Putting Robots to work

How to deal with your free-loading Robot.

This article is based on a blog I recently published on Vantiv O.N.E., Vantiv’s Developer Portal.

You can read the original post here.

Gone are the days when Robots were massive and expensive beasts, purpose-built and affordable only to large manufacturers.  As technology, materials and software have evolved, the cost of Robots has plummeted. Today, robots in various forms are everywhere we look – including around the home.

Some robots do useful work (thank you iRobot Roomba), but others are basically toys, wasting their enormous processing potential, consuming electricity and taking up space.

After a while, these robots are like teenagers. They talk back, sleep-in past noon, and play loud music (looking at you Amazon Echo!). Next think you know, they’re raiding the fridge and even driving your car (but that’s a story for another day).

kitchen-robotLike your teenager, the day eventually comes when it is time for them to get out of the house and get a job. Of course, there are two per-requisites for this:

  • They need to be able to actually do something useful
  • You need some kind of payment mechanism to easily charge for their services

The Money 20/20 Hackathon

Money 20/20 (https://www.money2020.com) is the world’s largest annual event focused specifically on payments. It is taking place starting October 23rd this year in Las Vegas.  For the past two years, Vantiv has sponsored the Money20/20 Hackathon. The goal of the Hackathon is to find innovative new solutions involving payments. Basically, we get some talented developers together, provide them with some fun and interesting technologies to stoke their creativity, and challenge them to come up with something cool.

This year I’ve had the opportunity to help assemble technical tutorials and code examples for some of the robotic devices that will be used by hackathon participants. While some technologies are all about payments (like Verifone’s cool new Carbon platform) other devices are robots in various forms.

Some robots are recognizable as humanoid, like the very cool Nao robot. Others are just big brains that live in the cloud like Amazon’s Alexa, accessible through Amazon Echo. Some of the  technologies we’re making available to developers this year (along with Vantiv’s own cloud-based Payment interfaces) are listed below:

  • Amazon Echo — simplify payments using your brainwaves to solve challenges rather than type commands.
  • Nao robot — robots will obviously be a useful tool in solving any grand challenge – if you can make them do something useful that is.
  • Sphero — what can you do to change the world with a simple, programmable, ball?
  • Cubelets — if spheres are not your cup of tea what about stackable, programmable blocks to conquer a difficult challenge?
  • Verifone Carbon – We are partnering with Verifone to offer a first look at their new Verifone Carbon product. Drive commerce and grow the global economy!

You can learn more about the Hackathon Challenge at the Vantiv O.N.E. (One Network Experience) developer portal at https://developer.vantiv.com/community/hackathon.

I’ll post later on what our participants come up with!