on each of which a robot is required to navigate. Instead of an actual robot, however, balls of various sizes are used. They represent robots of different sizes. The terrains have holes. The first terrain has small holes, so small and big robots can walk there without falling through the holes. The second terrain has bigger holes, so only the large ball can travel across the terrain. However, the third and last terrain has a large abyss and requires a robot that can fly or jump over it. The changes in terrains therefore require a completely different design of the robots. This is a very simple but incredibly intuitive idea!

A kid is fascinated about what is being shown and told.

Rights of the robot

Another surprising activity was a robot walking around in the public rooms of At-Bristol, with everyone lining up behind it, carrying large signs. The purpose of this “demonstration” is to “fight” for the rights of the robot. The kids were invited to participate and in return they got a nice badge! They loved it! Some visual material is shown below.

Campaigning for robots
He loves robots!

She loves robots!

Design your own biomimetic robot

In this activity, children were asked to draw a biomimetic robot, which is a robot that has the abilities that exist in living creatures, such as the way of movement or their actions. Basically, the nature is mimicked in the design of the robot. The children used their imagintion and their experience in the field of nature to draw such a robot. Various surprisingly different drawings came out. There was even one child that was so much into the drawing that he did not want to leave, not even when his mum asked him to! Talk about determination!

Biomimetic Robot drawing #2
Biomimetic robot drawing.

Bimimetic robot wall
Many biomimetic robot drawings.

No, I want to stay
“No, I want to stay!”

Online quiz about robotics

In this activity, visitors could test their knowledge about robots and robotics in general by participating in an online quiz. A number of questions needed to be answered by the visitors and then they’d get a score of their knowledge. The results seem to vary much amongst the people.

Filling in the survey
Filling in the quiz and completely absorbed by it.

In the end, the exhibitions were a success and we were able to cover most of them by writing about them and providing photos and videos. It was very interesting to work in such an environment. Although things were rather chaotic, we were able to stay cool — with the exception of the rather shaky camera movements in the videos, apparently — and finish up our story on this blog!


It’s Chaos!!

All of the different teams are preparing for their afternoon on the floor of @Bristol. The New Media Team is no different.

They’ve been divided into three different groups of three people each group – one to take photos, one to take video, one to talk to members of the public and get all of the appropriate consent forms for including members of the public in the photos and video we publish to this site.

Everyone is currently working out exactly when and where they will be this afternoon. There’s exactly 30 minutes until the whole thing gets considerably more chaotic!


End of day two


‘In only 24 hours you changed from dead silent with no idea what to write about, to actual journalists with many ideas. This now really looks like a news room, and I like it!’ – Jonathan Sanderson

With a few new articles being published online every hour, it is now a good time to look at some of the responses. This blog has become very popular in a very short time, and we have received a high ranking on various search engines. Visitors are coming from around the world. To further improve we need to reflect on which articles are successful and why, and which ones are not.
Several stories like the profiles will be used more, and will appear online shortly. The story dealing with the misconceptions about science has nearly come to a closing. Also, some of the make and take activities are nearly finished, and will be examined. Of course, also the activities of the other groups will be discussed extensively, and more in-depth stories about different aspects of robotics.
Further, we learned a lot about different forms of media, the power of photos and movies: When is it a success and when do you loose your audience? How long can a movie be before it becomes boring. When can you use pictures of someone that doesn’t know he/she is being photographed? Privacy and copyright are difficult issues that need to be dealt with.
Wednesday, we will cover all the different demonstrations on the floor, keeping the previously learned restrictions in mind. Another difficulty is to finish on time, while filming we still have to write an interesting story. Still something we need to find a way around.

News from our new media team

With the hard work of our editors, there are various interesting news produced from all other streams, ranging from progress reports to individual interviews. If you search “walkings with robots” in Google, our blog has already become the first item of the search result.

Following is the busy working scene of our editors.


Getting the word out

The new media team covers different stories about the Walking with Robots workshop here in Bristol. Our goal is to get the latest news out in to the world as quickly as possible, but still for everyone to understand. To do this, a number of options have been considered, including:

  • wiki’s – collaborative websites, most famous one would be wikipedia
  • blogs – online weblog about a single topic of interest
  • facebook – a social networking website to connect people
  • ning – social networking site similar to facebook, but more focused on a single topic

new media group

We choose to get everything into one blog (which you are looking at right now). With multiple editors writing different stories about different aspects of the workshop, it should grow very quickly.
At this stage, our first target is to get as many stories in to the world as we can. The next stage will be to eliminate the bad ones and going into more depth for each story.

Our goal is that at the end we are able to write a interesting and compelling story in a short period of time, to recognize what a good story is. This will help writing press releases and getting in contact with different media in order to deliver the message. But this turns out to be harder than it looks!

Walking with Robots coverage

Unknown what to expect, the new media group starts covering the Walking with Robots workshop here in Bristol. Our goal is to cover the whole workshop using the latest techniques online. With tight deadlines coming up, everyone started right away covering different aspects of the workshop.

What is reasonable for a day’s work and 10 editors? Will we have 10 stories by the end of Wednesday, or maybe 50 or more. How much is there to tell about this diverse workshop?

Can it be done?