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Robots Dazzle Spectators At Stanford Block Party, Job Fair

Publication Date: 
April 16, 2012
Stanford University News
Brooke Donald

Director of Privacy and Robotics at the Center for Internet and Society M. Ryan Calo was interviewed by Stanford University News' Brooke Donald on this year's Robor Block Party.

They whizzed and they whirled. Some even flopped and fizzled. But all of the machines at this year's Robot Block Party managed to dazzle visitors who came out to the event.

The third annual showcase held last week at Stanford's Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab brought together dozens of robots and robotic technology from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.


Ryan Calo, the director of privacy and robotics at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society, said the event has always been popular among the younger set.

"Robots are fun," he said. "But one of the reasons we do the event, frankly, is because robots are such a good way to get kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math. And those are very much needed skills in the contemporary economy."

The center, which is based at Stanford Law School, sponsored the event as part of National Robotics Week. There are more than 150 similar events around the country designed to raise awareness about robotics, Calo said.


"The sense this year is that the robotics industry is really taking off and as a result it has hiring needs," Calo said. "In years past there hasn't been too much talk about what these companies need to scale up because there were still building out."

Calo expected about 1,500 spectators by the end of the daylong event.