A Day of Robots, Rocket Cycles and Lasers

Every hear of Gadgetoff?  I never had until I read today’s New York Times blog:

Gadgetoff was started in 2002, by Michael Dubno’s brother Dan, then a producer with CBS news, and, Greg Harper, a technology consultant, as gathering of friends who tried to impress each other with the coolest gadgets. Over time, it has grown, become a bit more commercial, and added a pinch of how advanced technology can save the world.

Display items included a blimp, robots, cameras, vehicles, games, toys,chemical cocktails, weapons and wacky contraptions of all sorts.

But the event at times was infuriating: No one seemed to be able to get the audio-video presentations to work. And speakers were allocated so little time that talks were more of a tease. Aubrey de Grey, a Cambridge gerontologist , made a convincing case that I should stop accepting the inevitability of aging and try to focus on longevity. But he had to stop just before he revealed the secret of everlasting life.

But for every tease, I found a thoroughly unexpected surprise. Sitting next to me as I ate my box lunch was, Joshua Klein, would later show off his machine designed to train crows to pick up spare change. It’s a gizmo that first gives crows peanuts and coins together. Over times, it is meant to show them how to drop coins in a slot to get the nuts. Don’t call this useless, he insisted.

“There is $216 million in lost coins every year,” he said.

I love the crow idea.  Train about 1,000 of them and you’d be all set.

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