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

All posts tagged RoboBrrd

RoboBrrd in OWL Magazine

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Check out September 2014′s issue of OWL Kids magazine- RoboBrrd is inside! Way cool!

The above photo is how RoboBrrd reads words. It uses a multimeter, and stares at the text with glowing red eyes. That is, if it can stay still. This is Coolios RoboBrrd, so it only remained calm for about 10 seconds before going crazy flapping its wings and twisting everywhere.

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A little while ago, out of nowhere, an editor at OWL contacted us if we wanted RoboBrrd in the magazine. We used to read OWL when we were really young! How crazy is that?!?! Thanks, Kim!

There is also a post about RoboBrrd on their OWL blog.

Check out this Maker Challenge:

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Pretty amazing to be in the same magazine as Commander Hadfield. Too bad he wasn’t at Maker Faire Ottawa!

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Hopefully this will inspire some people out there to build a robot. If you run in to any questions when building a robot and need help, post on the Robot Party Rockstars Google+ Group, and we can all lend a hand!

Shoutout to everyone who has helped with RoboBrrd in the past! If you want to get started building your own RoboBrrd, check out its nest on the web: RoboBrrd.com!

Maker Faire Ottawa

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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:

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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.

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Kids always enjoy interacting with RoboBrrd!

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

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(^ 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.

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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.

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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! :D

The badge for Maker Faire Ottawa was absolutely stunning:

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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. :)

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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!

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^ photo by mightyohm

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^ 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 :)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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