As I mentioned in an earlier post, this past weekend I was at Dragon*Con, one of the largest sci-fi/fantasy/comics/gaming conventions in the world. It's about so much more than just Star Trek, Marvel Comics, and the like (not that there is anything wrong with those). Not only it is it home to the world's second oldest fighting robot competition, but there is also an event track dedicated to robots and other "maker" topics.
My convention experience at Dragon*Con began on Saturday morning with a train ride down to the downtown Atlanta location of Dragon*Con. I was due to speak on a panel at 11:30 AM in the Sheraton hotel. Getting to the hotel was an adventure. When I exited the subway station, a thick throng of people stood gawking at various zombies, Cylons, and celebrities, all marching down Peachtree Street as part of the Dragon*Con parade. It turns out that I was on the wrong side of the street and it was impossible to cross. Fortunately, a kind MARTA worker let me cross back over the subway platform through the exit on the other side, and I arrived just in time for the panel to start.
My compatriot on the panel was Peter Abrahamson, who I haven't seen since I was the Robotics Track director several years back. We talked and answered questions about how to make things using waterjet and laser cutting. I didn't see too many people sneaking out the back door, so I think we were reasonably entertaining and informative.
A few Big Blue Saw customers were in the audience, including Chris Lee who showed off an iPhone controlled steampunk costume made with parts from Big Blue Saw. His creation really deserves its own blog post.
It was great to see so many people interested in learning more hearing about the projects they intend to build. Thanks to Valerie Macht to putting together such a great programming track.
Monday was Robot Battles, an event that I've been competing in since the mid 1990's. It was great chance to see some old friends and make some new ones as well.
And I actually won something this year! My robot, which I have given the shamelessly commercial name "Big Blue Saw Presents Jaws", took first place in the 30 pound division Battle Royale. Of course, all of the custom structural and mechanical components in this robot are made using Big Blue Saw.