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“A wise robot once said to me through Serial.println- that robots teach us about ourselves.”

Archive for September, 2011

Building Learning Pet

Here’s what you may not know about Learning Pet: It was created in 4.5 days.

When I heard about the Open Hardware Summit Scholarship contest, I couldn’t let this opportunity pass. The prize would do more than wonders to get this idea flying. For example: A 3D printer would be able to be bought and used to create parts for kits. Also, we would have been able to order some custom PCBs online with the winnings, too.

When I heard about the contest later on that evening was when I started (Sept 8). I created the structure and beak mechanism all in that one night :)


The first day (Sept 9), the mini RoboBrrd character was crafted, and all servos and LEDs tested and functional.

11 - 1-2

The second day (Sept 10), the modular electronics board was created. Featuring a slide-out drawer for the Google Android ADK :) This was also my birthday! Hooray!


Third day (Sept 11), all of the circuits and wiring was complete. Had some pitfalls during the day trying to use different connectors, but switched to the ones you see below in the photo. The plugs are great, really sturdy!


Here’s a timelapse of some parts of the build:

Watch on YouTube

Forth day was for creating the software and documentation, and submitting to the contest rather early. My train was leaving the next day, so I had to get everything done ahead of time :)

We didn’t win the contest, or place in the top 3. Somehow. So this became yet another unobtained opportunity, but I can definitely say that Learning Pet was a competitive entry. The documentation webpage was a force not to be reckoned with compared to the other entries. Learning Pet has a purpose that would benefit society. Furthermore, I created a demo prototype for the video about my idea.

Maybe some people will think that it was crazy to pour in all this dedication to one robot. If it would have won, it wouldn’t have seemed crazy. Success is defined as getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down. I’ll still be continuing with Learning Pet, the idea is exciting and education desperately needs an effective use of technology in the classroom, rather than more technology in the classroom.

Thanks again to everyone who left a comment on my Google+ during the build progress! And thanks to the FIRST team that I mentor, COSI, the gang from FMCG, and all my friends for voting! :)

Also: I used some parts (the large servo and two RGB LEDs, specifically) from the parts that Adafruit Industries sponsored for the original RoboBrrd, so thanks to them also 😉

World’s Maker Faire NYC 2011!

Maker Faire NYC was great! We showed off four of my robots, Learning Pet, DOGCOW, RoboBrrd, and MANOI!


We were located at the Robot Square which turned out to be a really great location!


By far the most popular was RoboBrrd Food! It was so crazy. The kids kept feeding the RoboBrrd constantly, they wouldn’t stop! 😀 And if they had to stop, sometimes they would start to cry or whine to their parents. It was great! It was funny to see how the younger kids understood what to do right away, when the older ones didn’t really know. As for the adults, you had to tell them to try feeding the RoboBrrd, they never did it automatically haha! Here is a video of RoboBrrd food in action, thanks to VayaConQueso!

Watch video on YouTube

You can learn more about RoboBrrd Food by reading the blog post, watching the video and looking at the source code!

Learning Pet was a close second to the most favourite robot. It was great to see everyone interacting with it. Some of the kids played right through from level 1 to 5, so they could see the super duper Learning Pet victory dance celebration!


^ Photo by David Cuartielles


^ Photo by David Cuartielles

Here’s a video explaining Learning Pet thanks to the NY Hall of Science:

Watch video on YouTube

You can learn more about Learning Pet in my Open Hardware Summit blog post, through this video, and on its website!

As for MANOI the hockey playing humanoid robot, most of the time its battery was running out! So lame! MANOI was always pretty much sitting down, like in this photo:


^ Photo by David Cuartielles

However, MANOI did appear at the 0:21 mark in the Engadget show. It was pretty crazy when they were filming, they were super professional, and no one knew they were from Engadget!

Screen Shot 2011-09-23 at 5.17.15 PM

You can watch the Engadget show here!

To learn more about hockey MANOI, you can explore the MANOI tag and watch this video!

One of the favourite things was explaining everything to all the people. It’s fun to see their reactions and what they think of the projects. Plus, since there are so many people, what you say each time becomes more fine tuned!

RobotGrrl Working the Crowd - IMG_2739

^ Photo by Andrew Plumb

Meeting people at the Maker Faire is great! Here is me with lots of Propeller boards with Jessica from the Parallax videos!


Check out all of the stuff that I brought home! I’m super excited to use all of this!


Some notables include:
– Tons of XBees YAY
– seeedstudio ADK kit WOOT
– Parallax!!!!!
– netduino, pulse sensor, white lol shield, shapelock, tshirt (bought these :P)
– Maker Passport (a repurposed Hackerspace passport) with lots of cool signatures in it! AWESOME!

I also managed to see Arc Attack for the first time in person ever! It is super cool, definitely recommend it! The sound seems so much clearer than anything else. The blue shining in from the glass was really amazing too, and all of the waves in the wall. I waited in line with a friend from university, Matt Krass, and his friends so it was pretty awesome. (I then forgot to say bye as I left, DOH! Was in a rush to get back to my robots!)


At the end of the Maker Faire, there were these blue ribbons being given out, and everyone I asked had no idea what they were. I asked the guy giving them out, and he said that they are *only* for awesome projects. To be honest, I got a little upset at this (my projects aren’t awesome?! whaaat?!), but he was kind enough to visit my table and hear me explain all my projects!

Here’s a video of me explaining ALL of the robots thanks to Chris Connors:

Watch video on YouTube!

And then after that, he awarded me his very last Maker Faire Editors Choice award! Wow! :) Yay! Thanks again, Chris!

The trek back home was interesting! My parents drove down to bring me back. The fog in the Adirondacks at night is intense! We slept in a Walmart parking lot too 😛 I was super tired the whole time, falling asleep a lot.


Afterwards, my robots were featured on MAKE! What a super honour! Gareth is a pretty cool person, next Maker Faire we are definitely going to make some BEAM robots!

Screen Shot 2011-09-22 at 12.52.49 PM

There were some people that I didn’t get a chance to meet, hopefully next time there will be that chance! Special thanks to Jonah and Katherine for letting me sleep on their (very nice) couch for OHS and Maker Faire! Thanks to everyone who made the Maker Faire NYC 2011 so much fun! It was a pleasure meeting everyone who came by the table, and hope to see you all next year!

Sale Extended! Buttons for Arduino & Meters for Arduino

The sale for Buttons for Arduino and Meters for Arduino has been extended (it was actually extended starting on Monday but I only posted it now xD) until the end of Sunday in celebration of a fantastic Open Hardware Summit and World’s Maker Faire NYC! :)

Meters for Arduino

Buttons for Arduino