Robots Steal the Show at Autodesk's April Design Night

Robots – and the promise of what they could do for humanity – have long been one of those far-off, futuristic ideas, similar to flying cars, holograms, or anything else we saw featured on shows like “The Jetsons.” But recent advancements and new technologies have spurred a renewed interest in robotics and made their development, on both a hobbyist and professional level, the next big trend to watch.


We here at Autodesk love robots and appreciate their value across the industries we serve. To honor robots and the people and technology behind them, Autodesk recently hosted a robotics-themed Design Night at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco. Design Night, an event series held on the first Thursday of every month, allows guests to explore different themes – such as biomimicry, light, or robotics – that challenge the conventionally narrow definition of design. April’s event, timed to coincide with National Robotics Week, focused on the increasing impact robotic technologies have on our lives, ranging from
robots that vacuum floors and weld cars, to those that diffuse bombs and fight cancer.

After being greeted by two R2D2 replicas, Design Night guests attended an all-star panel discussion that included Intel futurist Brian David Johnson, 9th Sense Robotics co-founder Tasha McCauley, Roddenberry Entertainment CEO Rod Roddenberry Jr. and Bot & Dolly founder Jeff Linnell. The panel, moderated by Autodesk’s Jonathan Knowles, explored the current state and future of robotics, including how robots are impacting our lives today and the potential role they will play in the future:

Attendees also had the opportunity to interact with a veritable galaxy of robots in Autodesk’s “robot science fair” area. In addition to cheering on fighting SumoBots, guests were also invited to interact with robots from Anybots, Otherlab, LEGO Mindstorm, and Romotive.



Robot 1
Also in attendance were two teams of students from Pacifica’s Terra Nova High School, who are competing in the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics program; and Mark Setrakian, designer and creator of SyFy network’s new show Robot Combat League, who used Autodesk Inventor software to design the show’s larger-than-life robots. Engadget, one of the top technology outlets in the US, was on site to speak with Mark about Robot Combat League and the details around how the show’s eight foot tall robots were created. The interview, which also addresses Mark’s inspiration for creating the show and his past experience building animatronics for films can be found here.


RCL Mark Setrakian

Autodesk welcomes everyone in the Bay Area to join us for the next Design Night, which will take place on Thursday, May 2nd, from 6-10pm and will focus on “Makers.” Tickets can be purchased here and include an open bar, great food, an onsite DJ and a guaranteed good time networking with Autodesk customers, users, executives and guests.