Mikkel Aaland

"It's All An Adventure"


I shot these portraits in 1984 at the First International Personal Robot Congress & Exposition in Albuquerque, New Mexico for Newsweek. The writer was my friend Michael Rogers, novelist and publisher of the Practical Futurist. We tried, but we were not successful in turning this project into a book. Personal robots are back in the news and once again, everyone is asking, “Is the personal robot finally here?”

Purists don’t consider radio-controlled Arok a true robot, but Ben Skora (spell it backwards) has used his invention to entertain at bar mitzvahs and weddings for 14 years.


Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari.  “The robot that tells the best joke wins.”


Stephen Powers built this radio-controlled robot to help teach traffic safety to grade schoolers. “Kids, Powers observes, “aren’t’ so impressed by policemen anymore.”


Joseph Bosworth sold computers before he started RB Robot Corp.  “Walk into a bar,” he says, “and the hard hats wouldn’t know what to do with a computer; they’d have fun with a robot.”

Richard Prather built this robot for a role in a feature film which also stars Mariel Hemingway and Peter O’Toole.  The robot has a gripper strong enough to juice an orange.

“In the old days,” says robot designer Ray Spears, “when you told a robot to move forward three feet, the only thing you could be sure of was that it wouldn’t move forward three feet.”


Dan Knoblaugh's company in Iowa also makes computerized fabric cutters.  But robots are his new love.  "It's getting to be a drag," he says, "going back to the industrial stuff."

©2024 Mikkel Aaland

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