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

All posts in Maker Faire

Artisan’s Asylum Fun!


Had the chance to check out the world’s largest hackerspace! Artisan’s Asylum is an extremely cool place filled with a variety of makers.

Thanks a bunch to Jimmie Rodgers @jprodgers for letting me chill and hack there for a few hours! And the tea. If you’re in the area, he teaches classes (circuit hacking, circuit bending, analog synths)- so go check them out! He is the maker of the LoL Shield too, a great way to learn how to solder or just make something blinky for your Arduino.

Shout out to Derek for showing me a tour even though it was a little early!

Here are some neat things that I saw-

First time seeing an Othermill in person!


They say their electronics area is “messy”. It looked quite well labeled and organised compared to something I know… :)


Here is a human sized robot artwork! Do you think its mouth is where the yellow paper is, making its expression sort of tired — or do you think its the notch in the metal pieces between its eyes, making its expression a grin? Anthropomorphising robot art :)


There is more robot art! A maker there has an entire area devoted to its robot creations called Astrobots. There were also points of green laser light around… :)



The noise this one makes from its moving parts was quite cool:


Found a vid where you can see one of the Astrobots moving:

There is something interesting happening in the Rascal Micro area. Here was one of their boards they had out, hope it was ok to take a photo. Look at how cool the silkscreen is!


The maker was not there, but it would have been cool to meet him – @rascalmicro.

Here is STOMPY! 😀 😀 If you have not heard of it, check out its wildly awesome crowdfunding campaign. Check out the build updates too!


These photos do not really do it justice as to how huge this construction is in real life. It was all made by multiple people working together… incredibly cool!


Details around this bolt are nice:


This laser cutter is actually a Lasersaur, an open source laser cutter! Always wondered what these turn out to look like in real life.



Here’s another laser cutter, called the Lolzer cutter. This laser cutter has been upgraded from its initial bizarre state. One of its uses is for unicorn shaped confetti! It’s probably the only laser cutter with a SHARK!


Really neat piece of art


I spread out all of the robots on a table in the common area. A bunch of the robots were broken in transportation (as always?), so it was a good time to fix them.



And yes, they have a hackerspace passport stamp! This ink was made with a permanent marker and hand sanitizer XD


The makers there zip by on their scooters to get from place to place. It’s neat to see out of your peripheral vision, it just looks like humans sliding through air really fast. Pretty fitting for a hackerspace. :)

One of the things that I didn’t see there was anything to do with biology or bio hacking. Maybe wetware has not become popular there yet?

Jimmie had an idea of using spray paint on the Pyralux, then zapping away everything but the traces on the laser cutter. The remaining spray paint would be the resist for etching it. Probably would be much faster and precise than the way we do it currently.

I forgot to upload the pcb files to the cloud or thumbdrive beforehand- so it would have taken too long to redesign it all. Dang. But what a neat idea, and quite eager to try it out.

I would definitely recommend if you are travelling to go to a hackerspace and just hack on your projects in a different setting. It’s like a treat for your brain! Seriously, it’s WICKED COOL!

Maker Faire Ottawa

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.24.29 AM

We showed our robots at the amazing Maker Faire Ottawa! There were many people who were interested in the robots, and became inspired to try building their own.

If you did not have the chance to make it to Ottawa, here is a video of our table!

Photos of our table:



Here are the statistics from what I’ve heard: There were about 4,000 people on the first day, and 3,000 on the second. They beat the total attendance from 2010 in the first hour. Maker Faire Ottawa is the fastest growing Mini Maker Faire. And if Commander Hadfield was in Ottawa, he would have visited too! Maybe next year ;D

We were also interviewed on CBC – read more here.

We had two RoboBrrds there. This new yellow one, Coolios, and the black Spikey one. Coolios works with a sonar sensor, except that it was a little buggy and it came across as a very hyper robot. Spikey works with the iPad App we developed, RoboBrrd Dance.


Kids always enjoy interacting with RoboBrrd!


(^ Thx to whomever took this photo, great shot!)


(^ Photo cred @edgarmtoro – Thx!)

At one point in time, kids were lined up to use the RoboBrrd Dance app. How cool is that?!

We added some new RoboBrrd Kits to the store. Check them out if you want to get started building!

We also had the Automatic Food Slicer Robot in action, slicing some playdoh.


Pretty much as expected- older adults were interested in this robot. I hope that I can make it more stable in the future, so that way they can buy / make one, and it will help them. That would be cool.

We recently finished off a portion of this project for entrance into the Hackaday Space Prize. We’ll be blogging about this later, but for now you can view all the information here.


Kids also enjoyed interacting with AFSR. This is mostly because we were using the cool Hover gesture board. It takes a little time to figure out how far and fast to wave your hand for the gestures, but once they get it then they can control the robot very easily.

One of the best ideas we heard: We could use this robot to slice the crusts off bread! 😀

The badge for Maker Faire Ottawa was absolutely stunning:


Here are some nice tweets from makers!

We were also displaying Clyde the robot lamp! Some of the backers of Fabule’s Kickstarter recently received their lamp too. Stay tuned for more info about what we are going to be making with our Clyde- it will be exciting!

A few weeks prior to the Maker Faire, we received a huge box from Intel. With our Intel Galileo 2, we will be making Cognito Collobot. The goal is to make a robot that can give a TED talk. This is for the new TED XPrize. It will be challenging, but we are going to try.

Also on our display board, two panels for people who were really interested in it, was detailing my Moonshot-In-Progress project. In terms of Google Solve For X, here are the three main points:

Huge Problem: With the rise of the aging population, there will be more need for assistance in their homes. The physical objects that surround them will become problematic as motor ability decreases.

Breakthrough Technology: (Work in progress) “The LED of motors” — something that can be soldered to a pcb, and when given power it can actuate. Different patterns could perform various actuations. There could be an abundance of actuators!

Radical Solution: When motors are as available as LEDs, we could add them to everything. With software, we could manipulate all the objects around us like they are fluid — even have the objects able to sense and automatically move based on previous patterns.

Everything around us would no longer be inanimate physical objects, but instead ones that are alive and can adapt to our needs and the environment.

As of right now, I currently have two main ideas on how to possibly make this work. Still have some more reading and learning to do, but I will be working on this. Watching the Solve For X videos have been very inspiring.

Has no one else on this planet been bugged by the fact that we can’t just tell things to move? It takes very long to add motors to everything. We should just have motor tape — or something similarly accessible.

We still have to work out the idea more, but this is a crazy goal that we will chase and strive to achieve some day. 😉

We also displayed the parts from the Laser Level Teardown. A couple of people were interested in this.

In four years from now, maybe we will be sponsors for Maker Faire Ottawa. This sounds like a great goal. :)

If you are looking to support my work in some way, back my fan-funding campaign on Patreon and check out the RoboBrrd store!

This was a great Maker Faire. Thanks to everyone for making it a huge success. Special thanks to Britta, Remco, Olivier, Amos and Naomi! Without your help I would not have been able to show the robots here, so thanks. :)


CBC News Maker Faire Ottawa Interview


For Maker Faire Ottawa, CBC news in Ottawa interviewed me about my robots!

You can watch the video clip here, and also mirrored here.


It was pretty neat to hear from people when they were visiting my table that they saw this on the news. When I was going to get some bus tickets, some people came up to me and were all like “you’re the person from tv with the robots”! Yeah! Hopefully some young makers saw the robots and become inspired to build their own. That would be the best.

Here’s a photo of RoboBrrd meeting R2D2! (Photo cred to Britta – thx!)


Big thanks to the Maker Faire Ottawa team for this opportunity, and Sandra Abma @abmacbc for the interview!