Weekly Wrap Up - 'Con Your Way Down

26 Jul 2016
Weekly Wrap Up - 'Con Your Way Down

Another Comic-Con passed and another year the city of San Diego can exhale all the latex, spandex, and virtual PokemonGo decks (well, sort of) courtesy of its convention attendees. Roughly 130k characters, aliens, robots and personified abstract thoughts wandered the floor of the convention center, attending panels and scoring swag.

If you attended SDCC, we hope you were able to break away from your 12+ hour wait in Hall H to come say “S’up” either with a nod of your meticulously-constructed PVC pipe headpiece (please don’t touch) or the removal of your gloves to play with one of our bots. Chances are you also walked away with one of our exclusive BB-8 posters, the last in our convention-touring series this year. So much proud.

Now that we’ve returned our party tour bus to the touring-bus people, we’re back in the office and buckling down for what will be an exciting fall. Stay tuned. Seriously.

In the meantime, we’re also sharpening our pencils and gearing up for back-to-school by partnering with A Precious Child to host a Fill A Backpack drive; where we’re collecting school supply donations for Colorado kids in need. None of us would be here, doing the awesome things we get to do, without the things we first learned in the classroom. Fantastic products like Ollie, SPRK+ and BB-8 wouldn’t be here without proper supplies and equipment, and we don’t expect any student to learn, grow and create without proper supplies, either.

If you’re in the area and would like to help out, please drop by our office to donate some supplies and say hello. Our buddy Clayton will dazzle and delight you with an office tour for the ages (all the pressure, Clayton) and we’d love for you to see what we do everyday. Heck, you may even learn something. Or at the very least, catch that 12-Pokeball-eating-bust-out-four-times-after-catching Pikachu roaming around. I mean, that’s what we hear. We don’t really know.

A Day In The Life: Dan Grollman

Weekly Wrap Up - 'Con Your Way Down

Q. Hi, there. To get a few interview formalities out of the way, would you tell us who you are and what your title is here at Sphero?

A. I'm Dan Grollman, and I'm the Robot Brain Architect.

Q. That’s one heck of a title. Indulge us—what exactly do you do at Sphero everyday?

A. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make robots more engaging, adaptive, and fun!  But seriously, I develop models of personality and behavior for our robots, along with some other machine learning and artificial intelligence projects.

Q. Seriously, a kid’s fantasy come true. What advice can you impart for those looking to do the same?

A. Social robotics is still a very young field, and there's tons of interesting work still to be done.  Find an area you're excited about and make it your own.  And don't shut up about it.

Q. Eventually people will realise my cat-memeing, skateboarding, donut-making robot is genius. Can you share what you’re working on or is it super secret?

A. Hmm.  It's kinda secret.  Let's just say I'm trying to make your robot seem so alive you'll never want to turn it off.

Q. ‘Nuff said. So, besides these super cool things you’re doing, what’s your favorite aspect of working at Sphero?

A. I really like that everyone I work with is a mad genius in their own way.  Everyone's got such awesome ideas that we can't help but do great things.

Q. A collective genius, if you will. Which of our bots is your fave?

A. Good question.  At the moment, I'm digging the new SPRK+.  Being able to see inside it is really neat, and the BLE communication makes it really easy to connect to.

Q. So let’s hear more about you: What do you like to do outside of Sphero?

A. Oh wow.  I like a lot of things.  Good food and drink, making music, comedy, nature, travel, and a good book probably top the list.

Q. What do you most enjoy about living in Colorado?

A. Pretty much everything except the lack of oxygen.  I also just really enjoy seeing the mountains as I go home every day.

Q. I hear that. Those Flatirons never get old. Can you recommend a place I gotta check out?

I'm pretty new in town, but I've been exploring some of the pubs downtown.  License #1 is my current go-to.

Q. Can’t argue with good pubs and good brew. Ok, final question: tell me something about yourself that will surprise me or that I’ll at least find unexpected.

Before we got married, my wife and I spent 10.5 months living out of a car and visiting all 50 states.

ICYMI Top 5

  1. Sandy shoreline.
  2. Gaslamp nights.
  3. Nice palms.
  4. Sunshine on my digital mind.
  5. Surf's up.
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