For this week’s Engadget Interview, veteran journalist J.D. Lasica caught up with Thomas J. Burick, CEO of White Box Robotics of Youngwood, Penn., at the RoboNexus trade show in Santa Clara, Calif., last month. As robots whirled by on the floor, Burick talked about robots coming down in price to the consumer level, battling PCs for supremacy in the home, and why he didn’t care for “I, Robot.”
Before we get into White Box Robotics, tell me about the field. Robotics has come a long way in the past few years.
It really has. I’ve been working on the 9-series robot for the past five years. Quite honestly I started out by thinking about applying computer parts to robotics in some way because computer boards are so cheap and plentiful, I thought, If we could take them and apply that to personal robots and mobile robots, oh boy. I actually started doing mockups of the robot’s body in 3D and then graduated into several laser-type chassis. That took five years of refinement and then working with our production partner. We’ve come a long way.