Google I/O partygoers get robots, Billy Idol concert

The classic rocker had attendees of Google's developer conference jumping up and down, but a 30-foot can-crushing robot arm was pretty compelling, too.

Billy Idol at the Google I/O 2013 party
Billy Idol at the Google I/O 2013 party Stephen Shankland/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO--Parties can say a lot about the companies that hold them.

So it was with Google I/O Wednesday night at the Moscone Center West here. Classic rocker Billy Idol was the headliner, jumping around the stage shirtless, and a profanity-prone DJ caught some attention afterward, but the audience paid just about as much attention to the multitude of robot exhibits.

There were robots you could train to pick up jars, robot bartenders, life-size Rock-em Sock-em robots in a boxing ring, and remote-control robots people could ride around on.

Best of all was a giant hydraulic arm that would pick up and crush 55-gallon drums. For a look at some of the sights, check our gallery below.

Even the dance floor had a Googley flavor to it. Colored disks changed colors when people stepped on them. It didn't seem like partygoers were up for anything as complicated as a real-life implementation of Conway's Game of Life, though; the most coordinated action on display was a conga line.

This giant hydraulic hand, operated by a person with a sensory glove, was clumsy -- but it was also powerful enough to pick up and squash 55-gallon drums.
This giant hydraulic hand, operated by a person with a sensory glove, was clumsy -- but it was also powerful enough to pick up and squash 55-gallon drums. Stephen Shankland/CNET
About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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