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Join us in celebrating the third annual National Robotics Week 2012 (April 9-13)

It’s only natural for the Velodyne team to celebrate National Robotics Week. Our founder and CEO, David Hall, has been involved in the design and development of robot technology for over a decade.

If you’re a fan of Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors, you’ve probably seen his work. The Robot Wars television series was a competition involving radio-controlled vehicles built by mechanics, engineers and inventors. Mr. Hall built Drillzilla, a competitor robot on the first season of Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors. Drillzilla, named after the famous Japanese monster Godzilla, was a shufflebot. That’s a special type of walkerbot using sections of feet in line with each other, rather than the legs used by traditional walkers. This gave Drillzilla extra speed and weight, as well as pushing power.

Watch Drillzilla wipe the smile right off Conquering Clown’s face…

But robot technology isn’t just for games. In fact, Mr. Hall’s other robot, Da Claw, is a retired robot fighter spending his golden years as part of a permanent collection housed at The Smithsonian National Museum of American History. In 2011, Velodyne was honored to donate Da Claw, as well as two LiDAR sensors and other LiDAR technology. (Click to learn more about Velodyne LiDAR technology.)

“Technological advancement has always been a strong theme running through American history,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “The donations…not only reflect the historical record of robotic development, but offer a glimpse of-and inspiration for-the future.”

Glass is not the only one to value the development of robot technology. In 2009, Congress established the second week of April as National Robotics Week in recognition of this growing sector of the U.S. economy. The yearly event is designed to celebrate the U.S. as a leader in robotics technology development and to educate the public about how robotics technology impacts society, now and in the future. It’s also designed to inspire students to pursue careers in robotics, technology, engineering, and math-related fields.

This weeklong celebration of robotics isn’t taking place in just one location. There are events going on all over the country. The National Robotics Week Advisory Council invites people everywhere to use their creativity in organizing local activities. The council recommends hosting an open house to demonstrate robots, organizing a Robot Block Party, or holding a robot competition. Anyone participating can submit their event to the Advisory Council for inclusion on their website.

If you’re fresh out of ideas this year, maybe you can find inspiration at the RoboGames in San Mateo, California at the end of this month. This event is referred to as the “Olympics of Robots”. There are 50 different events with participants from around the world. These “participants” include combat robots, firefighters, LEGO bots, walking humanoids, sumo bots, and androids that do kung fu. Some robots are even autonomous. And anyone can compete.

If you’re more of a pacifist, your inspiration may come from this year’s second annual Robot Film Festival, which takes place in New York City July 14-15, 2012. This event is a two-day celebration of robots on film. The official awards ceremony of the Robot Film Festival is called the “Botskers” and takes place at the end of the second day. It is a black tie red carpet ceremony with films duking it out for a coveted botsker award. The award is a 3D printed robot statuette.

It’s clear that robots are no longer just for techies and engineers. They’ve clearly moved into mainstream society.

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Join Velodyne in sponsoring a student at the Tumaini Junior School in Tanzania

All of us here at Velodyne consider ourselves truly fortunate to be living in Silicon Valley, a beautiful place overflowing with opportunity. One of the main reasons this area is ripe with possibility is because its inhabitants, hailing from all over the world, have been afforded the chance for a good education.

This is what made sponsorship of students at the Tumaini Junior School in Tanzania a natural choice when we were considering the best way to give back.

The United Republic of Tanzania, located in East Africa, has a population of 39 million. A limited budget and poor infrastructure make it a challenge to provide quality education to young children. Many students from the majority of government-sponsored schools aren’t provided with the resources and materials they need to succeed. This has produced a high rate of truancy and, subsequently, dropouts.

Some concerned citizens have founded private institutions in an attempt to help the situation for their local youth. Modest Bayo, a Tanzanian native and founder of the Tumaini Junior School in Karatu, is one of these citizens. He and his wife used their small home to set up the first formal class. It didn’t take long before this space was too small to fill the needs of their ever-increasing number of students, who were eager to learn. In 2005, Bayo built the first official classroom in his backyard.

Each year since 2005, Bayo expanded his classrooms to accommodate the demand for educations. Bayo says his main goal is to instill a healthy degree of self-confidence in each student.

The word tumaini means “hope.”  And that’s exactly what Bayo is giving back to his community. If you would like to help Bayo to fulfill his goals and live his motto, “strive for excellence,” then click here to sponsor a student at the Tumaini Junior School.

Watch this video if you would like to learn more about the story of the Tumaini Junior School:


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Velodyne LiDAR’s technology isn’t just for driverless cars and Radiohead videos

The Velodyne LiDAR HDL-64E

There’s a good chance you’ve seen Velodyne in the news recently…and didn’t even know it. Although Velodyne’s HDL-64E LiDAR sensor has been the main force behind autonomous vehicles for some time, the media pitch is clearly on the rise.

It began with the State of Nevada, which recently became the first state in the nation to formally approve legislation authorizing the use of autonomous vehicles on its roadway. Among other things, Assembly Bill No. 511 authorizes the state’s Department of Transportation to develop rules and regulations governing the use of driverless cars.

The public also recently saw the real-life benefits of this technology when California resident Steve Mahan, who is legally blind, was “chauffeured” to a local Taco Bell by a driverless car…

Did you notice the distinctively shaped cylinder spinning on the roof of the car? That’s the HDL-64E LiDAR sensor hard at work. It contains 64 fixed-mounted lasers that are continuously measuring the surrounding environment. Each laser is mechanically mounted at a specific vertical angle, reading its surroundings while the entire unit spins. It generates 1.3 million points per second output rate.

And you may have seen this technology a few years ago without realizing it.  If you’re a Radiohead fan, you already know they were nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009 for Best Short Form Music Video for “House of Cards”.

The inspiration for the video idea came from Aaron Koblin, an electronic artist and researcher at UCLA. Koblin created the flight pattern map featured at the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Koblin said he thought Radiohead would be the only band out there willing to take a risk by making a music video without cameras. Check out how Radiohead used our HDL-64E to create their vision for the song:

Thom Yorke, Radiohead’s lead singer commented on the creative process for the video. “I always liked the idea of using technology in a way that it wasn’t meant to be used, the struggle to get your head round what you can do with it. I like the idea of making a video of human being and real and time without using any cameras, just lasers, so there are just mathematical points – and how strangely emotional it ended up being,” he said.

You can be sure this is not the last you’ll see of that spinning cylinder.

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Rock out and Win $500! vPulse Photo Contest

We’re overwhelmed by the positive responses to our very first foray into mobile audio, the vPulse in-ear headphones. From customer vPulse reviews to professional vPulse reviews, it seems like we’re on the right track. While the details of our upcoming projects are still under wraps, we can say that more exciting things are in the works.

Since so many of you love the vPulse, we want to see how you rock it. Velodyne is offering a $500 cash prize for the best user-submitted photo of someone wearing the vPulse in a way that makes us go, “Wow!!” We want to see you guys get crazy for the camera. You can submit your photo via our Facebook Contest app any time between now and the end of April. After that, a panel of Velodyne judges will select finalists. Once our finalists have been announced, the public will have a chance to vote and decide which wild and crazy photo deserves the $500 grand prize.


If you’re interested in taking your shot at the cash, have a look at our Rock Out and Win 500! vPulse Photo Contest Details. Submit your photo using the Facebook Contest app.

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WiConnect System:’s Product of the Week

The WiConnect system is‘s Product of the Week!

The WiConnect System allows any subwoofer to receive audio input wirelessly, minimizing the need for excessive wiring and cables. With a range of up to 50 ft, it allows for placement flexibility so you can get the best out of your subwoofer.

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“What subwoofer should I get?”

The ultimate question in the search for the perfect sound system is a pretty broad one: “What subwoofer should I get?” It can be a little overwhelming to find the right subwoofer for your specific needs. There are many factors to consider, from placement flexibility to budget to the size of your listening room. In order to help you decide which Velodyne subwoofer is most suited to your needs, we’re proud to present the new and improved What Subwoofer to Buy function on To take advantage of this feature, simply take the short quiz to pinpoint the perfect sub for your needs.


We’re continually making improvements to make your online experience with us easy and informative. If there are any other functions you’d like to see, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Additional [%] off Sale Items until Friday, February 24th

Happy President’s day, one and all! We’re excited to offer an extra [%] off sale items at through this Friday, February 24th. Use coupon code PREZ15 in your cart to take advantage of this offer. Please note that restrictions apply; see promotion details.

Admin note: This promotion is no longer in effect. Please visit to learn about current promotions.

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vPulse Review and Specials

Happy Velodyne’s Day, everyone! We’re still celebrating with an extra-special promo: [promotion] Head on over to, add 2 sets of vPulse to your cart, enter the promo code BEMYVELODYNE, and [promotion]. Tomorrow’s the last day for this event, so don’t miss out if you’ve been eyeing these in-ear headphones.

Admin note: This promotion is no longer in effect. Please visit to learn about current promotions.

If you want to learn a little more about the vPulse, TechKings has an in-depth review of the vPulse. Make sure to click through to all three pages to see what they have to say. Here’s a preview:

Velodyne’s first attempt at in-ear headphones was a success: prominent bass response while maintaining clarity over the entire frequency range. A very durable yet stylish aluminum design coupled with flatwire ‘vPulse’ cord technology ensure the headphones will last a lifetime. […] I look forward to the next line of ear buds and I can’t wait to see what features Velodyne will come up with in the future.” Read more…

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Welcome to Integrated Systems Europe (ISE 2012)

Showing off the Digital Drive PLUS at ISE 2012...

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I landed in Amsterdam a few days prior to ISE 2012. I felt confident I was mentally and physically prepared following the exquisite chaos called CES. But how would it go down with the added stress of frigid weather and jet lag?

I can report I was pleasantly surprised by the civility of it all.

The show itself was substantially smaller than CES. There were 40,869 registered attendees over the course of three days. The 825 ISE exhibitors occupied 11 halls of the Amsterdam RAI. These numbers are the highest in the history of the show, with the exhibitor total increasing 15% from 2011.

ISE, which started in 2004, is Europe’s largest tradeshow for the professional AV and electronic systems industry. It’s a kind of meeting place for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers from all over the world. The manufacturers can show off their latest technologies and distributors and retailers can see what’s available for their customers and consumers.

The show itself feels like a cool combination of a professional dress code and relaxed energy. It is truly international, representing companies from all over the globe.

The Standout Trend

There was "live" entertainment available in every hall.

The number one trend at ISE was digital signage. It was everywhere. In fact, ISE kicked off with the Digital Signage Conference (DiSCO). One of the topics covered was the potential for digital signage to help brick and mortar retailers compete with e-commerce websites by allowing them to reflect the new ways in which consumers are shopping. This includes providing the ability to allow shoppers to serve themselves, access products not on shelves, and obtain detailed product information.

That’s the cerebral take on digital signage. The sensorial take is the mind-blowing picture clarity and endless number of LED screens dominating the halls of RAI. There were single screen behemoths towering overhead, as well as smaller screens interacting seamlessly to create any number of awesome effects.

One of my personal favorites was a bit more understated, but really cool. These screens featured “live bands” playing in a sushi lounge located in the center of one show hall. Each member of the band had his or her own screen towering over the lunch tables. There were four screens in all playing simultaneously. The bands members were probably filmed separately, but they actually look like they are interacting with each other in each of their respective screens. You really feel like you’re watching a live show.

The European Aesthetic

A minimalist at heart, I felt a connection to the European aesthetic. There weren’t a lot of bright colors or flashy designs. And it was easy to see why as I looked up into apartment windows while walking through the city. They almost look bare compared to living space in the United States.

The fully invisible wall speaker complete with signature by Dave Santos, one of our sales aficionados.

For the most part, the walls were consistently white or off-white. And there seemed to be only one or two pieces of furniture or artwork. The industrial design and colors of most of the audio products reflected this aesthetic. It’s no wonder that our MicroVee and MiniVee are so popular in Europe. Most of the design is focused on hiding audio components. I saw the embodiment of this idea with a “fully invisible wall” speaker. It was quite literally a wall of sound. It’s also not surprising that our distributors in the United Kingdom are creating some pretty cool custom designs focusing on installing the SC IW (1250) In-wall subwoofer into the floor and other hidden locations.

Overall, the show was fantastic. It was fascinating to see what is happening outside of the United States. ISE showcased some of the major differences in the domestic and international markets. However, both markets are clearly utilizing incredible technology to fill consumer needs and demands.

A typical Dutch snack is the “Hollandse Nieuwe” or raw herring from the North Sea. It’s an acquired taste.

A Special Message to the People of Amsterdam

Thank you for your gracious hospitality. Thank you for delicious cheese and chocolate. I secretly believe these are your two major food groups, although I cannot prove this. I found your city to be absolutely delightful, but please consider holding ISE during the summer next year.

To all the bikers who jingled their bells as I wandered into their lane, unaware I was grossly violating local etiquette: In my humble opinion, your bike lanes look very similar to your pedestrian sidewalks. It was an honest mistake.

 A Tribute to Amsterdam in Trivia:

  • Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, as well as the largest city.
  • The name Amsterdam is derived from the city’s origins: it grew around a dam in the river called Amstel.
  • There are approximately 747,290 people living in Amsterdam proper and 2,158,592 living in the metropolitan area.
  • It is impossible to know for sure, but city authorities say there are well over 600,000 bikes in Amsterdam.
  • There are165 canals in Amsterdam, with a combined length of 60 miles.
  • There are 1,281 bridges in Amsterdam, many of which can open to let ships pass. In fact, “The bridge was open” is a popular excuse for arriving late to school or work.
  • Amsterdam has 6,800 16th, 17th and 18th century buildings.
  • Amsterdam is also known as the “Venice of the North” due to its many canals.
  • The Amsterdam zoo, Artis, was founded in 1838. It is the oldest zoo in Europe and the third oldest zoo in the world.
  • Established four centuries ago, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange is regarded as the oldest stock exchange in the world.

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