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

RoboBrrd @ Open Hardware Summit!

RoboBrrd Open Hardware Summit 2013

RoboBrrd was at the Open Hardware Summit! The Brrds were running demo programs, and entertaining the passing by humans. The tentacle mechanism was also above, swooshing its tail around!

Open Hardware Summit 2013
^ photo by mightyohm

Robo brrd
^ photo by soycamo


In addition to the three Brrds, we also displayed all the photos of RoboBrrds that other people have made! It was fantastic to have these displayed, and it was definitely like everyone’s RoboBrrd was there in spirit :)

RoboBrrd Open Hardware Summit 2013


Thanks everyone for posting photos of your RoboBrrds on social networks (and keep it up)!

I met up with Sabine from the Robots Podcast and Robohub! It was VERY COOL to meet her in person, and we recorded an interview about RoboBrrd. It will be showing up on the podcast later this month, in a series about robots and education.

RoboBrrd MIT

She also took me on a tour of her lab, and the research that she is doing. WOW, I learnt some really cool things about nanotech!!! (Thanks Sabine!!!!)

Afterwards, RoboBrrd and I walked around MIT some more.

RoboBrrd MIT



The funny part while walking around was that other people touring around saw RoboBrrd and thought that I was a student there. I wish I was smarter so that I could attend MIT. Also, I wanted to visit the Media Lab so much… maybe next time.

Open Hardware Summit was interesting this year. I went in thinking that it would be a little more futuristic, but still people were seemingly still stuck on the question ‘why make OSHW?’. This is a good question to reflect on from time to time, and especially before the summit, so that you can unveil deeper questions.

This question essentially sums up what I was interested in:

In what ways can kit makers add OSHW to the core experience of actually building the kit — aside from just adding the logo and writing tutorials? How do we start the motivation to make modifications, even if the person didn’t have any initial interest in it?

I wanted to pose this question to the panel in the afternoon, however they decided to cut the line too short. (Yea, I was ANGRY!)

I did of course pose the question to some people around the summit, and the responses were split into:
- ‘Wow, yeah, that’s a good idea- it would be cool to figure out how this can happen’
- ‘That would require more time, that we don’t have! We only do OSHW to release our files’

Of course, it is the second response that annoys me. There are some people out there who only do OSHW for the ‘badge’. Their reasons are that they do not have enough time, people would never look at it, this is all that is required, etc.

One of the speakers, Matthew Boragatti, gave a presentation about essentially how everyone needs to document their work. This is so true, and definitely hits on the above issue. Maybe there can be the invention of a tool to help with documentation or something.

Going back to the original point, hopefully in the near future, more OSHW makers will be interested in figuring out how to communicate that “YOU can modify this”! :D

I really enjoyed seeing all my friends in person again. I gained so much words of wisdom and advice from Massimo, what a great opportunity to chat with someone who has essentially given rise to the maker movement with the Arduino Team. It’s my goal to exercise the advice in real life. ;)

The badge turned out a lot better than I thought it would, it was pretty nifty. Though mine was slightly damaged from it smashing on the floor when diving under the table (more on that later).

Thank you to CircuitCo for the BeagleBone Black- always wanted one of these! Still have no idea what to make with it, but stay tuned for some future projects that’s for sure! Also thanks to Sparkfun Engineering for the RedBot Kit- it will be interesting to add this on to RoboBrrd for some wheel ability. ;)

Something that can be improved for next time:

The demo tables and poster set up was poorly organized. Our demo table was partly hidden by neighbouring posters, so we had to squish everything together. We also had to assert that we definitely needed the entire table, otherwise it would have been split in half with another project. In order to escape from behind your table, you have to go underneath it, and when you come up be careful to not knock over one of the posters. To add on to it, I didn’t even know demos were allowed to enter earlier than doors-open time, so I was standing around for nothing. It’s nothing serious, just little frustrating things that sort of crack into your excitement for the day, especially when you were waiting an entire year for this one day! The demo chair did the best with what he was given, which was not enough extension cords, and posters all over the place.

After the event, there was a dinner for all the women involved with OSHW. Some of the discussions were interesting, involving circuits and pcb programs, but then some of them were about guys and other things. I don’t usually hang out with other girls, so maybe this is or isn’t common. I wouldn’t know, I haven’t been surrounded by > 5 women in two or so years (aside from this dinner of course).

There’s now a Google Group for all of the women involved in OSHW, so it will be interesting to see how that will develop. I’m looking forward to discussions about how OSHW inspires girls to start making things. :)

A lot of the other women enjoyed the dinner very much- so thank you to OSHWA, Adafruit, and Sparkfun for sponsoring the dinner. Also, the nachos were super.

RoboBrrd MIT

A big THANK YOU to the Ada Initiative and Open Hardware Summit for the travel grant, otherwise we would not have been able to go and learn about these new thoughts.

The most memorable moment was just walking along the night before- and a RoboBrrd Backer comes up to me and says “I love my RoboBrrd!”! It was AWESOME!!!!!! :’D

1 CommentLeave a Comment


  • Rob Cameron

    10 months ago

    I find it hard to believe you wouldn’t be able to get into MIT if you wanted. You’re inventing robots, you’d be exactly the kind of student they’re looking for!

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