New robots introduced to the library and community

Alex Giannini has a casual conversation to Nancy to demonstrate the voice command capabilities.

This past Saturday, Westporters of all ages gathered in the McManus room of the Library to see the unveiling of Vincent and Nancy, the newly purchased robots.

The Library’s Assistant Director for Innovation and User Experience, Bill Derry explained to the eager crowd, “We were in the information age but now we are in the imagination age, people have so much information what do they do with it? They make things. We are introducing the community to something which is going to have a major impact.”

Sponsored by three private funders, the robots made by French company Aldebaran, Vincent and Nancy cost nearly eight thousand dollars each.

“We are going back in time to when libraries were created to share things that were too expensive for individuals to own,” Bill Derry explained.

With the intent of involving the community with the humanoid robots, manager of Digital Experience, Alex Giannini, emphasizes the importance of individuals in driving future ideas and possibilities for the autonomous duo.

To take full advantage of the investment, starting this week, workshops will be available to teach the community about the new additions to the Library. “[The robots are] mainly for demystifying the whole idea of robots and secondarily to provide training in software, programing and python,” Derry said.

Dylan Diamond ’17, a computer programmer himself, anxiously awaits the opportunity to test his programming skills on Nancy and Vincent, “I would be interested in exploring the potential the robots have regarding programming.”

Derry hopes the robots can be a part of the next annual Mini Maker faire held on April 25th. Patrons will be able to test their computer programming skills on Nancy and Vincent at the event.

“We don’t know what’s next, but there is going to be something after the robots, [they] are not the be all end all. It’s a moment where we are offering something new to the community,” Derry said.