Biography of Roboticist David Calkins
David Calkins is a widely respected robot builder and expert. He has taught robotics and computer engineering at San Francisco State University and various grade schools, is the president of the Robotics Society of America, Founder of the international RoboGames (world's largest robot competition), and has lots of other pedantic titles that no one really cares about.
He hosted the weekly TV show "Systm" for Revsion3, where he tought people to make highly useful things like flamethrowers, lightsabers and beer-delivery robots. He's been featured in TV specials on Discovery, History, TechTV, and many other networks, including building a robot which explored the dungeons and sewers of Alcatraz. His most vexing robot is Chapek, which makes cocktails and insults people (mostly him.) He plays with Legos a lot, proving his mother correct that he would not, in fact, ever grow up. He's built over 100 robots, most of which have since had parts cannibalized for some other project. Those 'bots are now plotting to cut off one of his arms to see how he likes it.
Long, winding, boring bio for people who spend too much time on the net:
David Calkins is a widely respected robot builder and expert. He is a former professor ot robotics and computer engineering at San Francisco State University, is the president of the Robotics Society of America, Founder of the international ROBOlympics competition, Program Chair of the RoboNexus Consumer and Entertainment Expo, and co-chair of the RoboSot competition for FIRA - the Federation of International Robosoccer Association. He was one of only ten US members of the Japanese Trade Association's Robotics Mission to Japan, an official US-Japanese robotics technology business development and research mission.
As one of America's most respected robotics authorities, David Calkins offers a rare blend of both technical and marketing insight into the world of robotics. He speaks on robotics to such diverse groups as the Young Presidents Organization, Stanford University, the San Jose Tech Museum, the Business4Site conference, the RoboNexus and RoboBusiness conferences, JavaOne and many others. Mr. Calkins stars in the San Francisco local weekly TV show "Mister Robotics", and was also featured in two documentaries: the Discovery Channel's special "Dungeons of Alcatraz" (in which he designed and built a robot used to explore tunnels beneath Alcatraz) and the Tech TV special "Bucket of Bolts". He has also been a featured guest speaker on History Channel's "Tactical to Practical", Tech TV's "ScreenSavers" and "Call for Help", G4's "Attack of the Show", Outdoor Channel's "Inside R/C", GSN's "Games Around America," and has been profiled by CNN, Time, and the New York Times. He is also a prolific author in his own right; he writes two monthly columns for Servo Magazine and Robot Magazine, and has been published internationally.
Mr. Calkins works with NASA's Robotics Education Project to involve kids in the building and competition of robots. Calkins also enthusiastically mentors the San Francisco's John O'Connell High School USFIRST robotics team. On the business-side, Calkins has been a consultant for Sun Corporation's JavaNator robotic development group, Evolution Robotics original ER-1 robot, and assisted DARPA on the creation of the rules for their Robotic Grand Challenge. In addition to serving as president of the Robotics Society of America since 2000, he also serves on the Board of Advisors for QBox (a mechanical, kinetic and electronic arts group) and BotBall (Robotics Educational Foundation). Calkins also judges for BotBall, FIRST Lego League, ComBots, and the Robot Fighting League.
Press clippings from ROBOlympics/RoboGames can be found here.
President of the Robotics Society of America
Professor of Robotics/Computer Engineering at San Francisco State University
Founder, ROBOlympics/RoboGames - the International all-events robot competition
Co-Founder/President of ComBots - the largest organizer of robot combat in the US
Consumer Robotics Expo Conference Chair, RoboNexus - the world's largest robot expo
Mission Co-leader, Japanese Trade Association's Robotics Mission to Japan
Public Appearances / Speaking
"Robots - From Hobby to Companion" at the Vex Robotics Launch/US FIRST National Championship
"Consumer Robots - the Next Decade" at RoboNexus 2005
"Personal Robots, For Real: How Soon, How Cool?" at the Business4Site conference.
"Home Robots as an Industry in the 21st Century" to Stanford University and the Young Presidents Organization
"Androids and Talking Heads" to Lit (International Literature Group)
"The Future of Robots" to the Sacramento PC Users Group
"Building your own Robot" to the San Jose Tech Museum, the San Francisco Exploratorium, and many others
Host for Rhizome's "Art in a Browser and Other Electronic Oddities" robot exhibit
Host for the semiannual "Robot Games and Expo" at the San Francisco Exploratorium and Ft. Mason
Guest expert on the radio shows "Tech Success" with Jesse Berst and Brian Mallow's "But Seriously..."
Demonstrator for the Asian Film Festival celebrating the release of the movie "Robot Stories"
Stars in and produces the TV show "Mister Robotics", shown weekly in San Francisco and Berkeley.
Starred in the Discovery channel special "Dungeons of Alcatraz" in which he designed and built a robot used to explore tunnels beneath Alcatraz where no human could go
Featured Guest in the Tech TV special "Bucket of Bolts" - covering the current state of robotics and its future
Expert guest, discussing robotics on History Channel's "Tactical to Practical"
Recurring guest-expert for robotics on Tech TV's "ScreenSavers" and "Call for Help"
Currently co-developing an educational series with The Discovery Channel called "ExploRobots"
Writes a monthly robotics article "Robytes" for Servo Magazine
Profiled on CNN.com - "Garage-based engineers unveil their wares"
Featured in the New York Times - "When Nerds Collide: Bots in the Ring"
Profiled in Time Magazine Asia for his work with robots - "Techno Fetishes"
Internationally recognized by Sony Corp as 1 of only 14 "Cool Owners" of Aibos - those owners which have truly contributed to the Aibo community
Consultant to Sun Corporation's JavaNator robotic development group
Beta-tester/consultant for Evolution Robotics Corporation
Consulted for DARPA on the creation of their Robotic Grand Challenge
On-going work with NASA's Robotics Education Project to get kids involved in robotics
Founded ROBOlympics - the international robot olympics.
Elected president of the Robotics Society of America in 2000
Teaches robotics and computer engineering at San Francisco State University
Teaches classes on robotics to both children and adults at centers including Mills College, the Exploratorium, San Francisco State, and others
Appointed to the Board of Advisors for QBox (Kinetic Art Group) and BotBall (Robotics Educational Foundation)
Judges for BattleBots and Robot Fighting League (Robot StreetFight, Steel Conflict, Robot-Club, BattleBeach, and BotBash) robot combat competitions
Judges the BotBall robot contest for junior high students
Judges the FIRST Lego League robotic challenge for elementary students
Technical advisor to the US FIRST robotic competition for high school students
Co-developing a series of workshops with QBOX on building sixteen ounce robots for play in monthly robot tournaments
Designed and built a talking head-and-shoulders android named "Chapek"
First-ever winner of Sony's "Best in Show" Aibo programming contest
Member of Survival Research Labs, a robot art group
Designed and Built the computer controls for a fire organ which safely shot 50 foot tall pillars of flame into the sky
Organizes and promotes the Robotics Society of America's semiannual "Robot Games and Expo" - the largest amateur robotics show in the US (now ROBOlympics)
Organizer and co-promoter of the "BYOBot" book launch party for "Gearheads by Brad Stone" featuring stars from Robot Wars, BattleBots, SRL, and many others