International Nodebots Day 2019

Misty had another great opportunity to meet developers

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Saturday, July 27th was International Nodebots Day, a day to celebrate programming robots with JavaScript (for more info about Nodebots, check out http://www.nodebots.io). Because Misty’s first language is JavaScript, we thought it’d be an ideal day for us to host a four-hour workshop at Galvanize, one of our favorite developer education centers in Boulder.


Celebrating Misty’s first language

We chose JavaScript as Misty’s first language (and by no means her last — she speaks Python and, next up, C#) because of both the ubiquity of JavaScript (the world’s #1 language according to market researchers in 2018) and the ease with which proficient developers who are comfortable in many languages can pick up Misty and validate that she’ll get the commercial job they’ve envisioned done. By implementing both a RESTful experience and an on-board experience, we’ve made it even easier for developers to get up to speed quickly — especially in environments like a short workshop.

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Developers bring Misty to life

About 20 people attended with a representative makeup of our three primary audiences: developers with a commercial problem to solve, adult developers looking for a new path to enjoyment and student developers, with their parents, just beginning their journey into software who would rather see a robot come to life than a computer screen.

As you can imagine, with a real range of software skills from advanced developers with dozens of years of experience to beginners in high school, it can be a real challenge to get everyone “up and running” quickly. The workshop starts with some of the basics — introducing people to Misty through the Command Center, then diving a bit deeper into the API Explorer where developers can see the particular API calls and just cut & paste code into POSTman and ultimately into Microsoft Visual Studio where developers began to explore one of Misty’s onboard skills with Skill Runner.

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Within an hour and a half, everyone from beginners to highly proficient developers were off and running with the sample skill “Look Around” — where Misty looks around the room and responds to touch on various parts of her body. All kinds of Misty robot sounds were emanating from across the room. The more advanced developers were then able to extend that sample skill to start bringing in other third-party APIs such as text to speech engines and then Misty really began to sing (literally!).

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Coming full circle

One of the real joys for me as a leader is to see members of our engineering team getting out into the market and really engaging with their customers. It’s one thing to hypothesize a solution and then implement what we believe to be the winning combination — it’s quite another for the engineers to watch developers begin to unpack all of the capability Misty brings. And, to observe some of the subtle user experience niceties (or glitches) that our customers experience. Being able to take these visceral experiences back to the entire team, especially when the team is brainstorming specific “how to implement” discussions, is invaluable to us as a company.

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Envisioning Misty’s many futures

At the end of the session, a few of the commercially-oriented developers were already plotting the skill they were going to create for a retail setting they were part of where Misty could take orders and, with her little wagon, even deliver. They believed the shop owner — who’s a real inventive shop owner — would be thrilled with the addition of Misty to their retail world.

It was gratifying to see that in just a few short hours, proficient developers were able to understand the array of Misty’s capabilities and put those capabilities to good commercial uses. Another proficient commercial developer who has worked with much more expensive programmable robots from Japan said “this was amazing; I was able to do in minutes what it took me days to figure out with those other solutions”. He was looking forward to getting his production Misty II and moving forward.

Several of the beginning student developers left the workshop beaming and talking about all of the things Misty could do. More importantly, several of the parents complimented our Misty Robotics staff in creating the combination of a robot that was super easy for their beginning-developer kids to get into so easily and sophisticated to provide months or years worth of use for their kids. One of the parents was also an educator at a local school and expressed real envy that a cross-town school already had one beta Misty in the house.

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Overall the event was a great success. What’s not to like about being able to quickly and easily develop software in JavaScript for a robot?! We are so grateful for the people who spent a weekend morning with us learning about Misty, giving us feedback (explicit and implicit) and we love seeing our hypothesis — about commercial and educational uses for Misty — taking shape in the real world.


If you’d like to stay in the loop on our workshops, create an account in the Community Forum and select to be alerted whenever a new Event topic has been added. You can also see a walk-thru of the instructions from past events (like the one from this event) to get an idea of what to expect when you attend one.

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