Chatbot: A New Robotics Podcast from IEEE Spectrum

Robotics experts interview each other on our new podcast

2 min read

Evan Ackerman is IEEE Spectrum’s robotics editor.

Illustration of two robot faces as line drawings looking at each other against a blue to green gradient background.

Today IEEE Spectrum is launching Chatbot, our new podcast about robotics, hosted by Evan Ackerman.

IEEE Spectrum

We’re launching a new robotics podcast here at Spectrum! It’s called Chatbot, and it’s something a little different that I’m pretty excited about.

Subscribe to Chatbot

Logo of Chatbot podcast with two robot face line drawings looking at each other, with the words IEEE Spectrum at the bottom, against blue to green gradient background

Subscribe to Chatbot on the podcast service you like, or watch the video versions on the Spectrum YouTube channel here.

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The way the Chatbot podcast works is that we invite a couple of robotics experts to talk with each other about a topic that they have in common. They come up with the questions, not us, which results in the kinds of robotics conversations you won’t hear anywhere else—uniquely informative, but also surprising and fun.

Each episode will focus on a general topic that the robotics experts have in common, but once we get going, our guests are free to ask each other about whatever interests them. I’ll be there to make sure that our guests don’t get too technical, because we want everyone to be able to enjoy these conversations, but otherwise, I’ll mostly just be listening, because I’ll be as excited as you are to see how each episode unfolds.

We’re going to try to keep the episodes pretty short, maybe 20 minutes or so, so they’ll be easy to fit into your day. We did a lousy job on that with the first couple, but we’ll do better going forward. This is all definitely a work in progress for us—I have to learn how to be a good podcast host, and Spectrum is still working out how to do all the editing and stuff to make it look and sound amazing. But we’ll get there!

Our first few episodes are already live, and we’ve got all kinds of ideas for more, so please subscribe on whatever podcast service you like, or watch the video versions on the Spectrum YouTube channel. And we’d love to hear what you think: about what you like, what you don’t like, and especially who you’d like to hear on a future episode.

Episode 1: Making Boston Dynamics' Robots Dance

A new podcast from IEEE Spectrum, where award-winning robotics reporter and editor Evan Ackerman pairs up leading experts to pose the kind of questions no-one can ask. In this first episode, the choreographer of Boston Dynamics’ hit dancing robot videos, Monica Thomas, engages with Amy LaViers, director of the Robotics, Automation, and Dance Lab, about the engineering and philosophy of robots doing the twist.

Episode 2: How Labrador and iRobot Create Domestic Robots That Really Help

Evan Ackerman pairs Mike Dooley, CEO and co-founder of Labrador Systems, with Chris Jones, CTO of iRobot. With the Roomba, iRobot created the first commercially successful domestic robot, and Labrador Systems is developing the Retriever, a semi-autonomous mobile table intended to help people live more independently. They quiz each about the challenges of bringing robots from the laboratory to the unpredictable environments of people’s homes and making sure manufacturers are meeting actual user needs.

Episode 3: Drones That Can Fly Better Than You Can

Host Evan Ackermans pairs Adam Bry, CEO of Skydio, and Davide Scaramuzza, director of the Robotics and Perception Group at the University of Zurich, to probe the challenges of making drones that come with super-human piloting skills.

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