The tech lab crew took a field trip to San Jose last week for the RoboNexus international robotics convention. It's the second year of the convention, and it's the largest robotics convention in the US.

That says more about the state of robotics in the US than it does about the size of the show. Only one of the convention center's exhibition halls was being used, and much of that was empty space. But while it lacked the bloat and spectacle of computer and software tradeshows, it encompassed the entire scope of what people are doing with robotics and what is the state of the art, at least as much as is publically visible.

We were left with the impression that robotics today is what the culture of microcomputers was in the late 70s and early 80s — technology looking for an application. There's no one clear dominant focus, but a wide range of areas of interest: hobby, education, consumer appliances, military applications, industrial applications, toys and entertainment, arts, and world domination. (The last was never stated explicitly, but we believe it's best to remain ever vigilant.)

SFist Chuck, contributing. See all his photos here