If you missed it Friday, NPR's Science Friday last week had a show called "Building a More Sociable Robot." Guests include Helen Greiner (chair and co-founder of iRobot), Peter McOwen (a computer science professor from Queen Mary, University of London), Dean Kamen (inventor of the iBot, Segway, and founder of FIRST), and Grant Cox (member of FIRST champion team The Thunder Chickens). Greiner and McOwen talk about what average people expect out of robots in terms of interaction, the relationship between interactive technology, price, and consumer demand, and what the state of technology is to get robots interacting with the environment and with us in a "natural" way. Kamen and Cox, meanwhile, talk about the FIRST program, how it's encouraging people to follow science, engineering, and technology as careers, and why robotics is so effective in doing this. (They also give a nod to former President Bush's thought that FIRST is like "the WWF, but for smart people," which he observed while giving a speech at FIRST's closing ceremonies two weeks ago)
You can download the podcast here.