Before Thanksgiving, I got in touch with my friend, Ben Rollman, over at Robot Portraits or Robot Portraits Facebook. This is where my robot portraits came from - by the way! I asked him about creating a special robotic nativity scene and offered a few suggestions about the content. Ben said that he draws a Christmas Card every year and would be happy for me to use it here – and did he ever come through!
I have enjoyed looking at all the detail. Like any sort of art – its interpretation has multiple possibilities. Here are some of the things I notice and/or wonder about...
- Many nativity scenes have animals present – Ben has included Boston Dynamics Big Dog, Sony Aibo Robotic Dog - and you might even include iRobot's Roomba as a small beast of burden!
- To the left (with Big Dog) NASA's Valkyrie (R5) and Curiosity (Mars Science Lab) - Are these nomadic shepherds who are drawn by curiosity to come and see or are they wise visitors from afar bearing gifts of new discovery?
- To the right (with Aibo and Roomba) are ASIMO and an industrial Robotic Arm - maybe they represent those who do common labor and are drawn to this scene...
- In the skies are a heavenly host of quadcopters - robotic messengers from above.
- Behind the family is IBM's Watson - does Watson represent another wise visitor or perhaps even the Jeopardy that the child and family face and so flee to Egypt? Watson's logo is also reminiscent of the star which shown over the place.
- Mother and Father witness in wonder the "unboxing" of the "newborn" gadget with its friendly little face. Interestingly, in Clarence Jordan's Cotton Patch Gospel, it is said of the parents and the newborn child, "They wrapped him in a comforter and laid him in an apple crate." Fun coincidence...
May your Christmas this year be filled with wonder and creativity... I hope you find something robotic under your tree this year!