Maker Faire New York was an incredible amount of fun! Our table consisted mainly of three RoboBrrds, Seagull, Impy, and Camouflage.
The kids really enjoyed interacting with the RoboBrrds. With Impy, the NFC hats interaction trick never gets old. I love watching how the younger kids are able to connect the hat to the action what the RoboBrrd is doing, then try the different hats and see what they do.
We started off Maker Faire with Education Day. This day is actually my ultimate favourite, mainly because it is really structured with kids going around to the tables and being very polite when asking questions.
The response from the kids and educators was great. It was really nice to have them interact with all the RoboBrrds, and be inspired by the robots. One of the observations that stuck out to me is that with RoboBrrd, the girls asked more questions than the boys. I’m not entirely sure why this is the case just yet, either the boys thought it was too easy and weren’t interested, or the girls were interested and wanted to figure out how they can make one.
This year it took place inside the big blue room, aka the grande hall. This room rocks and makes RoboBrrd look all sciencey.
For the big day on Saturday and Sunday, we were located in the Central Pavillion, lower level, nearest to the staircase as people finished climbing down. This was a really awesome spot and it gained a lot more attention than being in the little room in the back did last year.
Here is how our table was set up:
^ pic from jbc
Seagull RoboBrrd was acting as the stress test for the kit version. To interact with it, you have to shake it. So I was handing it over to kids who would then shake the RoboBrrd all around, grabbing onto its wings and such. It never broke! Seagull RoboBrrd lasted through Maker Faire. This is great news
Impy over here could interact via the hats and the iPad. I had a switch so that I could toggle what mode it was in. The iPad communication worked flawlessly, and the hats always triggered a great response from the kids.
Next up was Camouflage RoboBrrd (named because it is almost the same shade of green felt as the table cloth– thanks for the name idea Windell!). This RoboBrrd used a really simple way to interact via a distance sensor. If you move close enough to it, then it will act hyper. Either way, it does a random action every 2 seconds or so. This one was made at the last minute on Friday, so a big thank you to Chris for the distance sensor!
It was great that there were many people interested in many different detailed aspects of RoboBrrd. There were some that were really interested by the iPad aspect, CAD, EDA, etc. I had my iPhone displaying the Autodesk 360 model of RoboBrrd, and also had the model displayed on paper (from Maker Faire Bay Area 2012!).
Another great thing was having the pieces for the kit there. Some kids actually even started building up a RoboBrrd just from looking at the CAD model on the iPhone! It was pretty cool. A really great way to illustrate how the RoboBrrd can be built up.
Laser cut artwork is always a hoot. Here are two examples of that:
One of my highlights was seeing Jeri again (she’s a big inspiration for me), meeting even more people I knew online but not in person, goofing around with my friends, meeting more friends, waving to all my friends. Basically, just being with all my friends! It’s so cool to have friends
Speaking of friends, check out macetech’s glasses on RoboBrrd! SWEEEEEET!
There were a lot of great instances of funny interactions with the people who came up to my table. My favourite is when I tell the kids about the robots, say that Seagull RoboBrrd has to be shaken to work, the kids reach out to pick it up, then the parents say ‘NO don’t touch!’. I always laughed and remarked about who was actually listening.
The craziest moment was on Sunday when the rain hit. Everyone swarmed inside and it was completely insane but totally fun! Actually it was thanks to Luis who popped over and watched my table for a bit while I escaped for a few moments on Sunday.
The crazy part… when I came back, there was a red ribbon on the table? What is this? It was an Educators Choice Award! Wow, this is a pretty big honour for RoboBrrd and I. We try really hard to get more people interested in robotics with the cute and cuddly nature of RoboBrrd. Having our efforts up to that point recognized by Maker Faire was amazing. It does truly mean a lot.
When I brought home the ribbons, all of the RoboBrrds gathered for a group shot around the original RoboBrrd:
We’re still going to try and spread the joy of robotics even more. With the RoboBrrd kit finished and coming out at some point in the near future, I’m really interested in seeing how well it will take off.
We had a lot of support from numerous people at Maker Faire giving out some interesting things. Thank you to everyone! Notably, thanks Chris Connors for the ‘Fashioning Technology’ book, which will hopefully teach me how to make the soft e-textile sensors that I want to put on RoboBrrd! Thanks Joey for the free kit, this is a really generous action as it does cost a lot of money to give out a kit like that! And thanks to Kevin Osborn for the components for some of the RoboBrrd Brain Board build. Thanks Brett for the useless machine! Also thanks to my friend from RedBearLabs for the BLE shield.
There are so many more that I can go on and on about for ages! Thanks for the goodies, I really appreciate it, and I will make something with them!
^ pic from jbc
Maker Faire NY was fantastic! Thank you to everyone who made this adventure possible. Special thanks to Andrew & family for letting RoboBrrd and I stay over, Andrew (clothbot) for driving RoboBrrd & I back safe and sound. Thanks mpng for bringing me some food, I probably would have passed out if it wasn’t for food!
Last but not least, thanks to the person who made it all possible by donating some last minute funds! To think that we almost didn’t make it to Maker Faire. This was an amazing journey!
I’m looking forward to sharing the latest news about RoboBrrd with everyone. Stay tuned!