David Calkins is a widely respected robot builder and expert. He teaches robotics and computer engineering at San Francisco State University, is the president of the Robotics Society of America, Founder of the international RoboGames/ROBOlympics competition, Program Chair of the RoboNexus Consumer and Entertainment Expo, and co-chair of the RoboSot competition for FIRA – the Federation of International Robosoccer Association. He was one of only ten US members of the Japanese Trade Association’s Robotics Mission to Japan, an official US-Japanese robotics technology business development and research mission.
As one of America’s most respected robotics authorities, David Calkins offers a rare blend of both technical and marketing insight into the world of robotics. He speaks on robotics to such diverse groups as the Young Presidents Organization, Stanford University, the San Jose Tech Museum, the Business4Site conference, the RoboNexus and RoboBusiness conferences, JavaOne and many others. Mr. Calkins stars in the San Francisco local weekly TV show “Mister Robotics”, and was also featured in two documentaries: the Discovery Channel’s special “Dungeons of Alcatraz” (in which he designed and built a robot used to explore tunnels beneath Alcatraz) and the Tech TV special “Bucket of Bolts”. He has also been featured on History Channel’s “Tactical to Practical”, Tech TV’s “ScreenSavers” and “Call for Help”, G4’s “Attack of the Show”, Outdoor Channel’s “Inside R/C”, GSN’s “Games Around America”, and has been profiled by CNN, Time, and the New York Times. He is also a prolific author in his own right; he writes two monthly columns for Servo Magazine and Robot Magazine, and has been published internationally.
Mr. Calkins works with NASA’s Robotics Education Project to involve kids in the building and competition of robots. He also enthusiastically helped mentor San Francisco’s John O’Connell High School USFIRST robotics team in 2005. On the business-side, Calkins has been a consultant for Sun Corporation’s JavaNator robotic development group, Evolution Robotics original ER-1 robot, and assisted DARPA on the creation of their Robotic Grand Challenge. In addition to serving as president of the Robotics Society of America since 2000, he also serves on the Board of Advisors for QBox (a mechanical, kinetic and electronic arts group) and BotBall (Robotics Educational Foundation). Calkins also judges for BotBall, FIRST Lego League, BattleBots, and the Robot Fighting League. He recently co-founded a company to build both competition robots and home-based consumer robots.