"" Writer's Wanderings: Microsoft Robotic Mania

Friday, May 12, 2006

Microsoft Robotic Mania

This week I spent several days in Las Vegas with my husband at a conference for Microsoft's Embedded Devices. At least I think that's what it was. I don't do well with the technical stuff. I went to spend some time with him, get rid of the distractions around the house so I could concentrate on some new book ideas, and yes, to enjoy the excitement that only neon Las Vegas creates.

Wednesday night was a special dinner for the conferees and guests at Tao's restaurant and nightclub in the Venetian. The entertainment for the evening was a robotic competition. Now when you say "robots" to me, I conjure up pictures of large people-shaped metal creatures with arms and legs and a voice that says, "Danger, Will Robinson!"


We stood on a balcony overlooking three large boxes with white rings on top of them. Men were paired off at each box and at the signal of the referee, they placed little square 8" boxes of metal parts in the ring and pushed a switch. When the program finally started running, little red lights flashed and the boxes began moving--sometimes in circles, sometimes straight for the competition. The winner was declared when his robot pushed the other robot out of the ring.

Men stood around cheering, jeering, and high-fiving. Huh?

Is this the future replacement for boxing, wrestling, and chicken fighting?

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